Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 8 months ago

125) #ExponentialInsights: The Human-Digital Connection: Why It Should Matter to Financial Brands

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

The past 18 months may have made it clear that digital is the key to survival in a world that can transform so drastically so quickly…

But they’ve also made it clear that digital is meaningless without the human element. 

The best technology is the one that augments the human — not the one that replaces them.

Today’s guest, Joe Welu , CEO and Founder of Total Expert , is an expert on the human-digital connection and he joins the show to help you take the first step in marrying the two.

In this episode, we discuss:

- Why the future of technology will be exceedingly human

- The importance of short-term wins in a world where everything can change overnight

- How to incorporate the human into your digital journey

You can find this interview and many more by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts , on Spotify , or here .

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Banking on Digital Growth in your favorite podcast player.

...we talk a lot about how it's a data arms race in banking and lending and uh the areas of financial services that we work with and I do think that's true, but I also think it's only going, you're only going to win if you play that data arms race by being customer first and uh customer focused, you're listening to banking on digital growth. With James robert lay a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential By generating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series where James robert interviews the industry's top marketing sales and fintech leaders sharing practical wisdom to exponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show greetings and hello, I am James robert, ley and welcome to the 125th episode of the banking on digital growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series and I'm excited to welcome joe Well you to the show, joe is the ceo and founder of Total Expert, a purpose built Crm and customer engagement platform to create growth and loyalty for modern lenders and financial brands. Welcome to the show, joe, Good to see you again buddy. Always great to see you before we get into talking this idea of the, the human digital connection and how this plays out and to really the work that you're doing over at total expert. What are you excited about right now personally professionally? It's always your pick. Yeah, so there's so much to be excited about right now. I think the thing that, that juices us obviously is the pace of innovation? Really, the pace of progress. Uh, and a lot of the work we're doing with a lot of our partners, technology partners and customers particularly, we partner with a lot of, a lot of great banks and lenders and credit unions out there and the pace of progress just seems to have been accelerated over the last 18 months or so, and I'm sure you're hearing that a lot, but that's really exciting when you're seeing things happen. You're seeing uh new milestones. That's, it's a lot of fun. And that's what we were talking about before we hit the record button, we're in and I just did this an episode 1 24 with odds. Are you talking about Colby? Um and how entrepreneurs are going to be more naturally oriented. Too quick start. So we're wanting to jump in and get things running and rolling and moving forward where in the banking space it's, it's a little bit different. They're, they're over indexing um their natural operating strings are around fact finding and, and follow through and we'll come back to these points here. But before we get there, I don't think I've ever asked this question before um in 125 episodes. So you're gonna be the...

...first one with this? I'm gonna roll, I want to roll the clock back. Um, and, and, and really what was the inspiration for you to, to really kick off and found total expert? Like why go down this path? What inspired you? Because you've got to get a really good story here. Yeah. So well that's a, that's a great question and there's really two parts to that answer. Part one is really what, what inspired sort of the initial idea to start building technology and the answer there is rooted in. I was deeply involved in the mortgage and real estate space and just saw the technology solutions that were coming to market. We're really just not hitting the mark right? There was the level of specificity, the last mile of functionality. You just felt like a lot of the things that were built by the Silicon Valley firms of, you know, that run a lot of the tech didn't understand um, how to manage Homebuyer in a borrower through a life cycle and they just didn't get the nuances. So I just, I believe that there was a better way to do it and started really playing with ideas that was kind of step one as I got into it really, the inspiration grew and what what inspired me grew and what I saw is just this massive opportunity in how financial services was evolving and thinking about, okay, the future of, of technology is really where you're, you're going to combine, you've got people the human side and the technology side and it wasn't going to be a scenario, I believe that it was never going to be a scenario where the technology replaces the humans. It was really going to be about how it was going to enhance uh, the human, right? So for example, you're going to enhance a consumer's ability to have financial health and wellness, right? You're going to help them if you have a if you have great technology, enabling the process of them getting alone or starting a business or even getting college loans or buying anything important in life that requires um lending right? They're going to have a better process, a better experience of educating them and ultimately they're going to make better financial decisions. So I looked at this whole thing of combining human and digital and saying, wouldn't it be great if you could not only enable the organization's lenders and banks and credit unions enable them to serve the end customer better. But wouldn't it also be great if, by doing so you're creating better outcomes for the consumers because the nature in which...

...you're communicating the level of transparency that happens when you can use data to deliver that educational content and information to the customer at the right time, leads them down a path to making better financial decisions, which leads them down a path of better financial health and wellness, right? So that's where as I, as we fast forward a couple of years, the inspiration than really grew to that this is even rooted more deeply personal for you because I think it's a fantastic story of what you share on the about page. I was like, man, that right there, that that's the purpose for me. That's the purpose built Crm like really dying it deep into purpose. I'll set you up, I'll set you up in 32 and one. So this idea of financial health and wellness, it's an important subject. It's, it's important to me. I know it's important to you because this really goes even deeper back into just your early childhood. Uh, and an experience that you lived through and watch. Can we dive into that? Yeah, sure man, it is deeply personal to me, uh, the topic of financial health or lack of financial health and how that impacts families and humans and people everywhere, right? Um, I went through in my early childhood, 56 years old, my, my parents, as you know, uh lost our family farm in a foreclosure, right? And I witnessed just that incredible sadness that my parents had and you know, they were unsophisticated, made some, some bad financial decisions and that combined with, you know, other external factors led that to that happening. And I just saw the impact of not having financial security and stability and what that did to them. Right? And then as, as sort of the next 5, 10 years progressed things got a little bit better and, You know, fast forward then about 10 years or so later, got to see the the opposite of that to where they were able to finally purchase a home again, and the confidence and positivity that that brought to our household and my brothers and I, and being able to move into a home that was ours and having some financial security and stability. Uh, it was everything, and it was just profoundly profoundly impactful to see both ends of that spectrum and, you know, so, so the whole, um, the whole idea that, you know, really the financial services industry has the ability uh, to not only grow their businesses, but actually deliver that kind of impact to the end consumers is really, really what drives me, and...

...internally, and that's where you and I, man, we're like minds, because growing up, I grew up in a family of modest means, and uh, it took a lot for me to almost reprogram my own mind here because I heard this over and over and over again as a child, we can't afford it, can't afford it, we can't afford it. And to me, I I, you know, we're on a much bigger, purpose driven mission here to make the world a billion times better by really helping a billion people get beyond that financial stress towards a bigger, better, brighter future. Obviously, we're not working directly with the end consumer, we're empowering financial brand, but the work we do translates all the way down to the end consumer, right? It. And that's and that's that's that's the point of purpose. And you talk a lot about, you know, a purpose built Crm and and and I want to take a step back. Let's reflect over the past 12 to 18 months. Because when you think about this idea of purpose, it's probably more important now than ever before coming through the Covid experience. What are the biggest trends that you have seen working with financial brands when it comes to? Just we'll call it a lining marketing and sells teams around a purpose bigger than promoting commoditized rates and putting the transformation of people over the transaction. Sure. So I think you hit on it at the last part of your comment there regarding the transaction, it's now I think more than any time in the last dozen years anyway about the human being and the families and the people. It's about being able to put truly put the customer at the center and have a relationship with that customer that delivers value and partnership to that customer, right? And so the transformation that we're seeing where Mark you see teams aligning marketing, sales and service teams and having really one relationship with your end customer to where they're always at the center of everything that you're doing, right. So if you're sending out a campaign and and then your sales person is talking to them. They understand that the campaign that went out maybe why it went out if you're doing this at a higher level, you're using data and intelligence about your customers so that what you're serving them in terms of marketing and a lot of times that marketing is maybe educating them about other financial products and services, right? So if you're doing that right, then your sales team, if you're tying those two things together and bringing those things together to have a really 1 to 1 relationship, those customer facing teams that are having conversations that are relevant and that are in alignment with the information that you just sent out to them, right? So it's this whole, you know, it's really this whole...

...transformation of what marketing and sales even is, right to where it's about connection, it's about adding value. It's about educating, not just selling a rate, not just selling a transaction. Thinking about this marketing and sells alignment. I want to come back to this point of putting people at the centre, putting the customer, putting the member at the center of all of your thinking, all of your doing what's what's the biggest roadblock that financial brand market team sells team, leadership team needs to be aware of. That prevents them from making this transformation first and foremost, internally. Yeah. So, my answer actually might be a little bit unpopular, but it's truly how I feel, right? So the biggest roadblock, I believe is mindset of leadership teams and culture inside the organization, right? I just I believe that is that it's no longer technology is not the roadblock anymore. You agree Like there's a because there's an abundance of technology and there will continue to be an abundance of technology In digital transformation initiatives fail 60-85% of the time. Not because of technology but because of the people who are having to deploy that technology. It's it's the So we think of everything you've heard me talk about really the framework which total expert works through and that framework is data insights and action right? To where where the intelligence, those insights about your customers and what's going on is combined with actual workflow and action of communicating with the customer and serving the customer. The combination of those two things is where all the value and all the progress is created right? You can put customer intelligence and data and analytics and ai in place and if you're not able to action on it and activate it, it's worthless. And so I was having a conversation yesterday with a large customer of ours in an executive session. We're talking about the reason that projects do not deliver the impact is because of that execution of the you know, the people actually executing on on the last mile of integration. The last you know, process change and saying, okay, we're doing things differently now right? We're not today forward. We're not just going to send out batch and blast general marketing talking at our customers, right? We're gonna, we're gonna segment our audience. We're going to talk to him with context and then we're going to do the same thing on on the sales and customer facing teams, right? Technology has transformed our world and digital has changed the way consumers shop for and buy financial services forever. Now, consumers make purchase decisions long before they walk into a branch. If they walk into a branch at all, but your financial brand still wants to grow...

...loans and deposits, we get it. Digital growth can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financial brand marketing and sales leader, but it doesn't have to because James robert wrote the book that guides you every step of the way along your digital growth journey, visit www dot digital growth dot com to get a preview of his best selling book banking on digital growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from amazon inside you'll find a strategic marketing manifesto that was written to transform financial brands and it is packed full of practical and proven insights you can start using today To confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits now back to the show and there's so much, I mean if you think about it, 95% of our behavior, our actions which become our habits. It's all in the subconscious mind and when you take that individual and then you multiply it out to the team and then to the organization and you're dealing with something like, let's just say Crm, which requires new behaviors, new behaviors, new habits will require new thinking, new thinking than go deeper. That's new beliefs serum. It's always a hot, it's really been a hot topic of conversation and coaching over the last 12 to 18 months. Well, let me speak to that just a little bit. I think it's a relevant point. So Crm for one, it's how the technology is referred to because historically that's how people thought about it. I need a customer relationship management platform. But really what we're seeing evolving in the, what we're building is much deeper and broader than just Crm because Crm traditionally it's a 30 year old word, right? It's where I track my sales people's activities and I record information about the customer well, really today, what it needs to be is if you want to call it Crm or an experience platform is kind of the rapper that we use because it's really the entire customer journey should be able to be orchestrated between sales, marketing and service teams and that's really what you're trying to do. And I like that idea of, you know, serum has just that word. It bristles people's backs. It it was just doing a coaching call last week and they were talking about, they've been struggling with serum for the last decade and I almost framed it to them. I was like, if you think about Crm customer relationship management versus this kind of newer way of thinking that you and I are talking experience, marketing, sales and service. So here's a question for you, right? When I always say I'm sorry to cut you off, but I always say, what about So you can talk about customer relationship management. What about customer engagement? Yes. You know, and how how are you, how are you going to have an enterprise and an organizational level power engagement...

...with your customer, Which is really where a lot of the it's not the management of the relationship in a system. It's the engagement that happens, right? That's that's where the value happens and then the engagement that then leads to a multiplying effect. So Crm now it becomes a customer relationship multiplier through engagement, to dive deeper, to multiply the value creation through the data through the insights through the automation and how do you help when you're, when you're doing these sessions, help others overcome some of the struggles and challenges. We'll call it rooted in past beliefs to break free from that coming back to culture and mindset. So step one is we we start out talking about outcomes of what they're trying to accomplish. Okay. And a lot of times leaders will come in and we'll say we need a crm and you start asking questions why, what are you trying to to accomplish? Well we need visibility or we need to grow sales and then, you know, you keep going deeper and usually what we get to is really one of the most important, if not the most important priority is they want to improve the loyalty and the relationship they have with that customer. They realize that acquiring that customer is super expensive. So the most profitable thing and the most impactful thing as an organization they can do is say let's approach a customer for life uh type of mentality with every customer we have. Okay. And so then once you get to that outcome, you can say great, all right. So if we realize that is step number one is making sure that you have every possible chance of having a lifelong relationship with this customer. Let's start by knocking off some low hanging fruit as step one in this project. Right? So you can't boil the ocean. Most organizations fail because they go down a two year implementation of Crm, they hire consultants, they come in and before any values created To the end customer, it's 18 months. Well, I think if anything we've learned how much the world has changed can change in 18 months. So I always say, look, let's let's deliver value um in your project in 90 120 days and that might be, you know, setting up some basic customer intelligence plus workflow. That might be just that That right there is that I I think it's the key. It's it is the secret to unlock because 1824 months, that's a long time to prove that value. So roll that back. # one quick winds out of the gate, low hanging fruit progress. Progress is critical to growth. Progress is greater than...

...perfection. And I think in this space, knowing what we talked about an episode 1 24 with Kobe. This idea of high fact finder, high follow through as a natural operating system. We need, we have a pseudo need that we need perfection before we can lodge. But if we can get quick wins, if we can prove value that will ultimately build the confidence to further commit to do even more, going further, farther faster and it becomes this momentum. It's a perpetual fly will. I'm curious. You know, marketing has traditionally been over here on one side of the equation cells has been over here and then you add service as another mix into this. What are the opportunities now to align them. Coming back to what we were talking about before around a common purpose um with what you consider this human digital connection because it's not just technology alone. It's technology and humanity working in unity. Yes. So, so first of all, I think it's understanding that I have a a singular customer journey. Okay that has has buckets of where you would say marketing, I think marketing is really being replaced with customer engagement more holistically. Okay, but you have marketing if sales and you have servicing type scenarios depending on the product, the financial product or service at different points in that customer journey. So it's really about understanding that I've got a singular customer journey that at different points in time I'm going to have those functional things uh interacting with my customers. How do they come together? How do they keep the human in the center at all times? How do we more intelligent way enable each of those functional areas? Marketing, sales and service to have a more in context of more value um delivering conversation where I'm delivering more value to my customer. So so that's really kind of the thematically how you think about it from a technology purpose then I want to be able to as my systems, my applications and marketing tools and systems I have to be able to have data that will flow between those systems correctly and be able to enable engagement, communication, uh conversations, um product recommendations, all of the really the things that fall under engaging and communicating with a customer prospect. I like what you mentioned about marketing, the idea of marketing being transformed to really think about it as customer engagement. I've been talking about marketing transforming to be experienced engineers because eventually engineers can help to create and work with this engagement. You mentioned data, you mentioned ai we've mentioned automation a few times here. What in your mind is a commonly held...

...belief that this industry has around data around ai around automation that you just disagree with? So, no, it depends on the level and sophistication of the organization because I do think there's a lot of you and I get the opportunity to work with some really brilliant people in a lot of different organizations. Now, sometimes they might be the only one in their team. So that makes it more that's a different conversation. But I I do believe that one of the things that I fundamentally disagree with, if you look at those topics broadly is that it's just this giant massive undertaking to make progress. I think that's probably the thing I see the thing that I disagree with most people should understand that I don't need to a I can be a longer term thing. But what about just using the customer intelligence that I have now uh to actually communicate in a more impactful way as a step one. Right. Right, right. And that comes back to the point we're making before progress is greater than perfection. Quick wins, show value early and often I'm curious to get your take on this because we're talking about marketing, we're talking about cells. We're talking about service. If there's been one major learning over the last 12-18 months, it's that work. The idea of work has been massively transformed and will continue I think to go through some transformations. How how will the future of work continue to transform here. What's your perspective on what we call the future of work when it comes to marketing, sales and service out. Yeah so I think I mean this is a big topic of course but the future of of work, I think the word that uh that comes to my mind is adaptability and uh I think it's you have to be willing and able to adapt quickly uh to changing circumstances meaning. For sure I need to have really strong digital first capabilities but I also need to be pairing that with um people in humans that understand how how to harness it and so skill set. Right? So you know I think of the world and formulas uh you and I were talking about before. I I have a background and programming and M. I. S. I I I think I called your closet, I'm public facing there. Yeah we'll yeah we'll come out and and I think that's just the way that I look at the world. And so what you're talking about is what I put in a formula to wear EQ plus A. Q. Is greater than I. Q. Alone. And it's that emotional intelligence plus the adaptability quotient that we can bring to bear is greater than just intelligence alone because I think intelligence is going to be augmented and supported over the next 5 to 10 years. Even more so through ai through...

...automation and therefore what are we left with Were left with the ability to make massive pivots through adaptability. But still keeping people coming back to that point, Keeping people at the center of the thinking and doing through emotional intelligence and so as we look ahead towards and we'll keep a short horizon line of this because who knows what the next just 12 months, 24 months are going to look like. But at this stage in the game, what are the greatest opportunities that you see ahead for financial brands to either create or capture around marketing sells service through the lens of data Ai automation? I think the greatest opportunity is for the organizations that understand this is still uh in industry that is centered around human beings and their financial needs, right? And I think the organizations that understand that at a very deep level and allow technology to enable them to serve that human being, that customer in a more impactful way, in a higher quality way that actually leads to better outcomes for the customer. They think about it from the customer first perspective in everything they're doing not transaction first, but customer first. And I think that's really the big opportunity. I think the organizations that do that are gonna win the long term relationships. Um You know we talk a lot about how it's a data arms race in banking and lending and uh the areas of financial services that we work with. And I and I do think that's true. But I also think it's only going, you're only going to win if you play that data arms race by being customer first and uh customer focused. Yes. And that's where this idea of what we've been talking about. Human centered growth. There are four areas of focus to consider. You, you must review what you've done to learn through those experiences to take those insights that you gain, think about them and then apply them to the next iteration of doing. Because when you get trapped and stuck in the doing, it is a very dangerous and deadly place to be. And to create that space and time back to your point before every 90 days. That's the 90 day growth methodology right there. Absolutely. What's your feedback loop? We talk about it all the time uh, with, with our customers and partners that we're working with. And we talk about it internally, is that, look, you're going to uh make mistakes and you're going to learn things all the time. You have to always be going down to parallel pass, right? You have to have your long term vision of where the industry is going, where you want to go as an organization. But you also have to be focused on these shorter sprints. The 60 90 day sprints to where, what are we learning from how our customers are reacting? How are people are reacting what worked, what didn't work? What are the micro small course corrections and...

...adjustments That we have to do so that we make more progress the next 90 days. And that's that's ultimately where magic happens, right? It is. And and so from a practical exercise. And Joe. This has been a fantastic conversation today. As we wrap up. I want to set the dear listener up for success over the next 90 days for them. What is one small small because all all transformation, all progress begins with just a very simple step. What's one small recommendation that you could could could could recommend to the dear listener that they could commit to take over the next 90 days to make progress on their own journey of growth here. Do I have to limit it to just one? Or can I give you a call? I'll give you one. So um I would say number one any business in any organization. I want to um I want to audit my customers, experience my customer journey and understand it and have empathy so that I can have proper empathy for my customers. And you know I think it's it's really true in financial services but I also think it's true and in technology like you know we have aware of technology business that serves financial institutions and we do the same thing. I talked to our people all the time. The most powerful thing that you can do to make progress is getting perspective and empathy for what's happening with your customer because that will inform you on some of the quick win things that you can do. I'd like to level that thought up even further. That's like the idea of digital secret shopping coming into play now because if you can make that commitment and and and and start small focus on one product line and maybe just one area of the buying journey, maybe it's the conversion point. What does that experience, what does it look like? How does it make people feel and then apply those knowledge over the next 90 days as your body learning exactly as a couple quick examples I'll get a couple of quick examples what's the communication that happens um when they fill out an application after they complete an application after they become a customer. Very simple one. First month there a customer with you, what are you sending them? What's the voice you're using, what's the context, what additional value are you delivering? My guess is there's opportunities there for improvement. Those are very quick things in 3 to 4 month window that you can improve as a bank lender, Credit Union financial institution. And when you benchmark that against the fin text and the neo banks, it's very interesting to see that feedback in the real world. We've we've done a lot of that against a like chime and aspiration and some of these other neo competitors compared to say the traditional community financial brand, always an eye opening experience because I think it's the idea of knowledge and awareness are the first steps towards that future growth joe. If anyone is listening, they want to continue the conversation with you that we started today. What's the best way for them to reach out and say hello? Um well me personally, you can reach out to me joe at Total expert dot com. Um you can always come to our our website...

...for for information or reach out to to our team at total expert dot com. So joe at Total expert dot com or just come to our site. Total expert dot com, joe I appreciate two things. Number one, first and foremost the work that you and your team are doing at Total expert. It is important work, it is meaningful work, it is really, it is life transforming work for people coming back to the stories that you and I had shared before and the number two, thanks so much for joining me on just another episode of banking on digital growth. Thank you for all the great work you do man, we're huge fans and likewise the work that you guys are doing is hugely impactful for for so many people. So your your true leader in the industry always enjoy the opportunity to chat with you. Absolutely man and as always and until next time be well do good and make your bed. Mhm thank you for listening to another episode of banking on digital growth with James robert. Ley. Like what you hear, tell a friend about the podcast and leave us a review on apple podcasts, google podcasts or Spotify and subscribe. While you're there. To get even more practical improvement insights, visit www dot digital growth dot com to grab a preview of James roberts, best selling book banking on digital growth or order a copy right now for you and your team from amazon inside. You'll find a strategic marketing and sales blueprint framed around 12 key areas of focus that empower you to confidently generate 10 times more loans and deposits until next time be well and do good.

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