Banks and Embedded Payments – 4 essentials to drive B2B sales engagement
Everyone’s talking about embedded payments, but for banks to promote solutions for ‘payments-as-a-service’, it takes more than a catchy phrase. To attract and win B2B customers, it’s important to clarify meaningful context and business value. How do you make sure you get it right?
Developing an effective sales engagement playbook is a powerful foundation for driving results. It applies to any offering from banks, but it’s even more vital for embedded payments solutions where big fintech players are threatening to dominate the space.
These solutions empower companies to embed capabilities into their platform that enable their business customers to either make or accept digital payments. In return, the platform generates a new revenue stream by capturing a small percentage from every transaction.
It’s a simple idea, but a complex decision for a company to make. So banks need a strategic, data-driven approach to attract, nurture, and accelerate leads through the sales funnel. In our collaborations with leading banks, we’ve helped them develop and implement a sales engagement playbook built on the following strategic pillars…
4 pillars to improve sales engagement for embedded payments
First things first. For pillars to provide sustaining value, they need to be built on a strong foundation – in this case, customer insights. Each pillar of the engagement strategy represents a stage of planning and development, where decisions should be driven by data that’s current, reliable, and relevant.
It may sound like a no-brainer, but all too often, organizations forge ahead with only best guesses. Yet, being off even a little could make it harder (and more costly) to capture qualified leads and close sales. Knowing your audiences better through user research at various stages can help keep your efforts on track for more successful results.
1 – Understand target customer segments
Your B2B audiences may be defined in terms of company size, revenue, verticals, and so on. However, effective engagement relies on gaining a nuanced understanding of your target segments. In particular, when and why those companies will consider an embedded payments solution.
For example, what are the unique needs and concerns of businesses in different geographies? How does that differ across verticals? What are the different roles and priorities of purchase decision-makers?
Customer personas are a valuable tool to encapsulate what you know about different segments and what’s important to them. To flesh out personas, tap your sales team, relationship managers, and product team leaders for insights on different types of customers who might benefit from your solution. Also engage some loyal customers who may be willing to share their perspective.
2 – Define a data-driven value proposition
Next, you need to clarify your product positioning with a distinct and compelling value proposition. Customer research is essential to strengthen and validate this pillar. Why? Because you need to make sure your positioning factors in your customers’ latest thinking about brand perceptions, market attitudes, differentiators, and decision drivers.
Those insights will help you define a value proposition that aligns specifically with what your target audiences focus on most.
For your research, interviewing internal subject-matter experts can help clarify important context. To get outside feedback, talk with both existing customers and prospects, who may or may not already have an embedded payments solution. As current relationships may represent your initial pool of leads, getting feedback from customers could be especially valuable. (Though remember, this is discovery research, not a sales pitch; people need to feel they can provide candid input.)
Articulating the value proposition starts with a general vision about what matters most to customers. From there, it serves as the basis for strategic messaging about your offering.
3 – Create data-driven messaging
Using the positioning research, the next pillar is about crafting a communications framework of key messages and proof points. This framework helps ensure you have clear, consistent ways of talking about the product across all marketing touchpoints, from web and social media, to sales pitch decks and talking points.
The top tier of the framework should express your value proposition in a crisp, relatable statement. It’s not a slogan or tagline, but rather, an essence that describes the overarching value you promise to deliver.
The next tier below should clarify core ideas as messaging pillars, such as ease of use, cost-effectiveness, etc. – key purchase drivers identified in your research. From there, you can build out a range of messages that highlight the ways businesses can benefit with various capabilities.
Focus on what’s in it for customers, so your messaging is not just a laundry list of features. Show that you know your audiences by speaking to their needs, pain points you solve, and how they benefit from a broader relationship with your bank.
Once you’ve developed solid messaging, it’s time for more research to validate it. First, run the framework by product team leaders to make sure things are represented accurately; a little aspirational without overpromising.
Next, engage a sampling of prospects and existing customers to see how they react to all the various messages. Here, the goal is to identify which concepts are most compelling vs. least, specific phrasing that resonates or doesn’t, and so on. Then you’ll need to refine the key messages and proof points accordingly.
4 – Design a go-to-market strategy
Now that you’re prepared with strong product positioning and messaging, it’s time to clarify how, what, and when you will engage your target segments. There are many ways to visualize the sales funnel and map the strategy. Essentially you want to outline your action plan for communications at various funnel stages from brand awareness and discovery, to consideration, to nurturing the purchase decision. The strategy should also include a post-conversion phase to represent CRM and retention.
As an example, this strategy visualization might note key points of lifecycle engagement such as acquisition campaigns and onboarding, and the types of content and channels you intend to use. It doesn’t need to be an exhaustive breakdown, just a high-level representation of what the marketing team will deliver to support the sales team throughout the customer lifecycle.
Powering sales for embedded payments — How Beyond the Arc can help
This well-planned, data-driven approach can apply to a single offering like payments-as-a-service, or a suite of related products products and services.
But getting started and managing all the moving parts can be daunting. To accelerate progress, it can help to have an outside partner with the right industry experience and marketing expertise – and that’s what we do.
For over 15 years, our team has been collaborating with banks to create effective strategies and omni-channel communications that fuel growth and customer lifetime value.