pexels-karolina-grabowska-7679897_ industry news

You Know It: Keeping Your Finger on the Pulse of Relevant Industries

pexels-karolina-grabowska-7679897_ industry newsThe idiom, “If it’s not one thing, it’s another” has felt especially on the nose lately. First, it was COVID, next it was supply chain issues, then it was the cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, and now, of course, it’s the war in Ukraine. There’s always some breaking news headline or uh-oh moment, and as financial professionals, we better be aware of how those factors are impacting businesses. But how can you use Vertical IQ’s Industry Intelligence to stay informed?

We recently developed a user guide called “Tips for Finding Research on Petroleum & Supply Chain Disruptions.” You can view and download this user guide from the Resource Center in Vertical IQ, under the Technical Pieces category. In it, we share some tips on using Vertical IQ’s Industry Intelligence to stay abreast of the issues hitting the petroleum industry and other related industries, with links to our content on those verticals.

This particular user guide teaches you how to fish for impacts to the petroleum industry — today’s “hot topic” — but here again, if it’s not one thing, it’s another. The next hot topic may be something different, so you’ll want to do these same best practices no matter which industries you are calling on. After all, nearly every industry has its own unique set of challenges or shortages right now. This guide contains reliable steps you can (and should!) take every time as you utilize Vertical IQ to research the hot topics affecting your client’s or prospect’s industry.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these tips for staying up to date on the latest issues impacting an industry…

A nose for news

Your first reference point should be the News tab on the homepage of the Vertical IQ platform. Since our news is updated several times a month across all industry verticals, you’re sure to find the information you need on those salient current events that are hitting the press. And these aren’t just any articles. They are hand-selected by our research team as they proactively seek out articles that are representative of critical issues that are impacting industries.

The News tab also has its very own search engine, which you can use to search (by keyword, date, source, or even industry category) our general and industry-specific news repositories, including our archives.

Keep in mind that sometimes less is more when it comes to using a keyword search. Instead of searching for “supply chain,” search “supply,” and then search “chain.” But don’t stop at those words. In your search results, look at the article summary and/or the article itself to see if there are other root keywords you might want to explore — words like “slow,” “disrupt,” or “crisis,” for example. It can help to add those other words to your search to home in on relevant articles.

Another best practice is to make use of your ability to “Favorite” industries. If you mark particular industries as Favorites, you will see the latest news articles from those favorite industries right on your Vertical IQ homepage under “My Industry News.” This keeps you informed of what you need to know. Just log in, go to Settings in the top right corner, choose “Industry Settings,” and select the star by your favorite industries. Or you can go directly to the Industry Profile and click the “Add Favorite” button at the top of the Dashboard.

Tapping into the Coronavirus/Industry Updates

You’ve checked out the latest news, so what can you do next to stay informed? I suggest reviewing the Coronavirus/Industry Update for the industry you are researching. Here, you’ll find the latest curated content about impacts to a particular industry, and it is updated every 30 to 45 days.

I would contend this is one of the best Industry Profile chapters to stay attuned to industry happenings. It’s where our research team is posting insights such as:

  • Point-over-point sales data
  • Staffing figures
  • Recovery numbers
  • Supply chain impacts
  • Volatile raw material pricing
  • Changes in the ways businesses want to go to market
  • Significant consumer demand shifts

In my opinion, this is a must-review before going into a meeting with a client or prospect. In fact, I’d be so bold as to say I’d be embarrassed to be calling on a business and not have read this particular Industry Profile chapter. Why? Because business owners are busy! They simply don’t have the time or the inclination to school me on the basics of what’s happening within their industry. So, shame on me if I don’t take five minutes prior to our meeting and read that chapter.

(I would note that currently, the chapter is called Coronavirus Updates, but, in the not-so-distant future, we will likely rename the chapter to something more reflective of industry current events … so stay tuned for that change.)

Searching for gold

Think of the industry of your target client or prospect as the bullseye. Your goal as a financial services professional is to not just be an industry expert in that target industry, but to be a well-rounded industry expert. You have to broaden your research target and go a few layers outside of that bullseye. To this end, another trick I’d like to share is the value of making use of the Vertical IQ full site search and the Related Profiles chapter.

As I was creating this new user guide on petroleum, I went in to look for industries that are being tangentially impacted by petroleum supply and prices. I did a keyword search for “petroleum” to pull up content directly related to that industry, and then within those search results, I started skimming for words like “fuel,” “oil,” and “gas,” and then searched for those words.

Next, I took my search a step further and went into the Related Profiles chapter for both the petroleum Industry Profile as well as in the profiles for the other industries my search had turned up. Related Profiles share buyer-supplier relationships — they are industries highly dependent or impacted by one another, or even niches within a larger industry.

Related Profiles is a great resource that is typically under-used but gets you thinking about other industries that could be impacted by your target industry. Let’s say you’re calling on a restaurant. It’s obvious that you should check out the Industry Profile for restaurants, but under Related Profiles, you’ll see that it might also be worth perusing the profile on beer distributors and/or food distributors, as well as the niche profiles on quick-service restaurants and restaurant franchises.

The latest updates delivered to your inbox

Need one more best practice to stay on top of the latest happenings within the industries you call on? Sign up for Quarterly Email Alerts, and Vertical IQ does the legwork for you, delivering a summary of the latest trends and changes impacting an industry directly to your inbox every quarter.

To sign up, just log in, go to Settings in the top right corner, choose “Industry Settings,” and select the envelope next to the industries you’d like to receive email alerts on. Or you can go to the Industry Profile and click the “Subscribe” button at the top of the profile.

Not sure which industries to pick? We’re all touched by industry sectors every day, so why not sign up for the email alerts on Vertical IQ’s Sector Profiles? Those offer a comprehensive look at the top sectors that comprise the U.S. economy: construction, healthcare, manufacturing, mining/energy extraction, retail, and wholesale (with more to come).

Even if you’re focused on, say, dentistry practices, dentists have to get goods, they have equipment needs, they operate in an office, they use energy, they have to obtain supplies and materials, so those Sector Profiles will almost always speak to issues dentists may be facing.

Stay in the know

Are you ready to put your finger on the pulse of the industries that you are calling on? Start by implementing these best practices to use Industry Intelligence to stay on top of the latest issues impacting your target industries. Your clients and prospects will appreciate your initiative and your insights!

>> Related: Download our newest user guide, “Tips for Finding Research on Petroleum & Supply Chain Disruptions.”


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The "Strategic 4": Connect the Dots Between Client Issue and Bank Solution

strategic 4 numeralAs the Director of Training and Customer Success at Vertical IQ, I love helping our clients maximize the benefits of Industry Intelligence. Our Industry Profiles cover more than 94 percent of the businesses that make up the U.S. economy, and each one has pages and pages of the latest industry research, so I often get asked by our bank customers how to “prioritize” all of that great Vertical IQ content. That’s when I share my “Strategic 4” — the four sections of the Industry Profile that I believe best support deeper conversations with bank clients.

The obvious…and not-so obvious…topics

For bankers, as well as many other sales professionals, one of the primary goals of using Industry Intelligence is to have better conversations with business owners. Doing your homework with Vertical IQ enables you to understand the ins and outs of that person’s business. In fact, I could make the case that every Industry Profile chapter has Industry Intelligence nuggets that can lead to better client and prospect conversations.

There are certain chapters or sections that, when you scan over their name or headlines, it all but has flashing lights saying, “This way to an industry issue that I can help you address!” Obvious examples are Bank Product Usage and of course Banking Solutions.

In other cases, the chapter name or its section headlines might mention topics that you read, and your initial instinct is to skip it. At first glance, you think, “That isn’t something that can be fixed by a banker.” However, if you give it more thought, you might just find it does indeed connect back to a banking solution. And perhaps even more important, these sections often offer gems of information that can yield those deeper conversations with business owners.

The Strategic 4

Let’s say you are a banker who is meeting with a brewery client. How do you prioritize the content on Vertical IQ with the goal of initiating a better discussion with that business owner? Here are the Industry Profile chapters I like to call the “Strategic 4” and how the content can result in a more in-depth conversation with that brewery owner.

1. Profit Drivers

Here is an example of a profit driver from the Breweries Industry Profile:

  • Managing Supply Costs: The cost of grains and hops used in brewing beer can vary with growing conditions and market demand. The cost and availability of specialty ingredients used in producing craft beers can be particularly volatile, especially as demand for craft beers continues to grow.

Potential banking solutions and questions to explore: Line of Credit
Consider asking the business owner how they are impacted by the fluctuation in prices around raw materials and ingredients. If this is a primary concern, ask if they are using a LOC and if that line has the capacity to meet their needs.

2. Industry Trends

Here is an example of an Industry Trend from the Breweries Industry Profile:

  • Craft Beer Continues to Grow: Craft/specialty beer continues to be a bright spot in the beer industry. Craft beer enjoyed a growth of 4.5 percent in 2020. Craft beer accounted for almost 24 percent of the total U.S. market share in 2020.

Potential banking solutions and questions to explore: Equipment Financing and Term Loans
Growth is a huge trigger event for businesses (trigger event being something that prompts you to revisit your banking needs). Growth can impact equipment, raw materials, staffing, and so much more! To determine the right solution, ask the business owner questions about their plans to increase production and if their equipment will need to be upgraded to accommodate the increased capacity.

3. Cash Management Challenges

Here is a common cash management challenge for breweries:

  • Cash Shortfalls During Periods of Low Demand: Beer consumption is seasonal with higher demand during the summer and around major holidays. With high fixed costs, breweries can experience cash shortfalls when demand falls during the winter months. Breweries also must fund higher production costs to build inventories prior to peaks in demand.

Potential banking solutions and questions to explore: Payment/Treasury Services and Line of Credit
Managing seasonality can be challenging for even the most experienced and successful business owner. Payment/treasury solutions can provide much needed optics into working capital, and once you have your arms around cash flow, you can better determine the best products and services. You might ask the business owner to tell you more about how they monitor cash balances, the payment terms they have set-up with distributors, and if they rotate their beers seasonally to align with customer demand.

4. Credit Underwriting & Risks

The Breweries Industry Profile list several key risks that are impacting the industry, including:

  • Ingredient Shortages: Breweries depend on consistent access to raw materials like two-row malted barley, hops, and water. The price of these agricultural commodities can vary considerably, particularly if bad weather impacts a harvest. Breweries often enter into contracts with farm collectives and suppliers to ensure an adequate supply of raw materials, but these contracts can often run higher than market rates.  Smaller breweries that cannot enter into contracts may not have access to specialty ingredients.
  • Competition from Wine, Spirits, and other Breweries
  • Weak Marketing

Potential banking solutions and questions to explore: Line of Credit and Commercial/Purchasing Credit Cards
I would approach ingredient shortages much like we discussed above related to managing supply costs. Ask how they pay suppliers and if they are taking advantage of trade discounts to conserve cash. When it comes to competition and marketing, I think about how a brewery would maintain market share, and I would ask the business owner how much time and money they are putting into advertising.

Lead with industry-focused discussions, not product

In this particular industry example, breweries, we observed many clues pointing us to treasury and credit products, but the questions we ask can help diagnose and prioritize. These brewery data points and topics are great examples of how the Strategic 4 can help you have a deeper conversation with the business owner and then connect the dots between a potential industry issue and your banking products and services!

And here’s the best part about utilizing the Strategic 4 for your discussions: It’s win-win. Best case scenario, you will walk away with a better understanding of the business owner and what solutions you can bring to the table for them. Worst case scenario, you and the business owner talk through the topic, you sound educated and insightful on their industry because you know critical aspects that only insiders know, and you make strides in building that relationship.

Even though you are in sales, no one wants to feel product-pushy. By approaching your client or prospect conversation with the topics you find in the Strategic 4, you will get the buyer talking, have a more in-depth, focused conversation, and inevitably, that discussion will identify business issues that point to a banking solution you have in your quiver. When you effectively connect those issue-solution dots, you and the client will both win!

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Part 5 of 7: Get Group Banking on Team Industry Intelligence

Your commercial and small business bankers love Vertical IQ for call preparation, but the value of Industry Intelligence reaches far beyond these groups. In this seven-part blog series, we will discuss how Industry Intelligence can be utilized by lines of business across your bank enterprise.

>> Related:
Part 1 of 7: Industry Intelligence Offers a Wealth of Treasury Management Insight

Part 2 of 7: Industry Intelligence Puts Card Services in Charge

Part 3 of 7: Credit Underwriting Can Connect the Dots with Industry Intelligence

Part 4 of 7: Industry Intelligence Adds Up for Wealth Management & Investments

group banking ; hands in a circleIt’s logical that the Industry Intelligence found on Vertical IQ can help small business and commercial bankers win more deals and retain more business. But did you know that bankers across your entire bank enterprise also can benefit from the effective use of Industry Intelligence?

Consider Group Banking for a moment. Group Banking has the power to incentivize a company’s employees, offering them banking benefits that may not be readily available to your other bank customers. Industry Intelligence can offer associates in Group Banking key insights on the ins and outs of the industries in which their clients operate. What’s more, this knowledge can enable them to help their clients in some very tangible ways.

Industry Intelligence helps your Group Banking team:

Review the latest Industry Trends to get specific information about issues that may be relevant to employee satisfaction and retention.

We’ve all read the headlines lately about businesses struggling to hire employees. Group Banking can be part of an incentive package offered by employers to help attract and retain good workers — so it is useful for your Group Banking team to understand which industries might be struggling with employee satisfaction and retention. Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and How Firms Operate are the first Industry Profile chapters to review for employee-related issues.

Looking at the Credit Underwriting & Risks chapter of the Industry Profile for Restaurants, for example, we see that there are two specific areas of concern around employees, which Group Banking may be able to address.

First, there are rising labor costs. The restaurant industry suffers from high worker turnover, in addition to the current issues around labor shortages. Typically, low pay, variable hours, and physical demands result in low job satisfaction and drive turnover.

To address this industry challenge, many restaurants are raising starting wages to try to attract applicants, but there are other benefits that also can appeal to prospective employees and retain existing ones — Group Banking, for instance — which may be less expensive to the restaurant’s bottom line. For restaurant employees, their direct deposit oftentimes is not enough to qualify them for a free checking account. With a “Workplace Banking program,” however, you can help these employees avoid banking fees.

Second, the Industry Profile notes that an individual restaurant’s management greatly affects the dining experience, which means retaining good managers is crucial to success. Ineffective management can result in bad food, poor service, unclean facilities, and high worker turnover. Some restaurants offer management incentives based on sales to retain strong performers, but benefits like Group Banking could also incentivize good managers to stay put.

Understand the industry landscape and have more engaging conversations by asking the Call Prep Questions.

Asking good questions yields valuable information to the banker and boosts the confidence and loyalty of the client. Industry Intelligence arms Group Banking associates with the insights they need to ask more tailored questions, drawing out information and enabling the banker to provide solutions that truly move the needle for the client.

If we look at the Call Prep Questions on the Industry Profile for Medical and Imaging Labs, for example, we see several questions that could relate to Group Banking. First, under the Working Capital section, we see the question: What are you doing to improve worker productivity? The note below explains why this is an important topic to discuss: Labor is the largest expense for medical and imaging labs, averaging 24-25 percent of sales.

Under the How Firms Operate portion of the Call Prep Questions, we see two other hot topics related to employees: What challenges do you face in hiring and retaining technical staff, and How many office and administrative staff do you employ?

Under the notes for these questions, we learn that key staff employed by medical labs include pathologists and lab technologists (who analyze samples), technicians (who perform tests), and histotechnicians (who prepare tissue specimens). But they also employ office staff to determine patient eligibility, accurately code procedures, submit reimbursements to insurers, and follow up on errors or denied claims. All of these roles are critical to the successful operation of these facilities. Adding Group Banking to the benefit package could entice new employees to come on board or to retain existing ones.

Utilize Industry News and current events as part of their business development and retention efforts.

Group Banking associates can use Industry Intelligence for both business development and client retention. It’s quick and easy when you utilize the Industry News section on each Industry Profile.

To reach out to a prospect, try finding and printing a relevant article related to their industry. Highlight a few key points, and include a business card and handwritten note that says something to the effect of, “I saw this article and thought of you. How is this issue impacting your business? I’ll call next week to discuss.” It will take less than 10 minutes of a banker’s time, but it will leave a lasting impression on that prospect.

For existing clients, you can use a similar tactic, printing an article, highlighting salient points, and dropping in the mail or using as a value-added leave-behind after a meeting. Either way, you will show the client that you are in tune with their industry and looking out for them and their business.

Industry Intelligence brings it together

When a Group Banking associate takes just a little time to get up to speed on their client’s industry, it can provide them with the insights needed to help their client succeed. With Industry Intelligence, this knowledge is at your fingertips, saving bankers time and effort, while boosting the level of service they provide to business owner-clients. That’s a win for the bank, a win for the client, and ultimately, a win for the client’s employees who will benefit from Group Banking.

Close more deals, retain more business, and grow more relationships, all with the help of Vertical IQ. Ready to get started? Contact Vertical IQ today for a free demo!

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Part 4 of 7: Industry Intelligence Adds Up for Wealth Management & Investments

Your commercial and small business bankers love Vertical IQ for call preparation, but the value of Industry Intelligence reaches far beyond these groups. In this seven-part blog series, we will discuss how Industry Intelligence can be utilized by lines of business across your bank enterprise.

>> Related:
Part 1 of 7: Industry Intelligence Offers a Wealth of Treasury Management Insight

Part 2 of 7: Industry Intelligence Puts Card Services in Charge

Part 3 of 7: Credit Underwriting Can Connect the Dots with Industry Intelligence

wealth management and investments piggy bankBankers across your entire bank enterprise can benefit from the Industry Intelligence found on Vertical IQ. Your wealth management and investments team is no exception. You might be thinking, “But our wealth managers and investment experts are working with individuals, not with businesses. Why would they need Industry Intelligence?” I’m so glad you asked!

It’s safe to bet that a number of your wealth management and investment customers are business owners. Many have worked hard to build a successful company over the years and now are reaping the financial rewards of that hard work. When your wealth management and investment team has an understanding of that customer’s industry, it opens the door to even more value-added discussions, and potentially, a deepened banking relationship.

More tailored wealth and investments advice

Let’s say you have a wealth management or investment client who is in crop production; perhaps they own a successful third-generation oilseed and grain farm. Using Industry Intelligence, you can make a more personalized connection with this successful farmer. For instance, Industry Intelligence helps wealth and investment managers:

Save time on pre-call planning while gaining the ability to talk to business owners about their company.

While we may all appreciate the hard work that farmers put in to keep us fed, a lot of us don’t know a lot about how farms operate. If we look at the Industry Profile on Crop Production and review the “Industry Structure” chapter, we learn that 967,000 crop farms in the U.S. produce more than 421 million acres of commercial-scale grains, sugar, fruits, nuts, vegetables, and ornamental crops.

Turning to the “How Firms Operate” chapter of the profile, we learn that, except for the largest 10 percent of farms (those generating over $250,000 in revenue), the majority of farm household income comes from non-farm activities. The average annual income is $200,000 with about $126,000 from farm earnings and around $74,000 from non-farm activities, such as outside jobs and investments.

The net worth of farm households is around $1.5 million on average, with 68 percent of that worth in farm assets and 32 percent in non-farm assets, such as investments and non-farm real estate. According to the USDA, nearly 70 percent of farms carry debt of less than $10,000, but a very large farm can have debt ranging from $1 million to $3.5 million.

All of this information is useful for the wealth manager to know prior to speaking with this successful farmer client, and it can serve as a segue to initiate a conversation about savings and investment mix.

Relate to business owners’ challenges, instead of simply talking about products and services.

Business owners eat and breathe their business, and this is literally true of farmers! Even when things are going well, there are undoubtedly issues that are keeping them up at night, and it’s helpful for an investment manager to understand these forces.

For instance, looking at the “Credit Underwriting & Risks” chapter of the Crop Production Industry Profile, we learn that because of climate change, the number of forest fires and insect outbreaks are increasing, the growth of many crops and weeds is being stimulated, and the migration of many plant and animal species is changing the structure and composition of virtually every ecosystem.

It’s important for an investment advisor to know about this and other potential business risks. This enables them to help the farmer manage their investments and liquidity so when the company has an off year, they can navigate through it.

Talk about business valuations using industry comps to prepare for the sale of a business and the resulting wealth transfer.

Reviewing the “Industry Structure” chapter of the Industry Profile on Crop Production, we see that 98 percent of farms are family-owned and many have been for generations, just like this hypothetical client. Around 89 percent of family-owned farms are sole proprietorships.

We also learn from the “Credit Underwriting & Risks” chapter that 36 percent of the principal farm operators in the U.S. are at least 65 years old, and the average age for all principal operators is 58. Even though most farms are multi-generational family farms, and it is hoped the upcoming generations will replace them, concerns linger over younger generations leaving the industry for more lucrative careers.

This piece of Industry Intelligence is especially useful for an investment advisor to know. Then, taking a look at the “Business Valuation” chapter, that advisor can help the farmer talk about a succession plan for their business.

Engage on an ongoing basis with business owner-clients as part of their business development and retention process by sharing relevant industry news articles.

Wealth managers and investment advisors need to continuously nurture relationships, providing ongoing analysis and guidance to their clients. Industry Intelligence makes this quick and simple for clients who are also business owners.

For example, the advisor could print off and share the “Financial Benchmarks” chapter of the Industry Profile, offering this hypothetical farmer-client insights on how their financials stack up to competitors’. Another option would be to print and share a timely article from the “News” portion of the Industry Profile — highlighting a relevant point or two and including a note that the advisor will follow up to discuss.

And don’t forget: There are always cross-sell opportunities with wealth management and other areas of the bank! Why not share the “Capital Financing” chapter of the Industry Profile and add a note asking if the farmer is in need of a new piece of machinery — that you’d love to loop in a member of your bank’s equipment financing team to discuss making that happen.

Industry Intelligence captures the entire picture

Incorporating Industry Intelligence into your wealth management and investments processes is about more than creating warm fuzzies. It’s about showing your business owner-clients that you have a handle on their entire financial picture. You understand their business operations, challenges, trends, and benchmarks, which makes for more value-added discussions.

It’s also important to have access to Business Valuation data so you can advise the client prior to the sale of a business and the resulting wealth transfer.

Vertical IQ will empower your wealth management and investments team to close more deals, retain more business, and grow more relationships — while also saving time and effort. Ready to get started? Contact Vertical IQ today for a free demo!


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Part 1 of 7: Industry Intelligence Offers a Wealth of Treasury Management Insight

Your commercial and small business bankers love Vertical IQ for call preparation, but the value of Industry Intelligence reaches far beyond these groups. In this seven-part blog series, we will discuss how Industry Intelligence can be utilized by lines of business across your bank enterprise.

treasury management ; close-up of moneyWhy should commercial and small business bankers get to have all of the fun? Industry Intelligence offers value across the entire bank enterprise. Take treasury management, for example. Industry Intelligence is a natural fit for treasury management officers who are looking to get a better picture of their client’s or prospect’s cash flow challenges and the solutions that may be the best fit for them.

When the treasury management team is preparing for a meeting with a new prospect, Industry Intelligence is a true time-saver. It’s the go-to source for the latest information on how an industry operates, including an explanation of their typical payment cycles, profit drivers, cash management challenges, and the payment products that are commonly used within the niche.

Better treasury-related conversations

Treasury management officers (TMOs) can take the conversation even further when they ask insightful questions, showcasing their knowledge of how the prospect’s or client’s industry works. For instance, the TMO can select from and incorporate working capital call prep questions into the conversation that dig deeper into key cash management concerns impacting financial statistics like payables and receivables. Or they can print and share current industry-focused deliverables as a value-added part of their business development tactics.

But the utility of Industry Intelligence doesn’t end there. When they do their research using Industry Intelligence, they can learn about industry-specific working capital stressors keeping the business owner up at night. Opportunities for foreign exchange, fraud prevention solutions, global trends, technology investment, and so much more, open the door to deepening the client relationship. That’s a win for the client manager, treasury management officer, and the bank!

Level up your retention efforts

Why stop there, though? Industry Intelligence can be used to continue to add value to the client even after the treasury management deal is closed. Industry news articles make a great touchpoint for client retention efforts. Print and drop the article in the mail with a personalized note: “I saw this article and wondered if you are having a similar issue within your company. If so, I may have a solution for you. I’ll call you next week to discuss.”

Another proven tactic that will really wow the client is to share industry data on their clients. This is the kind of reconnaissance that can be extremely eye-opening and valuable to a business, but that they rarely have the time or resources to procure on their own. Such insights can help them get a better handle on the external forces that come into play with their cash management.

A treasury management tool that’s right on the money

Want to learn more about how your treasury management team and other lines of business across your bank enterprise can use Vertical IQ’s Industry Intelligence to save time and win more deals? Contact Vertical IQ today for a free demo!


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The Secret is Out: Industry Intelligence Ups Your Marketing Game

marketing meetingAs a marketing professional, you are involved in strategy and tactics at every turn during the buyer’s journey. You are charged with supporting front-line salespeople by creating communication deliverables that make their job simpler as they help clients and prospects navigate the phases of the sales cycle.

But in today’s world, clients’ and prospects’ expectations have taken a sharp turn from their predecessors’. No longer can you produce generic marketing materials that pitch products and expect them to hit the mark. You have to up your game! Create collateral that is personalized, targeted, and speaks to the business owner’s unique situation.

Sound daunting? It doesn’t have to be when you use Industry Intelligence. Whether your company calls on a wide array of industries or focuses on a select few, incorporating Industry Intelligence into your marketing efforts will pay dividends.

Here are some ways to start integrating Industry Intelligence into your marketing in each phase of the buyer’s journey.

>> Related: See Vertical IQ in action all along your buyer’s journey

Build industry-specific prospect outreach campaigns, collateral, and content

Cold calling can send chills up the spine of even seasoned salespeople, but incorporating Industry Intelligence can help quickly warm up the audience by speaking the prospect’s language.

During the Awareness Phase of the buyer’s journey, today’s sales and marketing approach should focus on building credibility with the business owner-prospect. That means using Industry Intelligence to prepare for calls, ask better questions, and understand prospects’ challenges and opportunities. The ultimate goal is to offer the prospect a unique solution during the Consideration Phase — one that’s a bit different from your competitors’. The marketing collateral the sales team is sharing should reflect this differentiated approach.

So, select an industry vertical to target with a marketing campaign, and help build awareness with industry-focused conversations and communications. Then, as the prospect considers their options, focus your marketing communications on trends within that industry and the tailored products or services your company brings to the table to address those trends.

Create industry-specific brochures or sales slicks. Share a current industry article as a valuable meeting follow-up or touchpoint. Craft presentations or emails that connect the dots between a trend within the prospect’s niche, a common industry challenge, or a stated business goal, and your value-added solution. All of this will boost your company’s profile and credibility during the Awareness and Consideration Phases.

Improve your company’s online presence

Before a prospect makes a choice about who to partner with, odds are, they are going to do some Googling. Just as you would do when making a buying decision, they are going to check out your company website and peruse your social media accounts (not to mention take a peek at your customer reviews). That’s why, during the Decision Phase of the buyer’s journey, it’s important to have Industry Intelligence incorporated into your online presence.

This goes back to speaking the language of your client or prospect, while embracing more modern marketing mediums. Industry-focused online resources — whether that be whitepapers, ebooks, blog posts, or even customer persona-specific website pages — not only drive search traffic to your website to generate new leads, they also make for great conversation pieces to nurture prospects who are in the Decision Phase.

Such industry-focused online marketing resources are an effective way to showcase your in-depth understanding of the prospect’s niche, encouraging them to pull the trigger on the deal. P.S., They are also ideal for social media posts.

Provide value-added insights and data that benefits the client

Your sales team has sealed the deal, thanks to your outstanding industry-focused content, but you know the marketer’s job isn’t over yet. During the Adoption Phase of the buyer’s journey, your audience simply grows to include not just the decision-makers but also the rest of their team. To get buy-in from those who weren’t necessarily at the table, you will need to communicate the reasoning behind implementing your company’s solution and demonstrate the strategic value.

Industry Intelligence makes it easy to move forward and earn the trust of the client’s extended team. Craft educational materials that incorporate pain points and how your company solves them. Share industry datapoints, like financial comparisons or benchmarks, to showcase how your product drives results or gives the client a competitive advantage.

To take the buyer’s journey into the Loyalty Phase and eventually the Advocacy Phase, Industry Intelligence is also the key. Not only can you share Quarterly Updates and timely industry news articles, your marketing team can help your client better-understand their clients. By providing the client with Industry Intelligence on the industries they call on or that supply them, you are truly upping the ante on the relationship, boosting your company’s status as a trusted advisor.

This is next-level marketing when you have created a situation where the client is eager to advocate for you, referring their partners or colleagues to your company!

>> Free eBook: Deliver Value at Every Turn: Industry Intelligence Across the Buyer’s Journey

Perpetuate the buyer’s journey cycle by identifying new markets

Not only can marketing teams help bring in new business, nurturing prospects/clients through the buyer’s journey by effectively using Industry Intelligence, they also can identify new markets to target, new places to sell, or new regions to go after (as well as ones to potentially exit).

All companies have clients or niches that either have plateaued or the circumstances have changed — sometimes for the better and sometimes not. Industry Intelligence helps the marketing team advise leadership on how to strategically prioritize your company’s client mix — elevating your profile within the company in the process. Use Industry Intelligence to analyze industry trend lines and study local economic data to gather the insights needed to properly allocate your company’s resources to ensure the buyer’s journey cycle continues unabated.

The key ingredient to your company’s secret sauce

You have the power to take your marketing strategy and tactics to the next level, moving beyond pitching product or pricing. When you use Industry Intelligence during each phase of the buyer’s journey to better-understand your prospect’s or client’s industry, you help your sales team create an environment that is ripe for growth.

Want to learn more about how your marketing team can effectively incorporate Industry Intelligence into the buyer’s journey? Contact us today for a free demo!


Image credit:  Leon via Unsplash

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