Mid-Sized Bank Case Study

Case Study

Mid-Sized Bank Swings for the Fences Using Industry Intelligence for Targeting Deposits, Relationship Management, and Call Prep Throughout Enterprise

line graphic Introduction

With several hundred branches across the Southwest, this mid-sized bank aims to support their customers’ unique needs with a stellar lineup of financial products and services. They strive to be the bank that businesses turn to when looking for a partner for success – someone who will understand them and their business.

These goals align perfectly with the benefits of using Vertical IQ, so the bank has woven Industry Intelligence into both its sales processes and its customer-centric culture, ensuring their team is always ready to step up to the plate and shift from being great bankers to establishing themselves as trusted advisors.

line graphic The Challenge: Competing Amid Economic Turbulence

Although the bank was already in a great position to combat economic turbulence, sales leaders realized there was something missing: They had used tools for the credit side, and they had resources for lending – but they did not have a truly differentiating solution for sales and relationship management.

“We had been using a different tool for credit and the commercial side, but we needed something to set us apart and enable us to really go after deposits and thrive in the C&I space,” said one sales executive. “We needed to be more conversationally competent with business owners because the more you think like a business owner, the better a banker you are. We needed to adjust our conversations to reflect that.”

Part of the challenge was making it easier for this cultural shift to happen. And this is where Industry Intelligence was welcomed into the dugout.

line graphic The Solution: A Trusted Teammate

Given recent events and economic headwinds, it speaks volumes that this particular bank has been able to stand tall and continue to thrive – and Vertical IQ is becoming a more prominent part of their starting lineup. One of their sales leaders has been using the Vertical IQ platform for several years, so she had already experienced firsthand the value of using Industry Intelligence solutions for sales enablement. The organization first signed with Vertical IQ in 2022, and – just one year later – they upgraded to a three-year enterprise deal. They’re already reaping the benefits, and even the sales leadership team didn’t initially realize the reach it would have across different branches of their organization.

“We’ve gotten just as much usage from the retail side as the commercial side,” one sales exec said. “Our credit team uses it, in part, because of Vertical IQ’s partnership with RMA. We had previously used an industry research competitor, but Vertical IQ made more sense because of the compatibility of the two products, the depth of the insight provided, and the ease of use on the platform.”

“Everyone agreed that it was also better for sales and that Vertical IQ met the needs of both teams,” this leader continued. “The branch managers, who make outside calls intended for commercial, were also using it for retail. Its usage morphed to other parts of the bank, and although that wasn’t necessarily expected, it was a welcomed development.”

quote marks

If you want to have a solution that really helps with the sales side and the questions your bankers should be asking their customers – as well as what the answers to those questions mean – Vertical IQ is the best option available for engagement.

Senior Sales Executive

quote marks

The versatility of the Vertical IQ platform – as well as its sales enablement and call preparation features that help build credibility and make engagement with customers easier – is one of the primary reasons the bank has implemented usage across multiple departments. They have especially seen the platform’s value in terms of call preparation, financial insights, and its Salesforce integration.

Call Preparation

If there is one chief reason bank leadership sees value in using Industry Intelligence, it is in the collection of call preparation resources on each of Vertical IQ’s Industry Profiles – and in the specialization and variety of niches within those industries.

“We’ve found the call preparation resources to be very effective,” one sales manager elaborated. “We actually used them for a training class in Scottsdale with a real dental practice in Tulsa. We had commercial bankers prepare for deposit calls and talk to people who don’t borrow. They quickly read the Call Prep Sheet on the platform and looked at the Industry Profile to give them confidence and credibility prior to the calls.”

“The platform means a lot more when you see something like ‘dental laboratories’ or ‘dental spas’ in addition to just ‘dentistry.’ It’s specialized. We make sales calls using the ‘homework’ from reading the information on the platform, which is easy to consume and saves time. Because of this ‘homework,’ our bankers don’t have to say, ‘What do you do?’ Instead, it’s a more focused conversation.”

Financial Insights

Given the push for deposits, the business and commercial banking teams have reaped the benefits of the timely, specific, and focused Financial Benchmark data and insights found on the Vertical IQ platform to help assess risk and identify cash-intensive industries for deposit opportunities.

“What we’ve really been using is the financial insight section – which includes the Financial Benchmarks and Working Capital chapters – to see how industries receive money and how they pay, and I think bankers are really seeing value in that part of the platform,” one business banking manager said. “As the economy changes, the value of targeting deposit-rich industries is increasing – and in turn, Vertical IQ adoption is increasing in our organization. Most bankers weren’t worried about deposits before, but now that it’s become such a big focus in our industry, we’re working on training our bankers using these chapters so they can identify deposit opportunities.”

Salesforce Integration

Vertical IQ’s integration with Salesforce has not only boosted sales enablement for this bank – it also has made it easier for bankers to effectively engage with customers in specific industries because of the ease of access to the platform directly from Salesforce.

“It wasn’t long before we started using Vertical IQ that we adopted Salesforce on the commercial side,” a sales executive explained. “We wanted Vertical IQ to live in Salesforce. If we’re logging a call to a veterinarian, for example, Vertical IQ is right there. You click one button, and you’re in. Putting it right in front of somebody’s face in Salesforce makes it easy for them to access it in a snap. It reinforces the message that Vertical IQ is quick and easy to use, and it helps with accountability for our bankers logging calls in Salesforce.”

line graphic An Organizational Adoption – From Coach to Player

This mid-sized bank’s dedication to implementing and executing sales processes from the top down has made a positive impact on the rest of the team, and the encouraged usage of a solution like Vertical IQ across the organization – starting with the people in charge – has helped contribute to a culture of trust and unity.

“Our sales executive has been here a long time. He goes out to different markets on sales calls, and his requirement for all of them is that they need to have Vertical IQ so that he can be prepped,” said one sales director. “That drives a message. It speaks volumes when someone who has been in the industry for a long time is changing and adopting a message. Are the questions leadership asks the bankers the questions that bankers are asking their customers? It’s important that Vertical IQ and the customer-centric culture it helps foster are adopted from the top and cascade down to the salesforce with consistent messaging.”

But it’s not just about the Industry Intelligence itself, explained the sales director – it’s about the reason behind using it.

“The challenge was that we weren’t using what we had before for the right reasons,” he said. “It came down to shifting the culture and showing the value in how Vertical IQ can help us change the conversation to better engage with our customers and talk about what’s happening in their world. If we’re preaching to them that they need to adopt Vertical IQ – and offer that reason – the desire to use the platform and be more successful as a result are there. They realize it saves time, makes things easier, and that the prep is already done. If they’re sensing a shift in an industry they’re selling to, they have it right at their fingertips. So it’s really all about using it to their advantage and to its full potential.”

“It’s a simple yet powerful concept – having the knowledge, confidence, and credibility to talk about what customers want to talk about rather than what bankers want to talk about.”

quote marks

When you work with a team that is already top-notch, it can feel like trying to convince Willie Mays that he needs coaching. Why would our bankers need coaching if they’re great at what they do? Mays had natural talent, and his bat was the best tool in his arsenal, but he needed to be taught how to use the bat and continue to train with it, just like our bankers need to be taught how to swing the bat. In this case, Vertical IQ is the bat.

Sales Director

quote marks

line graphic Cultivating Trust Through Differentiation

With the liquidity crunch and the race for deposits looming large for a lot of banks, it can be easy to get caught up in the sales side of customer interactions. Falling into the trap of “banker-speak” instead of “customer-speak” is more prone to happen when bankers are increasingly desperate to close deals.

So, in the face of economic turbulence, this financial institution stayed its cultural course and doubled down on relationship-building. A bank sales leader said that if one thing is true more than anything, recent events are driving home the fact that bankers need to be relationship managers and not lenders. So what does that mean for this particular bank?

“It means our best practices have to change to adapt to that,” she said. “It’s obviously important now, but it’s going to be even more important in the future to build a relationship rather than just a transaction. Transactions are easy to leave. Relationships are difficult to maintain but important to sustain. They need to be viewed as a differentiator.”

And differentiation, she posits, can spell the difference between striking out and getting that clutch hit.

“If you don’t have the volume of loans you need or the highest ratings on deposits, you need to find a way to differentiate yourself,” she said. “You can’t do that unless you seek to understand. It’s hard to pull that off otherwise.”

“I’ve used Vertical IQ for a long time. I show it to the bankers, and I’m such a believer that relationships, as well as being a trusted advisor and an expert, are what it’s all about. Vertical IQ has helped us change our engagement strategy to reflect that culture shift, and it’s working.”

line graphic A Home Run Resource

This banking team has recognized the value of Industry Intelligence with regard to its sales enablement. Their bankers have leveraged the platform to become part of a unified cultural shift to speak the business owner’s language, identify and win new deposit opportunities, and deepen relationships with customers and prospects. The solution has aligned perfectly with the bank’s goals to protect their customers’ futures and build trust in uncertain times – and this bank continues to stand tall and hit home runs as a result.

Our successes are always co-authored with our customers.
To learn more about how Industry Intelligence from Vertical IQ can give your bank an edge, contact us at 919.787.4600 or info@verticaliq.com.

Liberty Bank Case Study

Case Study

Local Market Monitor Helps Liberty Bank Navigate a Complex Residential Lending Environment

line graphic Introduction

Founded in 1825, Liberty Bank is the oldest and largest independent mutual bank in the country and is the second largest bank headquartered in Connecticut. Liberty has over $7 billion in assets and operates 56 banking offices across Connecticut and one in Massachusetts. In 2022, their Retail Lending team generated $340 million in residential mortgages, as well as $186.3 million in home equity and home equity line of credit (HELOC) loans.

line graphic The Challenge

Smaller banks can offer a variety of advantages. For instance, Liberty Bank prides itself on providing customers with personalized service and products tailored to their individual needs. The bank is actively engaged within the communities it serves in Connecticut and Massachusetts, as well. But being a smaller bank, Liberty also has to carefully manage their loan portfolio — including residential lending.

“As the manager of our retail lending business, it is important for me to stay attuned to the latest trends,” explains Matt Cammarota, who has been head of retail lending at Liberty Bank for just over two years. In addition, he is also partly responsible for managing the credit risk of residential lending, and developing data-driven lending policies and product guidelines.

When the COVID-19 pandemic struck in early 2020, one unexpected result was the impact it had on the residential real estate sector. This market tumult put Cammarota in search of a resource to help Liberty Bank make more informed decisions about residential loans and valuations. Thankfully, he remembered a tool he’d used in his role at a previous employer, so in 2021, he encouraged Liberty Bank to get access to Local Market Monitor.

line graphic The Solution

Local Market Monitor (LMM) provides timely assessments and forecasts of more than 300 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs), 2,000 counties, and 20,000 ZIP codes across the U.S. Cammarota’s past experience with Local Market Monitor convinced him that it was the solution Liberty needed to make data-driven residential lending decisions and policies, particularly in the uncharted waters of the post pandemic market. “I have been a big fan of Local Market Monitor since my time working at a previous bank, so, I suggested we get this tool on board at Liberty,” he says. And it has proven to be a wise move.

Cammarota and the residential lending team at Liberty Bank depend on Local Market Monitor’s proprietary Equilibrium Home Price model. This award-winning tool monitors the extent to which actual home prices are higher than the Equilibrium Home Price, which provides a measure of how much price adjustment will eventually take place and also measures the risk that actual home prices will fall. This was essential insight during the past few years’ market fluctuations.

“Approximately two years ago, we began monitoring Local Market Monitor values as part of our ongoing credit risk management and to make policy and guideline adjustments as needed,” Cammarota recollects. “In a fluctuating lending environment, such as the one our nation has experienced over the past few years, having the latest, most accurate residential real estate valuation data and risk projections were essential to Liberty making the best-informed business decisions to ensure our bank’s continued prosperity.”

Cammarota continues: “The information provided by Local Market Monitor has helped us gain a really solid understanding of the real estate market. From an ROI perspective, it enables us to better monitor our portfolio’s risk and make data-informed policy and guideline decisions to manage credit risk of new originations. It is the primary tool we use when we’re looking at loan-to-value from a policy perspective.”

quote marks

The information provided by Local Market Monitor helped us gain a really solid understanding of the real estate market. … It is the primary tool we use when we're looking at loan-to-value from a policy perspective.

Matt Cammarota
Head of Retail Banking,
Liberty Bank

quote marks

line graphic A valuable resource throughout housing market cycles

The pandemic real estate bubble created by low home inventory coupled with supply chain issues that drove up building material prices has begun to subside, but Liberty Bank continues to find value in their use of Local Market Monitor’s data and forecasts.

“Even today, post-pandemic, every person I share an LMM report with is excited about the information that it captures,” says Cammarota. “I have a quarterly credit risk review meeting on retail lending, and I always pull Local Market Monitor’s home value information from at least one MSA to share with our credit risk and retail lending teams during that meeting. It’s information our teammates find very useful and informative.”

“From a risk management perspective, Local Market Monitor is invaluable,” Cammarota continues. “It gives us the ability to get down into a very specific geographic area with their ZIP by ZIP Analysis and Investor Metro Analysis.”

Liberty continues to find even more advantages to tapping into Local Market Monitor’s data and tools. “LMM’s portfolio tool [which allows you to upload your bank’s portfolio numbers and run forecasts] is outstanding,” Cammarota explains. “As markets fluctuate, it is definitely a tool we will continue to rely on.”

line graphic A time-saving tool from a trusted partner

As Liberty Bank approaches its bicentennial, they know that data-driven retail lending decisions will help ensure financial success in their next 100 years. And having the right partners by their side is crucial.

“The Local Market Monitor team is great, very responsive,” observes Cammarota. “If I ever have an issue, they’re extraordinarily responsive and helpful, and I’m very grateful. You just don’t find that. I, and many others, don’t look for vendors; we look for strategic partners, and I definitely put Local Market Monitor in that category.”

But as Cammarota notes, the biggest benefit of his access to Local Market Monitor is the platform’s data and forecasts for specific local geographies, which are especially critical to a bank like Liberty.

He expounds: “A regional or national bank can look at general indices, or some big banks even use their own indices to adjust their portfolio values up and down. But for a smaller bank like Liberty, Local Market Monitor has improved our ability to manage credit risk effectively. From a retail lending perspective, it gives us a really strong understanding of what’s happening for new originations but also on the portfolio. It’s an incredibly helpful, time-saving tool.”

quote marks

The Local Market Monitor team is great, very responsive. If I ever have an issue, they’re extraordinarily responsive and helpful, and I'm very grateful. You just don't find that. I, and many others, don't look for vendors; we look for strategic partners, and I definitely put Local Market Monitor in that category.

Matt Commarota
Head of Retail Banking,
Liberty Bank

quote marks

Our successes are always co-authored with our customers.
To learn more about how Industry Intelligence from Vertical IQ can give your bank an edge, contact us at 919.787.4600 or info@verticaliq.com.

Founded in 1825, Liberty Bank is the oldest and largest independent mutual bank in the country and is the second largest bank headquartered in Connecticut. Liberty has over $7 billion in assets and operates 56 banking offices across Connecticut and one in Massachusetts. In 2022, their Retail Lending team generated $340 million in residential mortgages, as well as $186.3 million in home equity and home equity line of credit (HELOC) loans.

Cornerstone Bank Case Study

Case Study

Cornerstone Bank's Credit Team Builds a Foundation of Trust Using Industry Intelligence from Vertical IQ

line graphic Introduction

Cornerstone Bank, headquartered in Worcester County, Massachusetts, is a mid-sized community bank committed to delivering personalized financial services to individuals and businesses in central Massachusetts.

Their corporate tagline sums it up well: Cornerstone Bank is focused on forming client relationships that are “Built on trust.” The credit team was facing a common challenge that was hampering their ability to consistently live up to this mission, however. Commercial lenders and credit analysts were reliant on Google searches when researching an industry.

line graphic The Challenge

The advent of the internet has put near-infinite amounts of information at our fingertips. From a banker’s perspective, it has simplified a number of essential tasks, from pre-call planning to credit analysis. But like so many other financial services professionals, the credit lenders and analysts at Cornerstone Bank found it challenging to cite reliable sources. The information was often fragmented, making it time-consuming to sift through various internet search results to find trustworthy information.

Cornerstone had a “Google conundrum” – they were spending an exorbitant amount of time on these online searches but also lacked confidence in the information they found. What’s more, this research process was creating challenges when calling on clients and prospects, as well as when developing credit write-ups. Cornerstone Bank needed a reliable, time-saving, up-to-date source for Industry Intelligence.

“We were going to Google for pretty much everything,” recalls Cornerstone credit manager Chelsea Prizio. “Occasionally, we would have an article that was given to the lender and then passed along to credit, but for 95% of our information, we were relying on any industry research that the analyst could find online.”

On top of that, when they did find trustworthy information on the web, the credit team at Cornerstone kept running into paywalls. Prizio explains: “To understand the operations of the industry we were calling on or for background for our credit analyses, we could take snippets out of an industry research website, but it would only give you a couple paragraphs of free information, and then you’d have to purchase the whole report to get more details. The cost of those reports can really add up.”

“We needed a reliable source of information, and we needed to improve efficiency,” notes Prizio. And as it turns out, the Industry Intelligence on Vertical IQ was exactly what they’d been searching for.

line graphic The Solution

In the spring of 2023, Cornerstone Bank began exploring industry information platforms. They considered the various products on the market, but ultimately selected Vertical IQ for their Industry Intelligence needs.

“Not only was their pricing more competitive, we found the Vertical IQ platform to be much simpler to use than the other options we looked at,” recalls Prizio. “I also really liked the ability to print Vertical IQ reports and be able to hand those to our customers with our bank logo on it so it looks like it’s a document prepared by us. That was a big selling point for me,” she continues.

Once Cornerstone selected Vertical IQ for their Industry Intelligence needs, the rollout process was seamless. Prizio notes: “It was probably one of the easiest implementations and launches I’ve ever gone through, so that was huge. The Vertical IQ platform is very user-friendly; you just click and go.”

quote marks

It was probably one of the easiest implementations and launches I've ever gone through, so that was huge.

Chelsea Prizio
Credit Manager,
Cornerstone Bank

quote marks

line graphic Industry Intelligence That Builds On Success

The credit team at Cornerstone Bank is already reaping the rewards of having trustworthy Industry Intelligence at their fingertips. “Vertical IQ saves us a ton of time by providing very succinct, reliable industry information to include in our credit presentations,” Prizio says.

She continues: “The time savings per analyst on each deal that they’re researching has been at least cut in half, if not more, because we’re not spending hours on each relationship searching for information that we feel in our gut to be true. We can go right to Vertical IQ, pull the industry info, and roll with it. From the analyst perspective, that has helped tremendously to make their role more efficient and streamlined.”

But the benefits don’t stop there, Prizio notes. “Vertical IQ also has given our analysts and lenders a tool to quickly educate them on what they should be asking — questions related to a company’s balance sheet and income statement based on the industry that they’re in. So, it’s really narrowing down the information that people need to know.”

quote marks

Vertical IQ saves us a ton of time by providing very succinct, reliable industry information to include in our credit presentations.

Chelsea Prizio
Credit Manager,
Cornerstone Bank

quote marks

Peter Kovago, a highly experienced senior credit analyst at Cornerstone Bank, has seen first-hand the ways that Industry Intelligence from Vertical IQ can save time while boosting credibility and confidence.

“I use Vertical IQ almost every day,” Kovago explains. “It helps me verify what I think I know and gives me a consistent, dependable resource to reference. As a credit analyst, a big part of our job is identifying what the risks are of a certain deal and of a particular business in a specific industry. I have a lot of historical knowledge, but I still go into Vertical IQ to be sure my ideas are in line with the risks they note for a particular industry. It’s made my job a lot easier, and it’s kicking my write-ups and annual client reviews up a notch for sure.”

In addition, Kovago notes that Industry Intelligence from Vertical IQ can be a key differentiator in customer conversations. “Before you go into a meeting with a new prospect or even an existing customer, you go into Vertical IQ and you read through some of the insights. That business owner truly appreciates that you took the time to understand their business.”

He continues: “My experience is that business owners love what they do; they love their business; they love to talk about it. To be able to have an industry-focused conversation with them can help quite a bit on the prospecting front as well as with existing relationships. It shows that you care, and it builds trust, which is our mission.”

quote marks

I use Vertical IQ almost every day. It helps me verify what I think I know and gives me a consistent, dependable resource to reference. … It's made my job a lot easier, and it’s kicking my write-ups and annual client reviews up a notch for sure.

Peter Kovago
Senior Credit Analyst,
Cornerstone Bank

quote marks

Cornerstone Bank has realized an unexpected perk of using Vertical IQ as well: helping newer members of the credit team get up to speed quickly on key industries. “For our newer analysts and lenders, Vertical IQ gives them more to think about and more to analyze instead of just restating the numbers and financials the client is telling us,” Prizio observes.

Kovago agrees: “For a new lender or analyst, Vertical IQ is a great resource that gets you up to speed quickly on an industry. For us more seasoned bankers, it can reinforce what you think is correct. It has all the information that you need so you know the right questions to ask the lender or the customer, and it even has the right answers in there. It can make anybody an industry expert.”

line graphic Conclusion

The credit team at Cornerstone Bank looks forward to discovering new ways that Industry Intelligence can make their jobs simpler while improving the service they provide to their clients. One example is identifying more potential cross-sell opportunities.

“Vertical IQ shows what bank products a certain industry typically uses, what their capital needs might be, what machinery and equipment they use and even how much it costs,” Kovago observes. “If our lenders start tapping into that information, I’m confident that some borrowing opportunities they’re not always seeing today will become clearer, opening the door for deepening relationships and profitable cross-sells.”

With ready-access to reliable Industry Intelligence, streamlining the credit team’s research processes to improve efficiency, Cornerstone Bank is building an even stronger foundation of trust with their clients and prospects.

Our successes are always co-authored with our customers.
To learn more about how Industry Intelligence from Vertical IQ can give your bank an edge, contact us at 919.787.4600 or info@verticaliq.com.

Cornerstone Bank is based in Worcester, Massachusetts, they currently operate 10 branch offices. Cornerstone Bank is a local, community bank that delivers a personal touch that only a local bank can offer. They are dedicated to providing high quality, personal customer service and convenience for individuals, businesses and community organizations in Central Massachusetts. Working to connect you with opportunities through a broad range of deposit and loan products and services to meet your financial goals.

ADP Case Study

Case Study

How ADP Implemented a Successful Multi-Pronged Approach to Industry Intelligence

line graphic Introduction

ADP is perhaps best known for their payroll services, but in recent years, their offerings have expanded well beyond tabulating and printing paychecks. They now provide dedicated channels and expertly designed business process outsourcing tools for accounting, HR, talent, benefits, and compliance. This includes their award-winning cloud-based solution, Accountant ConnectSM, a free portal utilized by over 80,000 accountants that is revolutionizing the way they work with their clients.

In addition to providing easy online access to small to mid-sized business clients’ payroll ledgers, Accountant Connect also offers users simplified client onboarding, report generation, and document transmission, among other helpful features.

When ADP decided to integrate Industry Profiles from Vertical IQ into Accountant Connect, they discovered the many ways that Industry Intelligence could benefit not only CPAs and their clients, but also ADP’s own team.

line graphic The Challenge

Staying Attuned to Business Owners

Today’s small and mid-sized business (SMB) owners are clamoring for personalized service tailored to meet their unique needs. They are looking for accountants, payroll firms, benefits coordinators, and other outsourced service providers that understand the nuances of their industry and can help them identify and tackle issues.

The ADP Research Institute conducted a survey of SMB owners revealing that 62 percent felt that their accountant was in a position to offer them both HR and compliance advice. It’s that desire for additional advisory resources that inspired ADP to consider ways to incorporate industry-specific insights into their Accountant Connect platform.

“What’s happening within industries is extremely critical to accounting professionals as their clients are craving additional intel and guidance pertaining to verticals,” noted Heather Sperduto, Vice President of Channel Sales for Small Business Services at ADP.

“Our thought process with the Accountant Connect technology is that, at their fingertips, accounting professionals should be able to go in and interact with the data for our mutual clients – the ones that also utilize ADP,” Sperduto explained, “but we also wanted to enable accountants to tap into other best-in-class resources to help fuel their own client advisory services and educate themselves about topics like industry-specific compliance changes or getting a handle on issues occurring within a particular market or industry.”

Speaking to accounting firms' needs

It’s important to remember that many CPAs are themselves business owners. They too are eager to work with service providers who understand the unique aspects of their business, and they are looking for partners who can add value to the relationship.

With this in mind, the ADP team was exploring how they could take their prospecting and relationship development to the next level and differentiate from their competitors by meeting this expectation.

Sperduto continued: “We strive to arm our small business sales leaders and associates with the training and tools they need to succeed. In addition to strategy, program development, and execution, we also help our salespeople create a process and understand the accountant channel, our solutions, and how we help accountants. It’s vital that they fully understand the specific challenges and opportunities faced by accounting firms and how our solutions can solve them.”

Educating your sales force is just the first step in the process, of course. You also need to identify differentiators that can help you get a foot in the prospect’s door, noted Jennifer Gesing, Vice President of Sales Operations for the Accountant Channel at ADP.

“We are always looking for ways our team can provide valuable resources to accounting firms,” observed Gesing. “For these prospects, our sales associates need ways to gain access, especially with cold firms, or even warm firms that may not be as willing to meet with us on a regular basis.”

Once ADP has landed a client, the work is not over. They must continue to nurture that relationship with memorable touchpoints that add value from the client’s perspective. And we know that business owners crave partners that provide advice that can benefit their firm and boost their success.

“For accounting firms that we do have an existing partnership with,” Gesing said, “we try to create reasons why a firm should sit down and talk to us more frequently. We want to stay at the forefront of their mind so when they’re meeting with their own clients, they think of ADP to refer first over any of our competitors.”

How could ADP provide…

…a helpful tool for the accountants utilizing Accountant Connect?

…a resource to educate their sales force on the landscape of the accounting industry?

…a valuable asset to nurture existing relationships and differentiate from the competition?

There was a single answer: Industry Intelligence from Vertical IQ.

line graphic The Solution

“We were looking for a complementary tool that we could use as we approach accounting firms and to educate and empower our own associates as well,” recollected Sperduto. “We know that you need an area of expertise as you prospect within specific industries, and we wanted a consolidated place where we – and our accountant clients – could tap into some of those industry insights, benchmarks, and statistics in a very user-friendly, easy-to-digest fashion. Vertical IQ checked all of those boxes.”
But before making a commitment, ADP wanted to be certain they were selecting the best option for both their needs and their clients’ needs.

“We did a lot of due diligence on our side before we made the decision to launch the Vertical IQ partnership program,” Sperduto noted. “Internally, we had some of our team members review several of the Industry Profiles to gain insight about how they would use them within their daily activities – whether it’s as a prospecting tool or to reinforce some of the conversations they’re having with our centers of influence [COI].”

ADP also wanted to ensure Vertical IQ’s Industry Intelligence would prove beneficial for their accountant clients. Sperduto continued: “Externally, we tested the reports with some of our partners in the accountant community. We asked them to review how the information was presented, what aspects of the reports they felt would be most useful, and how they would actually use them in their practice and interfacing with their own clients.”

The feedback, both internal and external, was overwhelmingly positive, and beginning in August 2022, ADP added 23 carefully curated Vertical IQ Industry Profiles to the Accountant Connect platform – 20 industries that are consistent plus three additional ones that are selected quarterly based on seasonality. Select members of the ADP team also gained access to the full Vertical IQ platform for training curriculum and collateral development.

line graphic Winning Results

Since launching their Vertical IQ integration, ADP has been reaping the rewards of incorporating Industry Intelligence into their own training, collateral, and relationship management processes. Their accountant clients are benefiting as well, not only with their new access to insightful industry information via Accountant Connect but also through the value-added, tailored touch points they receive from their ADP account manager.

“Vertical IQ’s Industry Intelligence is our go-to as we build training curriculum because we want our associates to be able to go out to the market with prescribed tools and resources that they can leverage in their conversations to help gain access and then effectively run meetings,” explained Sperduto.

“When we’re determining how to roll out a specific topic internally to our associates, Vertical IQ is our first stop as well because we want to have a finger on the pulse of what’s going on in the market,” she continued. “Their benchmarks, trends, and statistics help validate and confirm what’s happening within an industry, so that becomes a crucial starting place.”

ADP also is using content from Vertical IQ for value-added prospect and client touchpoints. “We’re always looking for a ‘snackable’ one- or two-pager to take into a firm,” Gesing observed. “Our associates like the fact that they can print a relevant chapter of the Industry Profile or pull an industry-focused news article from Vertical IQ that applies to a client or prospect’s industry, and they can leverage that to gain access. They send that kind of thought leadership or news about what’s happening in that particular industry to their COI or their CPA partner, and they’re then able to have an intelligent conversation based on that one article.”

Gesing continued: “Our CPA firms tell us they appreciate the continuing education coming from us – whether it be on a product, a solution, something happening in the marketplace, a challenge – any of our thought leadership, and Vertical IQ definitely brings us this type of valuable industry expertise.”

“We hear a lot from accounting firms, and even brokers in the small business marketplace, who really like these insights,” said Gesing. “Their eyes lit up when I showed them the Industry Profile and what it looked like – especially the Call Prep Questions. They really liked this type of Industry Intelligence for their newer associates since they don’t have the experience or industry expertise that a more tenured accountant or broker would have.”

“The real value of utilizing Vertical IQ is that it allows us at ADP to be an advisor to our CPA firms that are then advising their own clients,” Gesing continued. “We’re able to bring them an Industry Intelligence solution that makes it super-easy for them to do their job and for them to brush up on or go a little bit deeper into an industry that they may not be as familiar with. It’s trusted research that’s quick, easy, and convenient for them to have at their fingertips. Knowing that this outstanding resource is coming from us at ADP – it just elevates the partnership, and it’s an additional value-add that we offer to them.”

But the advantages don’t end there, Gesing observed. “Those CPAs also will extend this Industry Intelligence to their own clients, so it’s almost like a free deliverable that they’re able to provide to their clients as well, which is a huge value-add. Vertical IQ is a differentiator, allowing us to separate ourselves from our competition – to be that advisor who advises the advisor, which is the accountant. So, it helps them be the hero.”

Members of ADP’s leadership are even finding value in their access to Vertical IQ’s Industry Intelligence. “Personally, I use it in my daily activities,” Sperduto noted. “If I’m going out into the market, and I uncover that the accounting firm that I’m going to meet with specializes in construction or real estate, I find that I’m using the corresponding Industry Profile as I prepare for those meetings and interactions throughout the day.”

quote marks

Vertical IQ is a differentiator, allowing us to separate ourselves from our competition – to be that advisor who advises the advisor, which is the accountant. So, it helps them be the hero.

Jennifer Gesing
Vice President of Sales Operations, Accountant Channel

quote marks

line graphic The Vertical IQ Difference

With Vertical IQ, ADP has found an ideal solution to their Industry Intelligence needs.

“When the Vertical IQ team demoed their product, it absolutely wowed me,” recalled Gesing. “Their platform is more modern, more user-friendly, and there are a lot more features that they offer. Plus, it is updated so frequently, so you know the information is current.”

Sperduto concurred: “We had used other industry insight resources in the past, which were fine for accountants, but in some cases, the volume of information was really a bit overwhelming to our sales associates. For us, Vertical IQ was a nice balance of a tool that we could use in both capacities: for accountants and for our own sales team. It gave us the best of both worlds.”

However, when selecting a partner, there is more to consider than just the product or service they offer, and that is yet another area in which Vertical IQ was able to shine during the ADP vetting process and rollout.

“I like to say that the customer service experience is best when you don’t need it,” quipped Sperduto. “I’ve used the word ‘user-friendly’ before, but that term really has permeated all aspects of our experience with Vertical IQ – from our exploration of the product, through our transition, to the onboarding, and for the ultimate rollout and the training. The Vertical IQ team simplified it in a way that it became very natural for us to be able to embark on utilizing the tool. They are very proactive in terms of sharing with us the usage and the analytics too, so we can see what Industry Profiles are being used.”

Gesing agreed, adding, “I would say you’re one of the most user-friendly partners that we work with. For me, the key difference with Vertical IQ is the usability and the depth of the Industry Profiles. You also provide great training collateral that makes it easy for us to then demo and explain the tool to our boots-on-the-ground sales associates. You make it easy for us, and you’re an easy company to work with, so it’s easier to deploy it to the field.”

quote marks

I like to say that the customer service experience is best when you don't need it. I’ve used the word ‘user-friendly’ before, but that term really permeated all aspects of our experience with Vertical IQ, from our exploration of the product, through our transition, to the onboarding, and for the ultimate rollout and the training. They simplified it in a way that it became very natural for us to be able to embark on utilizing the tool.

Heather Sperduto
Vice President of Channel Sales, Small Business Services

quote marks

line graphic In Conclusion...

For accountants as a benefit of utilizing Accountant Connect, for sales associates learning about opportunities within the market, for marketing developing industry-focused collateral, and for tailored touchpoints with clients and prospects – ADP has discovered the many uses of Industry Intelligence from Vertical IQ.

“For us, it’s a huge differentiator from our competition,” Gesing noted. “Our competition doesn’t offer anything like Vertical IQ – and especially the depth of the Industry Profiles – so it’s a good way to open the door. There are quite a few CPA centrics [account managers] across the country who get requests from the firms in their portfolio on a regular basis requesting a report on a specific industry. So it’s a touch, and it’s a conversation that we can have with that firm, and then we’re able to perhaps turn it into scheduling an appointment or pulling a referral, which is our ultimate goal.”

“Vertical IQ is impactful across the board for every aspect of our business,” Sperduto continued. “Whether we’re talking to that COI, whether we’re talking to a business owner, or whether we are developing our own skillset to be able to go out there into the market, it makes a game-changing difference.”

quote marks

When your team demoed Vertical IQ, it just wowed me. Your platform is more modern, more user-friendly, and there are a lot more features that you offer. Plus, it is updated so frequently, so you know the information is current.

Jennifer Gesing
Vice President of Sales Operations, Accountant Channel

quote marks

Our successes are always co-authored with our clients. To learn more about how Industry Intelligence from Vertical IQ can give your business process outsourcing or accounting firm an edge, contact us at 919.787.4600 or info@verticaliq.com. To learn more about ADP go to: adp.com/accountant.

LMM Business Scenario

Business Scenario

Local Market Monitor (a Vertical IQ product) Builds a Solid Foundation for Regional Bank’s Residential Lending Guidelines, Policies, and Products

It’s difficult to assess if home prices are too high or too low in a given market. Given that banks extend credit with the home as collateral, it’s difficult to know how much credit is too much – especially in a given market when there are swings in values.

One of the unforeseen impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic was a sudden surge in home prices beginning in the spring of 2020. It was a perfect storm of sorts with supply not meeting demand for existing home sales, while building material supply chain issues and labor challenges boosted the cost of new home construction. Yet even as the world returned to some degree of normalcy in 2022, high real estate prices lingered.

Many consumer and residential lending professionals knew the real estate situation was alarming Including William from a Regional bank with more than $50 billion in assets. “Going into 2022, I was very concerned about the growth of home prices over the previous two years,” he shared.

“As a credit risk management leader, I’m responsible for managing credit risk for the bank’s residential mortgage and home equity lending programs. I develop the organization’s policies and guidelines relating to lending transactions and decisions.”

“When it comes to a residential mortgage or home equity transaction,” William explains, “the bank’s risk is mitigated in two ways. The first is by the individual credit risk of the borrower — that’s generally things like FICO score or income. The second is, should the borrower default, you have your collateral — the property — which reduces loan losses.”

This is where calculating accurate home values and pricing forecasts becomes mission critical for a bank. “Learning from the industry’s experiences during 2008’s recession, I try to build lending advice that can survive most scenarios, but COVID created a very different market situation,” notes William. “The home prices jumped significantly during the pandemic, and I knew they had to come back down, which would impact the value of our borrowers’ homes and thus our collateral.”

So, when the stakes are this high, how do you formulate sound financial guidance on a real estate market that is in uncharted waters? Simple: You consult the data.

line graphic The Solution

Since 2011, William and his bank have been using Local Market Monitor to analyze home prices to ensure they are managing risk and providing sound lending decisions. He incorporates Local Market Monitor’s data into his monthly presentation to the bank’s chief credit officer.

He explains: “My presentation and its proposed lending guidance applies to any residential or consumer lending product we offer — predominantly residential mortgages and home equity. It also includes an economic home price section, which is intended to support what’s going on in both residential lending and home equity lending.”

To simplify this monthly effort, William utilizes Local Market Monitor’s award-winning Equilibrium Home Prices, as well as their home price three-year forecasts and Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA)- and state-level statistics. “The data provides powerful insight required to tell the story,” he notes.

quote marks

The equilibrium home price forecast provided by Local Market Monitor provides an indication if a market is overvalued or not. I include it in a monthly credit presentation that our team uses to make lending decisions. It helps the team understand where home prices are going.

Consumer and Residential Lending

quote marks

But the narrative this real estate pricing data tells is important for more than just risk management purposes. “It’s really important for the team to understand what the housing cost environment looks like and then understand my perspective about the credit environment. I consider it to be the why and nobody wants to have surprises, especially when considering a credit guideline change.”

William continues: “The worst thing is when you have a disconnect with the sales team and they’re asking, ‘Why are you pulling back? What’s causing the change in risk?’ I’m able to say, ‘Here’s the data. You can’t argue with data.’ They need to see the numbers so they understand the reasons behind the adjustments.”

Local Market Monitor was also extremely helpful with a recent audit for the bank as they were lending in areas outside of their core market. “We needed reliable, independent, timely information that could be used to monitor those markets where we were less familiar,” said William. “Local Market Monitor provided the insights we needed for those specific client engagements.”

quote marks

I appreciate how Local Market Monitor analyzes real estate prices: short-term home prices depend upon supply and demand, and longer-term prices are based predominantly on income trends. That alone has been very helpful in understanding home price trends.

Consumer and Residential Lending

quote marks

line graphic A Time-Saving Tool, A Risk-Mitigating Resource

Showcasing the local economic conditions that drive success at the state, MSA, and even the county level — key drivers such as housing prices, construction, employment, and wages — Local Market Monitor offers valuable data for credit risk analysis and underwriting, as well as banks’ sales and marketing teams. You’ll also find timely assessments and forecasts for more than 300 MSAs, 2,000 counties, and 20,000 ZIP codes across the U.S.

Bankers also will be better equipped to analyze real estate values using Local Market Monitor’s award-winning Equilibrium Home Prices. It’s a time-saving, risk-mitigating resource to add to your bank’s toolbox.

quote marks

We needed reliable, independent, timely information that could be used to monitor those markets where we were less familiar. Local Market Monitor provided the insights we needed for those specific client engagements.

Consumer and Residential Lending

quote marks

Our successes are always co-authored with our clients. To learn more about how Local Market Monitor, a Vertical IQ product, can give your team an edge, contact us at 919.787.4600 or info@verticaliq.com.

First Bank Virginia Case Study

Case Study

First Bank Virginia Taps into the Power of Industry Intelligence for Call Preparation, Sales, and Credit Analysis

line graphic Introduction

First Bank Virginia takes great pride in the individualized experience they provide to each customer, as evidenced by their tagline: There’s Power in One. They also actively seek out innovative ways to address customers’ unique financial services needs. As it turns out, incorporating Industry Intelligence from Vertical IQ into their credit processes helped them achieve both of these goals.

line graphic Challenge

A $1.4 billion community bank headquartered in Strasburg, Virginia, First Bank has been serving individuals and businesses since 1907. Their 209 employees and 20 bank branches (plus numerous ATMs) located in the Shenandoah and Roanoke Valleys, central regions of Virginia, and city of Richmond serve a broad array of companies. But this diverse portfolio often made it difficult for bankers to stay up to speed on the ins and outs of each business customer’s industry.

“Our challenge was to develop a more focused calling plan,” explained Jim Youngblood, EVP/Senior Loan Officer at First Bank Virginia. “We didn’t want our calling officers to rely on that canned ‘How can we help you?’ question.”

“We wanted to have a more tailored conversation that actually added value for the business owner and highlighted our personalized customer service,” Youngblood continued. “Our credit analysts were using RMA for spread comparisons, but all of our other research was done via Google searches to try to figure out the industry of a new company we were trying to finance.”

In 2017, First Bank got access to the Vertical IQ platform as a time-saving way to learn more about a customer’s industry prior to a call. “The concise nature of the Industry Intelligence available to us via the desktop and mobile Vertical IQ platform is what really sold it for me,” recollected Youngblood. Yet usage wasn’t as high as they hoped among their bankers.

Then in 2020, the pandemic struck, exacerbating First Bank’s challenge of getting time on business customers’ and prospects’ calendars.

“When I think about the ideal call pre-pandemic, I envision calling officers going to the customer’s place of business, sitting down, and having a conversation about the challenges they face in their business. But more and more, that’s not the case,” Youngblood explained.

He continued: “COVID forced us to conduct our customer calls in other manners like phone calls or video calls. I believe a lasting effect of the pandemic is this shift in meeting format, which has made our customers more conscious of the time that they give up to do such calls.”

“Even now that we have returned to normal business practices, for our calling officers to reach out and ask someone if they can come out and visit them is almost viewed as an intrusion,” noted Youngblood. “Since business owners are now more hesitant to say, ‘Yes, I’m going to give you that time,’ you really must find a way to take full advantage of that time and give them something valuable. This new reality solidified where we stood in 2017 that originally brought us to Vertical IQ.”

line graphic The Solution

From Youngblood’s first experiences using Vertical IQ back in 2017, he recognized the power of Industry Intelligence to save time on call preparation. “I knew that Vertical IQ would help us to come up to speed on the customer’s or prospect’s industry so we could have an intellectual conversation about what they do — customers like to talk about what they do,” he observed.

But since the pandemic era, Youngblood and his team of calling officers have increasingly come to appreciate the ability to save time and bring value to each interaction with a business owner by incorporating Industry Intelligence from Vertical IQ. As a result, Vertical IQ is now an integral part of First Bank’s call preparation, sales, and credit analysis processes.

line graphic Call Preparation

Preparing for a meeting with a customer or prospect once required a major time commitment, but no more, thanks to Vertical IQ.

“To do good prep for a call to a new customer, it used to take us an hour and a half,” explained Youngblood. “Vertical IQ cuts that call prep time at least in half, so it saves our calling officers easily 45 minutes of research time. You could do call prep in much less time, of course, but when talking about a new prospect in an unfamiliar industry, we would be so scattered without the concise information available on Vertical IQ.”

line graphic Sales

“What I really love about Vertical IQ is the industry-focused deliverables that calling officers can use to present as a value-add to the customer,” Youngblood said. “In particular, I love to share the Vertical IQ Quarterly Update for the customer’s industry or a recent industry news article. Sure, there are other ways to share the content with them, but it makes for a nice excuse to drop in, say hello, and hand them something that may be helpful to them and their business.”

He continued: “It reinforces the fact that we were curious enough about them and their industry to do that research. We can give them something during the call that lets them know we prepared for the meeting, we want to do business with them, and we want to learn more about them.”

line graphic Credit Analysis

The credit analyst team at First Bank also benefits from integrating Industry Intelligence from Vertical IQ into their tasks.

Youngblood explained: “Vertical IQ has so much more content than other industry research products, and it’s really helpful and beneficial to our analysts. We can see industry numbers, we can see ratios and benchmarks of how the average business in a certain industry performs and compare that to our customer. But there’s also all the content about how these industries operate — that’s good information for our lenders too, but our analysts are able to weave those industry insights into the story they tell in their write-up.”

line graphic Set Up For Success

There has been an unforeseen benefit that Youngblood and the First Bank team have realized as a result of their Vertical IQ use, as well.

“I had a new lender who knew a lot of the fundamentals of lending thanks to his time spent previously working in a branch. A lot of the basics are the same, but commercial lending requires being a lot more thorough than consumer lending,” observed Youngblood.

“I had not anticipated how Vertical IQ could help get new lenders up to speed on industries,” he continued. “When I came up, we didn’t have a tool like this; it was all about leaning on someone who had more experience than you, and then later it was Google. Vertical IQ is a streamlined compilation of a lot of content, particularly for a new lender. They can see what this industry is supposed to benchmark, how it makes money, and how it typically borrows money from banks. It’s a useful summary that is there whenever a new lender needs it.”

quote marks

Vertical IQ is easy to navigate, and it provides in-depth industry knowledge quickly. It’s a valuable resource that makes my job easier and helps me manage a larger group of bankers. Without it, lenders would be coming to me as the senior lender, asking if we want to do business with a particular industry. Now, if they take just a few minutes on Vertical IQ, they can see what the industry does and what bankers can do for that industry.

Jim Youngblood
SVP and
Senior Loan Officer
First Bank Virginia

quote marks

line graphic A Winning Resource

Carol Dodson, SVP and business development officer for commercial loans, who has been with First Bank since 2019, has experienced first-hand the power of using Vertical IQ. She was calling on a large non-profit that was looking to grow its footprint and open another location.

“I went to Vertical IQ, reviewed the information on this industry — particularly the Call Prep Questions and Financial Benchmarks — which gave us a more in-depth look when evaluating this opportunity,” Dodson recalled.

“Vertical IQ has a great deal of value, and it’s a fantastic resource with a lot of useful information,” she continued. “I find it extremely helpful as a lender working in support of my clients but also in my loan write-ups to share within the bank’s management and loan committee. It’s a timesaver because the information is all in one place on Vertical IQ as opposed to having to Google it and go through countless different sources.”

quote marks

Vertical IQ is an excellent resource of information that is valuable even for long-time bankers to gain information that will help you when calling on new customers as well as helping existing customers consider what might be around the corner in this ever-changing world we live in.

Carol Dodson
SVP & Business Development Officer for
Commercial Loans
First Bank Virginia

quote marks

line graphic One Powerful Resource

The credit team at First Bank has discovered just how powerful Industry Intelligence can be. Their lenders’ renewed commitment to incorporating Vertical IQ into their processes is helping them win new deals, deepen existing relationships, and even shorten the learning curve for newer bankers. It’s an innovative solution that helps them achieve their mission of offering an individualized experience to each customer.

First National Corporation (NASDAQ: FXNC) is the parent company and bank holding company of First Bank, a community bank that first opened for business in 1907 in Strasburg, Virginia. The Bank offers loan and deposit products and services through its website, fbvirginia.com, its mobile banking platform, a network of ATMs located throughout its market area, a loan production office, two customer service centers in retirement communities, and 20 bank branch office locations located throughout the Shenandoah Valley, the central regions of Virginia, the Roanoke Valley, and in the city of Richmond. In addition to providing traditional banking services, the Bank operates a wealth management division under the name First Bank Wealth Management. First Bank also owns First Bank Financial Services, Inc., which owns an interest in an entity that provides title insurance services.

Regional Bank Case Study

Case Study

Regional Bank Transforms Relationships with Vertical IQ

This Vertical IQ regional bank customer currently has over $14 billion in assets and more than 2,000 employees. It is known for having an influential culture focused on its clients and employees, and building value for stakeholders. But this wasn’t always the case.

“In 2012, we were trying to get our organization to focus on the client rather than just the services our bank offered,” explained the bank’s chief lending officer (CLO). “To extend our reach, we wanted to deepen our discovery process and focus on the prospect or client, rather than on what our bank or bankers provide.”

“It was important to us to find a solution that would help us grow our business; but we also were looking for a vendor that aligned directly with our core values and culture,” the CLO continued. “We chose Vertical IQ because we could see that their culture and values were as balanced and sustainable as ours.”

line graphic Success from the Start

The bank began using Vertical IQ to set the stage for engagement and quickly discovered the power of Industry Intelligence across the entire new client business acquisition cycle and customer relationship process. Since 2012 — the year they implemented Vertical IQ — the bank has increased its volume of business loans, but more importantly, it has transformed how its bankers engage with business owners, which has resulted in increased referrals, expanded brand recognition, and greater client retention.

“At the very beginning, when I’m initially looking at a new prospect, I’ll go straight to Vertical IQ, especially if it’s an unfamiliar industry,” said one small business banker and branch manager. “I can quickly get up to speed to have valuable introductory conversations that set the stage for further engagement.”

Another business banker agreed that they too rely on Vertical IQ Industry Intelligence for prospecting and building relationships. “As soon as I know the industry of my prospect, I immediately go into Vertical IQ, and the research I need is already there,” the business banker shared. “I can quickly see and understand their issues, industry trends, risks, and forecasts, how they operate, and the terminology they use, so I sound like an insider from the start.”

This was the case during a recent prospecting meeting with a funeral home. “I didn’t know anything about the industry, so I went straight to Vertical IQ and identified the Death Care Services Industry Profile,” the business banker said. “It helped me quickly understand their operations and discover new industry trends and terminology. When I brought up green burials, which eliminate toxic chemicals previously used to preserve bodies, they were thoroughly impressed, and it helped us win their business.”

The business banker continued: “My job is to educate and provide value rather than sell. With Vertical IQ, I don’t have to search all over the internet trying to find relevant information for prospects or customers.”

quote marks

In less than 15 minutes, I have more insight to share than if I had spent an hour on Google trying to discover how industries are structured, their trends, risks, financial data, and more. It's a one-stop-shop that saves me over an hour’s worth of work preparing for initial calls and meetings.

quote marks

line graphic Strengthening New Relationships

Once they’re in the door, bankers use Vertical IQ to keep in touch and strengthen new relationships. “I use quarterly industry updates, trends, and news articles to stay in front of all my clients and demonstrate to prospects that I’m always going to bring something valuable and specific about their industry to the table,” said one business banker. “It’s a great way to share critical insight and keep my email address right in front of prospects if they have a need. Vertical IQ helps me stay tenacious without being offensive. I’ve never heard anyone say they didn’t want more information on their industry.”

Another business development officer (BDO) expressed how Vertical IQ gives him the confidence to reach out to cold prospects and how that confidence has paid off.

“I recently used Vertical IQ with an apparel manufacturing client and an electrical contracting business,” the retail BDO recollected. “We won a large deposit relationship with the apparel manufacturer along with a line of credit — and we’re now working to refinance a real estate loan of close to $1.5 million. For the electrician, we used Vertical IQ to stay in touch and share valuable insight after our initial meetings. We started with a five-figure SBA line of credit and are now helping the company purchase a new building.”

quote marks

I can quickly find and gather knowledge regarding industries I wouldn’t have even approached in the past. I feel much more confident once I understand industry trends, insights, and the questions I need to ask. Vertical IQ gives me the tools to be a proactive relationship manager.

quote marks

line graphic Expanding Established Connections

The bank relies on Vertical IQ to strengthen and expand relationships with current clients as well. “I love using Vertical IQ’s regional and local economic profiles,” said one commercial relationship manager. “Right now, they’re helping me highlight local trends for clients in manufacturing, real estate, and a heating and cooling [HVAC] business. Vertical IQ uncovers trends and insider insights from any market anywhere in the country. Just because our clients are doing business in one area doesn’t mean they’re not selling products elsewhere or looking to expand,” she said.

During annual reviews, reps use the trends and financial benchmarks on Vertical IQ so clients can see how their financials are stacking up against the competition and their peers. “There is so much more to banking than deposits and loans, and we can dive into multiple business aspects using Vertical IQ,” noted the relationship manager.

line graphic Long-Term Success

With today’s rapid technological advancements and “rip-and-replace” attitudes, few businesses rely on one tool for years, yet this regional bank customer has used Vertical IQ for more than a decade.

“Vertical IQ is an amazing product, and they don’t treat us as a number or generic customer,” the bank CLO explained. “They are a true partner that is extremely responsive. I feel like they are a part of our bank.”

Vertical IQ Featured Image

Buyer's Journey

Vertical IQ Buyers Journey illustration

Use Industry Intelligence During the Awareness Stage to:

  • Educate yourself on current industry challenges and opportunities
  • Follow up on leads and deliver industry-specific info during cold prospecting
  • Inform marketing content and promotions
  • Identify new target markets for your solutions and services
awareness illustration
consideration illustration

Use Industry Intelligence During the Consideration Stage to:

  • Connect the value of your solutions to a prospect's specific business challenges and goals
  • Properly prepare for calls and meetings
  • Share relevant news articles and industry insight
  • Re-engage lost leads via emails, calls, and meetings
  • Demonstrate confidence and build trust

Use Industry Intelligence During the Decision Stage to:

  • Detail exactly why a buyer should choose you
  • Demonstrate deep industry expertise
  • Discuss specific business challenges, industry trends, and opportunities
  • Share highly relevant, industry-specific content and presentations
decision illustration
adoption illustration

Use Industry Intelligence During the Adoption Stage to:

  • Deliver industry-specific training and on-boarding
  • Provide clients with sharable content to enable organizational change
  • Help end users understand the business reasoning and benefits of new solutions
  • Foster adoption for better results and ROI

Use Industry Intelligence During the Loyalty Stage to:

  • Provide an exceptional customer experience
  • Maintain engagement using news and trends
  • Add value with industry-specific projections and impacts of current events like COVID-19
  • Share quarterly updates
  • Help clients understand financial statistics
loyalty illustration
Advocacy illustration

Use Industry Intelligence During the Advocacy Stage to:

  • Increase industry referrals and expand your business
  • Continue to add value with shareable content, industry-specific presentations, and detailed regional and economic data
  • Identify industry trade organizations

Lakeland Bank Case Study

Case Study

lakeland bank logo

See How Lakeland Bank Leans into the Future with Vertical IQ

Relationships with business owners are essential to Lakeland Bank whose staff adheres to the philosophy that they live and work in the communities they serve. They’ve built a strong reputation and brand loyalty with deep community involvement, superior customer service, and the physical presence of friendly staff.

Lakeland Bank has a high concentration of commercial real estate dependent loans and would like to diversify its portfolio to include more owner-occupied, Commercial and Industrial (C&I) customers.

Yet, the next generation of business customers rarely step into a brick-and- mortar bank — and the COVID-19 crisis has taken face-to-face meetings and handshakes off the table for now. Staying connected with business owners in this rapidly shifting landscape takes more planning, insight, and flexibility.

“Our bankers have to be chameleons to match the unique requirements of the customer they are serving at the time,” said Ken Bostwick, Senior Vice President & Director of Retail Sales for Lakeland Bank. “The question for Lakeland is always; How can we help our advisors connect with businesses of all sizes and types with various demands and desires?” The answer for Lakeland was Vertical IQ.

line graphic Solutions

Vertical IQ is now embedded at Lakeland Bank, helping advisors accelerate discovery, prospecting, and relationship building. Detailed insight into a wide array of industries helps generalists identify current client challenges, then match and solve them with Lakeland’s products and services. Industry Profiles with quarterly alerts keep bankers apprised of market changes that could impact clients — boosting confidence and serving as an outreach reminder and value-add that can be forwarded to customers.

“Vertical IQ fits Lakeland Bank’s strategies and philosophy for targeting prospects in an intelligent manner and building great relationships with our customers,” said Karen Garrera, Executive Vice President and Chief Retail Officer of Lakeland Bank.

Vertical IQ is available to Lakeland bankers on their desktops and via a mobile app accessible on any device, so the Industry Intelligence they need is always just a click away. “The industry insight available through Vertical IQ helps Lakeland representatives talk intelligently on business calls, promote the solutions we offer, develop relationships, and deepen trust with clients,” she said.

Lakeland Vice President and Business Banking Officer Jason Rivera agrees. “Everything you need to prepare for a call and deliver real value is easily accessible with Vertical IQ, so you can ask key questions or share trends specific to the customer, even if you’re not familiar with their industry,” he said. “By using Vertical IQ, I have much deeper insight about my prospects’ and existing customers’ concerns — so I can explain exactly how Lakeland can help them with working capital, financing, a line of credit, or something else,” emphasized Kenneth Partyka, Vice President and Area Manager for several of Lakeland’s NJ offices. “Having a stronger understanding of their concerns and what they may need from our bank demonstrates genuine interest and creates an excellent dialogue right from the start.”

quote marks

Why would you use anything else when Vertical IQ has everything you need to give you an edge against your competitors and with your clients?

Edward Stahl
Vice President and
Branch Manager
Lakeland Bank

quote marks

line graphic Seeing Success

Lakeland provides an expansive set of business services, including commercial loans and lines of credit, commercial real estate loans, asset-based lending, equipment financing, small business loans and lines, cash management services and more. “Having detailed insight across multiple industries, that drills down into geographic regions, helps our bankers stand out and align our services with our customers’ requirements,” added Bostwick.

Bostwick saw Vertical IQ in action while shadowing a younger banker during a sales call. “On the way to the meeting, she used Vertical IQ to review key business drivers, current industry news, along with key phrases and questions she could use to connect with the client. By the time we sat down with the customer, I could see how much more comfortable she was talking about the issues impacting their business and how we could help. I didn’t have to say a word — and this was a banker who had never presented to a car dealership in her life!”

Edward Stahl, Vice President and Branch Manager for Lakeland also experienced the impact of Vertical IQ first- hand. “With Vertical IQ, I have more informed, intelligent conversations with clients, who are often surprised by my industry knowledge and love getting follow-up emails or leave-behinds packed with highly-specific industry and even regional intelligence they can use to address key challenges and grow their business,” he said. “I recently called on an art dealer, chiropractor, cosmetic dentist, and auto repair shop – prepared with know-how on their business and borrowing patterns and ready to ask smart questions to a very diverse set of customers and prospects.”

quote marks

Having detailed insight across multiple industries, that drills down into geographic helps our bankers stand out and align our services with our customers requirements.

Ken Bostwick
SVP & Director of
Retail Sales
Lakeland Bank

quote marks

line graphic Future Forward

“Today’s climate requires more targeting and planning by bankers — with increasingly shorter timelines and now less face-to-face meetings,” said Garrera. “With Vertical IQ, our bankers always have the information they need to relate to clients with confidence. It’s a great tool for them.” Vertical IQ is also a central component of the bank’s future- forward digital transformation. “When our bankers are preparing for a call or meeting, they turn to the Vertical IQ platform,” said Garrera. “It’s an incredible time saver, as our bankers and representatives don’t have to go searching for the info they need to connect with clients and win new business.”

Edward Stahl added, “Why would you use anything else when Vertical IQ has everything you need to give you an edge against competitors and with clients?”
Vertical IQ has been instrumental in ensuring adoption and success for daily users. Their Vertical IQ Customer Success Manager works directly with the bank’s team to create and adjust a roadmap to optimize the results from the platform. “The whole Vertical IQ team is fantastic and responsive,” said Bostwick. “They’ve provided group and one-on-one trainings, and even recognize and celebrate top performers to drive engagement.”

Bostwick summed up this powerful relationship by saying, “Vertical IQ listens and understands our bank. They provide best practices and critical insights to fit our specific needs. It’s more than a vendor relationship. It’s a true partnership to develop business and make us more successful.”

lakeland bank logo

A wholly-owned subsidiary of Lakeland Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:LBAI), Lakeland Bank manages an extensive branch network and commercial lending centers throughout New Jersey and Highland Mills, N.Y., Recognized as one of New Jersey’s #1 Best-In-State Banks by Forbes and Statista, rated a 5-Star Bank by Bauer Financial, and named one of New Jersey’s 50 Fastest Growing Companies by NJBIZ, the Bank continues to build on its infrastructure of financial strength, profitability, efficiency, and quality service as it moves into the future. Learn more at www.lakelandbank.com.

Invested In Your Success


We’ll make it happen.

support illustration


We’re not just here whenever you need us -- we’re fun to work with and solve issues fast. Have a question or concern? We’ve got you.

Learn More
file illustration


We cover 97% of the U.S. economy. But if there is an industry or niche you don’t see or a special report you need, let us know. You’ll have it soon.

Learn More
learn illustration


Our experts want to share their know-how. We work with sales teams and individuals across the world to ensure Industry Intelligence works for them.

Learn More

Even the smartest people need a little help sometimes.

Working together, we can overcome any sales challenge. Our dedicated customer support team offers:

  • Individual coaching and team training options to boost results
  • Best practices to build valuable relationships and have smarter conversations
  • Tips to improve prospecting, call prep, follow-ups, and touch points
  • Tactical insight and tools to set you and your team apart from the competition
Learn More
female looking at paperwork
male and female looking at laptop

Sometimes, winning a customer requires a custom solution.

Our Industry Intelligence spans over 97 percent of the U.S. economy, but now and then, there’s a niche or region you need to know more about. If there’s something you need, let us know! We’re ready to provide:

  • Comprehensive research into highly niche industries
  • Custom communications and reports
  • Detailed analysis of complex financial and market data
Learn More

We’re here to give you a boost.

We’ve been in sales a long time, and when it comes to Industry Intelligence, we wrote the book. Let us help you use all of the tools you now have at your fingertips.

  • Tailor your conversation to show your client that you have taken the time to learn about their industry.
  • Get to the heart of the matter by examining industry-specific challenges and trends the client may be facing.
  • Become a consultative partner by offering solutions customized to their unique needs.
Learn More
laptop setup on desk

Actionable Convenient Focused


Catapult over competitors
with clear, concise Industry Intelligence.

grow illustration


Win, grow, and retain more business right now with practical tools and industry insights you can act on immediately.

Learn More
files illustration


Quickly incorporate Industry Intelligence into your processes with an easy-to-use interface, API capabilities, and a sleek mobile app.

Learn More
focused illustration


Start the right conversations, ask the right questions, and land the right types of business for you.

Learn More

Take Action

Demonstrate and deliver real value from day one with actionable Industry Intelligence and ready-to-work tools.

  • Propel prospects past “I’m interested” to “I’m sold” with our Saleskit.
  • Steer conversations with the 30-40 questions you should be asking (and why).
  • Easily sort and target specific industries.
  • Dive deeper with detailed local and regional data and financial comparisons.
  • Make your mark with in-depth, shareable thought leadership content, including quarterly email alerts, industry-specific business news, co-branded prospecting templates, and more.
Learn More
team meeting with laptops
male and female looking at tablet

Arm Yourself

Leverage Industry Intelligence’s power and convenience across the buyer’s journey and sales cycle without interrupting established processes or impacting IT.

  • Ramp up fast with a simple, logical, uber-organized SaaS-based platform.
  • Access the insight you need any time, from anywhere, with our sleek Mobile App.
  • Integrate Industry Intelligence seamlessly with our intuitive open architecture and APIs.
  • See and share customer-focused Industry Profiles and quarterly updates with the click of a button.
Learn More

Take Aim

Forget the ‘spray and pray’ approach to prospecting. Focused Industry Intelligence targets the issues that matter most, so you and your team can hit a bullseye with clients every time.

  • Get the right amount of info and insight to be ready for every call and meeting -- without ever being overwhelmed.
  • Hone in on the issues that matter most to small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
  • Pinpoint new prospects and vertical opportunities with Industry-specific solutions.
  • Hit your targets easily with Industry Intelligence developed specifically for sales professionals by seasoned sales pros.
Learn More
male and female discussing paperwork in front of laptop

Zero in on the business you want to win and seal the deal.

Learn How

Industry Intelligence

specific illustration


Move beyond introductions and industry basics with super-specific info that shows you’re not just aware of their business -- but here to help.

time illustration


Stay ahead of the pace of change and address current events impacting business today with timely, highly relevant data and insights.

who illustration


Go way beyond who they are to what success looks like to prospects, what’s keeping them up at night, and how you can add value and build trust.


Industry Intelligence picks up where traditional sales intel leaves off -- going well-beyond ‘who’ with the super-relevant info and insights to connect with clients and consistently deliver more value.

Discover WHAT is impacting prospects and clients today, in a succinct and easily consumable (and shareable) format.

Articulate WHY prospects should use your solutions and services to secure a more profitable business future.

Know exactly WHERE businesses are positioned in the regional and local economy, to deliver more relevant insight and targeted solutions.

We show you HOW to use Industry Intelligence to win and keep more business with call prep tools, targeted sales questions, best practices and superior support.

Take action WHEN current events are impacting your current and prospective customers along with directions for moving their business forward.

female sat on a sofa thinking
cred illustration


Start every call with the confidence that you have everything you need to win, keep, and grow their business.

competence illustration


Demonstrate your knowledge, skill, and capacity to understand and address all the intricacies of their business today and into the future.

confidence illustration


Exhibit absolute credibility during every meeting and touchpoint to develop trust and establish long-lasting (and more lucrative) relationships.


Industry Intelligence is the missing piece.

Industry Intelligence lets you understand and share industry- and business-specific information with context, care, and a plan of action so you can step out of the traditional sales role and start acting as a trusted strategic advisor from the start.

Learn How



Step right into the role of trusted ally and
tilt the sales advantage to your favor.

Armed with Vertical IQ, you’re ready for every engagement faster and easier than ever before. Our actionable, convenient, and focused Industry Intelligence gives you the edge — every time.

industry illistrations


Capitalize on the power of Industry Intelligence to conduct more productive sales conversations and make more connections. With Industry Intelligence, you get direct access to WHAT is impacting prospects today, and HOW you can help -- not just WHO they are.

Learn More
focused illustration


Go beyond the basics of traditional sales tools with actionable, convenient, and focused Industry Intelligence that helps you quickly grasp the complexities of your prospects’ and customers’ businesses and industries, so you can solve their most pressing problems.

Learn More
teach illustration


We’re not just collecting and delivering data. We have a passion for training and coaching, providing custom services, and maintaining an industry-leading customer experience. Plus, we’re super-nice, easy to work with, and really want to help you win.

Learn More
customer illustration


Organizations of all sizes rely on Vertical IQ to win, grow, and retain more business. Find out what they’re saying about us and how they’re using Vertical IQ to skip over sales obstacles and close more deals.

Learn More

Arm yourself for every engagement.
Experience the Vertical IQ difference and start using Industry Intelligence as your secret weapon.

Learn How

Business Development Officer Case Study

Success Story - Business Development Officer Video Case

Video Case Study

Join Our Conversation with Walt Parker - Business Development Officer

line graphic Trust is Everything

In Part 1 of our conversation with Walt Parker, a business development officer in Raleigh, North Carolina, we unpack what the statement of “Trust is Everything” means for Business Bankers and other Small Business Advisors. If a customer can’t trust you to deliver, they can’t operate their business effectively.

In this interview, Walt describes how Vertical IQ gives him the knowledge and trust needed to provide the best experience for his client relationships

line graphic Adding Value

In Part 2 of our conversation, we dive into the importance of adding value to your business relationships. Having industry intelligence readily available allows you to ask better questions so your clients know you’ve done your research and understand their specific needs.

Walt explains how he uses Vertical IQ throughout each stage of a business relationship. Asking the right questions and offering specific solutions adds value and trust with customers.

line graphic Relationships & Competition

In Part 3 of our conversation, Walt discusses the changes he’s seen in the banking industry over the past 24 years, and what he believes it means to maintain great relationships. We also narrow in on one of the biggest challenges in the banking world: competition.

When it comes to understanding clients, Walt relies on Vertical IQ to gain their trust, become a partner in their business, and maintain a strong relationship.

Customer Contact Page


Want to Register? Looking for Training? Need a Little Help?

Our Customer Success team is ready to lend a helping hand with any of the following:

  • Wanting to register, we will provide your company’s unique registration link.
  • Looking for Vertical IQ training, we can help you sign up for an upcoming session.
  • Can't find an industry, we will find what you need.
  • Any other questions or concerns about Vertical IQ's product.

Please contact our Customer Success Team using the following:

919 787 4600

quote marks



Success Stories

Liberty Bank Case Study

Take a look at how Liberty Bank used Local Market Monitor to successfully navigate a complex Residential Lending Environment.

Learn More

Cornerstone Bank Case Study

Read on to learn how Cornerstone Bank's credit team built a foundation of trust using Vertical IQ's Industry Intelligence.

Learn More

ADP Accountant Connect

Read on to learn how ADP's team leverages Industry Intelligence to empower their associates and provide valuable tools and resources to their clients.

Learn More

Local Market Monitor Business Case Scenario

See how Local Market Monitor, a Vertical IQ product, provides award-winning economic analysis and forecasting tools.

Learn More

Regional Bank Transforms Relationships with Vertical IQ

Read how Regional Bank uses the power of Vertical IQ's Industry Intelligence to deepen the discovery process and forge enduring relationships with clients and prospects.

Learn More

First Bank Virginia Taps into the Power of Industry Intelligence for Call Preparation, Sales, and Credit Analysis

Discover how First Bank Virginia leverages Industry Intelligence to bolster their sales enablement and credit underwriting.

Learn More
lakeland bank logo

Lakeland Bank Case Study

Learn how Lakeland Bank is leveraging Vertical IQ's Industry Intelligence to lean into the future and gain an edge against competitors.

Learn More
hands shaking making agreement for business development

Business Development Officer Case Study Video

See how Business Development uses Vertical IQ to gain the knowledge and trust needed to provide the best experience for client relationships.

Learn More
quote marks

Companies throughout North America rely on Vertical IQ to win, grow and retain more business.