Referral Management Options for Banks in Salesforce
In the banking industry referrals are a way of tracking new business and up-sells between business groups that might be located in different branches or departments. As banks handle more and more products, being able to capture and respond to referrals is a way to maximize customer loyalty and revenue. Making them easy to enter, follow, and report on are the keys to success.
Typical referrals systems can be as simple as an email to as antiquated as a faxed paper form. For example they could track that a commercial loan customer is looking to expand their relationship into advisory services, so would be referred to that group. Let's take a look at a few ways to track referrals using the power of Salesforce.
Leading by Example
The overlap between a lead and a referral is that both represent the start of a new product sale, both could end up being an opportunity and both should be tracked and followed up on. Using leads as a way to track referrals has the advantages of things like web to lead for users who don't have Salesforce licenses, conversion reporting and easy Opportunity building. The downside to using leads is they are not available to lower licenses such as Force.com, may be a duplication of existing customers and have some limited flexibility in required fields such as Name, Company and Status. They also don't easily tie to other objects through lookups upon conversion.
Using an Opportunity as a referral is one step removed from the lead. It already is attached to an Account and can include the customers in Contact Roles. It has great reporting and rich features but is a rather hefty object with lots of required fields. An example of that is sometimes a referral isn't about an Account but only tied to the Contact, having the Account be a mandatory field is a drawback. Another consideration is the Opportunities might be already used for other business process (Commercial Loans, Mortgages, Advisory Services) and like Leads cannot be seen by lower licenses such as Force.com.
Custom Objects Ahoy
The third way to attack referrals is the use of a custom object. It can be tied to either an Account, Contact or both with all the custom fields required and doesn't have the limitations of a Lead or Opportunity such as the required fields. It also can be seen by lower licenses so in a mixed licensed environment nobody is left out of the process. The downside to a custom object is you lose the built in conversion of a lead and some of the reporting built into Opportunities. It also can be confusing to differentiate all of the different ways of capturing new business from Lead, Referral and Opportunities. The last positive of a custom object is that it can be used as a pre-Opportunity step to track one and done referrals such as online banking, or electronic statements. These types of referrals don't need the power of Opportunities and don't fit within Leads.
So while there is not right or wrong in tracking banking referrals in Salesforce, there definitely are a few options and depending on your business use case and licenses, one of the above might work for you. If you have any questions or comments on this blog please free to post them below, on our Facebook page, in the Salesforce Success community or @JasonMAtwood.