In line with the International Women’s Day celebrations, we introduce you to a female leader in global distribution data, CRM and sales enablement. Sarah Chance is a Customer Relationship Manager specialising in Salesforce and Pardot.
Since starting at First Sentier Investors in 2020, Sarah has been involved in transforming its CRM, distribution data onboarding and ensuring the continued improvement of Distribution and Marketing systems. Prior to FSI, Sarah was Commercial Systems Manager at Nearmap. With over a decade’s experience, she has worked across the financial services, education, IT and recruitment sectors.
Marie: The digital transformation landscape in asset management is very much dominated by males. How did you build your professional footprint in this landscape? Did you encounter any challenges?
Sarah: I built my presence and profile by leaning into my strengths. Importantly, I was able to hone my expertise by working for organisations that supported my development. This is especially the case at First Sentier Investors. There is a conscious commitment to fostering an inclusive and equitable culture which includes addressing the gender balance. The challenges I have encountered in the course of my career have been related to digital transformation rather than associated with gender.
Marie: You have an excellent track record in adopting software technology such as Salesforce for CRM. Can you tell me a little bit about how you build your expertise around it?
Sarah: My starting point was to build on my strengths and I undertook project management training which brought my organisation skills and my attention to detail to the fore. This led me to project coordination and I quickly became involved in analysis of CRM data where I was able to provide visualisation of key sales and performance metrics as well as begin to understand CRM in a data context. From here, I moved into Salesforce Administration and implementation/management of related integrations and I undertook a Salesforce Certification. The learning never stops, I’m continuing to learn as I troubleshoot day to day issues and when working on specific projects and implementations.
Marie: If you could list the top CRM use cases for sales enablement that your users are asking for to optimise their distribution channels, what would they be?
Sarah: We take a client-first approach where our clients are at the centre of all functions in our organisation. The CRM provides us with information regarding client activities which in turn supports our Distribution teams in fostering deeper engagements with clients. This has been a game changer in terms of the digital transformation in the CRM space. Additionally, the data has been pivotal to supporting the Marketing team and tracking engagement of campaigns which further supports the close working relationship between our Marketing and Distribution teams. Fundamentally, the ability to quickly and easily manage the data in CRM to generate relevant information when changes occur in the marketplace opens prospecting opportunities for the Distribution team.
Marie: At FSI, you’ve supported transformation projects including a heavy focus around data. Could you tell us what were the main highlights and what you’ve learned?
Sarah: The main highlights have been to collaborate internally and externally to deliver successful outcomes. This includes improved visibility of Distribution and Marketing activities, visualisation of data to benefit many different areas of FSI and to optimise the CRM technology. The scale of transformation especially in the remote delivery and collaboration functions have been exciting to work with. It’s opened opportunities for better collaborative relationships with colleagues and providers based in different regions.
Marie: In your opinion, what’s the main CRM challenge asset managers face these days?
Sarah: Regional variation in terms of requirements and data availability/complexity can make it difficult to achieve a global view for our industry. Real-time information can also be impacted by lead times from some data sources and a lack of availability for others. Having transformed our CRM to receive flows into a Client Book of Record (CBOR) structure, we continue to work on the challenge of on-boarding new data sources as well as ensuring continuous feedback from our Distribution teams to proactively improve the ways the CRM can work for them.
Marie: Data quality is a recurring topic of discussion in our industry. As a Customer Relationship Manager at FSI, what are the steps taken to help guarantee you’re improving data quality throughout your distribution channels?
Sarah: Strong focus on data integrity between CRM and Marketing automation platform. Use of external data refresh processes where available. Implementation of the CBOR structure in CRM has helped to achieve a major clean-up of legacy data. Visualisation of data in the EDW has helped to highlight any updates or clean up required in CRM. Working with the Data team to create data quality monitoring dashboards in the EDW. Working closely with the business to ensure correct data matching
Marie: How do you analyse AUM, Flow and Revenue data and how do your sales teams use this to deepen customer relationships?
Sarah: Our AUM and Flow data is integrated with CRM and EDW. This data is surfaced against Institutions in Salesforce as well as visualised in Power BI dashboards via the EDW. Our Distribution teams have access to Power BI dashboards which allow them to pull specific data like fund, region, vehicle which provides insights on key investors in specific funds, concentration of location as well as historic information.
Marie: How do you see the role of women in technology for financial services evolving in the next five years? Is the industry doing enough to promote women in technology?
Sarah: CRM technology itself is a broad field which opens up opportunities regardless of gender. Expertise in technology such as CRMs offers a skillset which is transferable across industries – in this way, it offers a pathway into the financial services industry. As with any role, ongoing development of capabilities and experience is the key to success.
“While it is great to see that progress is being made for more diversity in technology via initiatives to get the new generation of women into STEM, it’s fantastic that more companies like FSI are proactively looking to boost female representation in senior management roles.” Sarah Chance, Customer Relationship Manager, First Sentier Investors.
Marie: What do you think true sales enablement in CRM will look like five years from now?
Sarah: Greater enablement of front line Distribution team members to use an OMNI channel approach to add and retrieve data from CRM. Improved visualisation of data in CRM. Artificial Intelligence (AI) to underpin time optimisation and client relationship management.