The client’s perspective
A leading financial services company in the secondary mortgage market identified the need to increase its capacity to develop marketing content for investors, and recognized an opportunity with Eagle Hill support to develop strategic planning and process improvement capabilities to more efficiently meet customer needs.
The team plays a dual role, both marketing financial products and performing investor relations for external investors, serving approximately 100-200 internal customers. It was clear to the financial services team that the sheer volume of customer support requests exceeded the capacity of the team to manage efficiently, and it looked to Eagle Hill Consulting for help. The director of the team also wanted to move her group in a more strategic direction when it came to their project management approach.
A new view
As Eagle Hill worked alongside the team, we began to build a picture of how the current situation had developed. We got to know each individual closely, including his or her ideas of the group’s purpose, pain points, and promise. We soon saw that externally, the team was seen as a “go-to” group for getting things done. And, in fact, the volume of work the team produced was astonishing—and a testament to how vital the group had grown over time to its customers.
Internally, however, there was unanimous agreement that the pace at which the group operated was simply unsustainable. People were feeling the stress. The team was exhausted from last-minute requests; many worked late nights and on weekends and vacations. As Eagle Hill repeatedly heard the same perspective from their team members, we envisioned a marketing strategy, which would define the parameters around supporting customer needs and formalize the process for working strategically internally and with customers.
What began as informal conversations soon developed into more formal interviews as the team’s director embraced the concept. Together with the team, we developed a mission and vision to guide their work and kicked off our program with a session on marketing best practices. Because team members tended to have educational backgrounds in finance, rather than marketing, we also reached back to Eagle Hill’s own highly skilled marketing professionals to develop and implement the approach over several months.
However, because the team continued to grapple with its daily deluge, finding a way to help the team take time to step back and adopt the new approaches was a challenge. To this end, we worked with the director to institute a series of team training sessions to build morale and learn how to work better as a team. In between those group sessions, Eagle Hill began working with individuals to identify personalized development opportunities. In these one-on-one sessions, we emphasized how strategic planning, as outlined in the strategy, can help their customers receive a better experience and how that experience improves the team brand. Our intention was to ingrain the marketing approach as the group’s guidepost.
Unconventional consulting—and breakthrough results
Eagle Hill’s marketing approach has introduced much-needed consistency in working with customers as a strategic partner. The key to its success is in how Eagle Hill tailored it to the team’s pain points—something we were only able to do by truly enmeshing ourselves with the team, “in the trenches.”
For the upcoming year, the team proactively developed marketing objectives based on the customer’s business goals which has started to shift the mindset around the team’s role (more toward trusted advisors and less as a “catch all”), while more effectively managing the group’s workload. It has begun to adjust expectations as well. The marketing strategy gives the team a framework for clarifying their role and scope of support to their customers and the value they provide across the company. More importantly, it gives a structure for drawing boundaries when customer requests fall outside the scope of the team. It also serves as a useful training aid for when the team hires new members, ensuring continued consistency, even amid turnover.
In fact, the team recently used the approach to craft its public response for investors after a series of natural disasters impacted the secondary mortgage market.