Relying on brokers for leads
When Allica Bank secured its banking licence in 2019, the business began providing financial solutions for the underserved SMB segment. Like all ambitious start-ups, Allica Bank needed to scale its customer base at pace.
Initially, Allica Bank relied on a strong broker network to win new customers. Once that route to market was established, they decided to build a direct marketing channel to complement the work of their intermediary partners and help them grow faster.
Conrad Ford, Chief Product Officer, explains: “I took on responsibility for building out a direct channel. That was the moment when we began to care about inbound leads as we prepared to reach out directly to the SMB segment.”
Building a data-driven CRM
Conrad had a vision for an exciting new marketing engine, built on rich, real-time intelligence about Allica Bank’s prospects—such as their filed financials, borrowing history and public contact wins—so they could figure out which SMBs needed them, and when.
Conrad explains: “We wanted to make sure we reached out when prospects had important moments in the life of their business, such as buying new premises or machinery—or needing help with cashflow.”
To make that vision reality, Allica Bank needed to select a CRM capable of connecting modern, data-driven, multi-channel marketing with their frontline team of expert relationship managers.
Eliminating developer hold-ups
As Conrad shortlisted potential CRMs, he wanted a solution that was intuitive enough to build in-house. He’d used a leading enterprise CRM in a previous role, but found it too unwieldy to configure and customise.
He says: “It was a great platform, but only if you paid developers or agencies hundreds of thousands of pounds to make it work for you.”
Allica Bank wanted more configurability from their CRM, so they could avoid developer-related hold-ups and expense, and achieve their goals faster.
They also wanted a platform that provided strong interplay between marketing, sales and customer service.
Configurability and connectivity with HubSpot CRM
Conrad says HubSpot’s CRM wasn’t initially on his radar. Then he tried out its features on an evaluation version and appreciated its ease-of-use and configurability.
Conrad says: “With HubSpot, it’s a simple ‘turn on’ and you don’t have to invest in developers to make it work. It enables our three pillars to play together: sales, service and marketing.”
Conrad’s priority was to get ‘a minimum lovable product’ live as fast as possible, so they could win their first lead and scale from there.
They created a database of prospects, with HubSpot populating key details, and latterly used HubSpot data sync to import live data about their prospects.
Attracting and converting leads with Marketing Hub
Next, Allica Bank turned its attention to Marketing Hub, which provides all the tools to attract prospects’ attention, track campaigns and convert leads.
Allica Bank built out acquisition channels one-by-one. They kicked off with Google ads and paid search, then added paid social, before finally adding direct mail.
Conrad says: “With live data about our prospects tied to our Marketing Hub, we can be more confident there’s a specific business reason why prospects would be willing to engage with us before we interact with them.”
With HubSpot, they track active campaigns, report on performance and attribute revenue directly to specific activities. These insights are gold, enabling them to continually optimise and maximise ROI.
Integrating 2,000 new customers
As Allica Bank continued to scale its direct channels, an unexpected acquisition opportunity saw 2,000 customers and £0.6bn of loan portfolio come through the door.
Suddenly, the focus turned to supporting these newly acquired customers. Conrad says it was ‘a blessing’ they already had HubSpot CRM running.
“It’s one of the great business challenges to successfully integrate an acquisition and we had a very successful one,” says Conrad.
“One of the reasons for our success was that we had a ready-made HubSpot CRM to put those new customers on, which gave us confidence and control. It enabled us to make sure every customer got the interactions they needed as they came across to us as a new provider.”
Allica Bank wanted to keep using its favourite third-party tools, but didn’t want to be constantly toggling between disparate apps and HubSpot.
With HubSpot’s excellent connectivity, they integrated them in a few clicks.
First, Allica Bank integrated telephony tool Aircall into their Service Hub, which they use for inbound and outbound customer support. Now, every interaction can be recorded and stored in a central location—simplifying compliance.
Conrad says: “Connectivity with our telephony system is extremely important and was mind-bogglingly easy to do.”
Allica Bank also integrated a tool that identifies businesses who don’t want to be contacted for a sales call, so they meet regulatory requirements with ease.
Achieving profitability in less than 3 years
With HubSpot driving customer acquisition and aligning communication between marketing, sales and service teams, Allica Bank has achieved phenomenal growth.
Allica Bank achieved profitability in less than 3 years—making them one of the fastest UK fintechs ever to do so—and surpassed £1bn in both customer deposits and lending.
“One of the main reasons we became profitable ahead of schedule is because of the extremely successful integration of a complex acquisition and HubSpot played a significant role in that,” says Conrad.
89% of customers highly satisfied
Because HubSpot enables better customer service management, Allica Bank’s reps concentrate on putting customers first. And they have the CSAT scores to prove it.
Following the recent acquisition, some 89% of migrated customers rated the customer experience with Allica Bank as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.
HubSpot CRM also significantly reduced project risk during the acquisition.
“With HubSpot, we removed a substantial additional work stream, reduced risk and were able to give our colleagues a lot of confidence because we could say, ‘You don’t have to worry about the CRM,’” says Conrad.