B2B Data

Commercial Bankers, Just Say No to “Spray and Pray”

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May 7, 2024

10 mins read

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Commercial Bankers, Just Say No to “Spray and Pray”

Want to know how your commercial bank can move beyond generic, undifferentiated customer engagement (i.e., spray and pray approaches) and adapt to digital-first customer demands, drive digital transformation, and build more customized engagement? If you want to not only acquire more new customers, but also retain existing customers through better, more personalized experiences, then read on . . .

The global pandemic accelerated digital transformation in so many industries, including commercial banking. Acquiring and retaining commercial bank customers became more of a digital-first proposition, rather than one centered on face-to-face interactions, as it had been before.

At the same time, the customer base that commercial banks serve remains highly-diverse, ranging from sole traders to small and midsize businesses to larger, more complex corporate entities. An undifferentiated, one-size-fits-all approach to marketing and customer experience (CX) has never, and will never, effectively address the diverse needs of your existing or prospective commercial banking customers.

Your marketing, whether digital or face-to-face, absolutely must be built upon a data-fueled understanding of what each customer wants. Generic engagement and undifferentiated offerings will result in prospective clients ignoring you and therefore loss of revenue.

Today’s Customer Journeys: Digitized + Humanized

No matter the channel, personalized approaches work best because they show customers that you care enough to understand their specific needs and can address them with customized solutions.

Fifth Third Bank, for example, continually seeks to find the right balance between digital innovation and human interactions as it seeks to “tailor meaningful solutions” for its customers. While the bank, founded in 1858, acknowledges the importance of digitalization in the commercial banking industry, it also recognizes that the human touch, coming from its relationship managers who “serve as an extension” of each customer’s business, is indispensable when providing customer support.

As Melissa Stevens, Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer for Fifth Third Bancorp, describes the bank’s approach to customer engagement: “It’s not about marketing a product or service, it’s about understanding those business’ needs [our clients have] . . . and bringing them thought leadership, bringing them a great partnership.”

Fifth Third aims to make each commercial banking customer feel cared for throughout their service journey, refusing to lean solely on digital or automated solutions, but seeking to optimize engagement across all channels. That flexible focus addresses what customers want in terms of engagement.

Commercial bank customers may prefer digital or human support at different times and for different purposes, but they will always want to be supported in ways that optimally accommodate their evolving needs. Are those customer expectations hard for commercial banks to deliver on? Yes, but not delivering on them is the surest formula for becoming irrelevant to your customers.

Mapping and Navigating the Digital Customer Journey

Today’s banking landscape is highly-competitive, increasingly digital, and marked by increasing customer expectations for personalized approaches. It’s hardly surprising that large banking groups are putting much more emphasis on (and investments into) digital transformation within their commercial banks, according to Publicis Sapient’s Global Banking Benchmark Study 2022.

In order to accommodate evolving customer demands, commercial banks are now seeking to deliver the fast, convenient, and frictionless customer experiences that retail banking has been able to provide to its customers across multiple channels (online, via mobile apps, etc.). Of course, there are times when commercial banking customers will want convenient, fast, and automated service and times when they’ll want human interaction with an experienced, skilled banker.

The key is mapping out your customer journey and understanding where each approach, whether automated or more “human touch,” will optimize the experience of each customer. Of course, the diversity of commercial banking customers adds significant complexity to the process, which is why account intelligence/data is so mission-critical.

A large part of any solution to create better customer journeys involves reconfiguring time-consuming, manual operations and replacing them with automated, digitized processes. And obviously, any digitized solution must ensure compliance around data security, customer privacy, and other commercial banking regulations.

Obstacles to Transformation

Banking is awash in legacy systems and platforms, which can grow like kudzu. It takes time and investment to move beyond your legacy martech infrastructure to a more integrated, flexible, and customized digital infrastructure that better serves the needs of your customers across all channels.

Continually bolting on more martech applications to your core legacy infrastructure, a common ad hoc approach, is not digital transformation, but akin to building an unwieldy Frankenstein monster.

Eliminating silos from any legacy system, one where relevant customer data doesn’t flow across your digital infrastructure, is priority number one. With artificial intelligence (AI) now evolving into the next big, enterprise-level transformation, getting your data in order and usable across your organization has never been more important.

Commercial banks must take full advantage of emerging opportunities to enhance customer experience by combining data from different sources to better understand, anticipate, and address customer needs as they arise. We call it account intelligence, and smart revenue teams harness this timely intelligence to engage the best opportunities when they happen. Without the ability to quickly sense and then rapidly respond to customer needs, you’re simply throwing time and money down the drain.

Spray and pray approaches tend to disengage today’s sophisticated commercial banking customers, signaling to them that “my bank doesn’t care enough to understand what I need, when I need it.” Richer data resources will not only fuel better marketing outreach that drives customer acquisition and retention, but will also enable a wider application of AI to anticipate and address customer needs.

In the coming years, data analytics and related AI capabilities will become a key differentiator within the commercial banking sector, according to Publicis Sapient’s Global Banking Benchmark Study 2022, empowering the highly-customized customer journeys we discussed above.

Building Better Customer Journeys: 5 Challenges and 5 Solutions

We’ve described the need, so now let’s look at some solutions. Commercial banks face mounting pressure to differentiate their financial offerings (i.e., products and services) in a highly competitive FinServ marketplace where customer demands are only increasing for omnichannel engagement. To cut through all the noise and reach the customers/accounts that matter, you need a reliable enterprise solution that gives you the data and tools to effectively target and engage accounts wherever they are.

So how do you get from here to there, transforming your existing digital infrastructure to better support the type of digital-first and personalized engagement that drives an enhanced CX and increased revenues for your commercial bank? Let’s look at five major challenges to transformation and how to resolve each of them.

Challenge #1: Customer acquisition is increasingly difficult.

What’s essential for helping you reduce customer acquisition costs is the ability to identify and target the right prospects/accounts — the ones most likely to become revenue-generating customers. Otherwise, you’re haphazardly chasing after everyone and wasting your limited time and money. Customers don’t want “spray and pray” approaches – and frankly, neither should you.


  • Identify known and unknown accounts visiting your commercial banking web pages and customize your ads and website experiences with tailored messages to increase conversion. You can also enrich your account and customer data. Demandbase’s data, combined with your data, gives you one complete, accurate, and richer view of each account so you can drive more bespoke engagement.
  • Discover buyer intent by tailoring keywords to specific banking services like treasury management, corporate banking, commercial financing, lines of credit, or merchant services. Demandbase Intent, for instance, provides timely and accurate signals for over 575,000 keywords sourced from over 1 trillion signals per month, offering your marketing and sales teams reliable buying signals from the accounts that matter.
  • Streamline your lead management process with higher, more accurate match rates from the industry’s best lead-to-account matching solution. That way, you’re more likely to be reaching out to customers who are ready to work with you. You can also deliver a prioritized list of accounts, contacts, and engagement insights to your Relationship Managers with Prescriptive Sales Dashboards.

Challenge #2: Competition among commercial banks is intensifying.

Offering more undifferentiated products and services is not the answer for standing out in today’s highly-competitive market. The only answer for breaking through the clutter is in creating personalized experiences targeted at the right buyers at the right time.


  • Personalize your website experiences based on the individual account, as well as by geography/region. Dynamic content works because it’s bespoke and answers the specific questions your accounts want answered when they visit your website.
  • Drive top-of-mind awareness with targeted advertising aimed at increasing brand awareness with high-value clients. That’s the opposite of spray and pray. You can also target the right personas and buying group members across different industries using Demandbase Buying Group AI.
  • Get more meetings scheduled with the right clients at your high-value accounts using personalized outreach, enabled by accurate account data from our complete database of firmographic, contact, technographic, and intent data. You can even add your existing connections to your account information and use it to get warm introductions to prospects from people you already know.

Challenge #3: Building trust and credibility with potential customers.

In a business landscape where trust and credibility are never freely given, but must be earned over time, you must engage with customers consistently with relevant content that shows them you understand their needs.


  • Craft customized messages specific to an account’s journey stage, intent keywords, and/or content being consumed. Arm your relationship managers with insights specific to their accounts, garnered from news events and social alerts. Make it easy for relationship managers to turn insights into action by using our integrations with Salesloft, Outreach, Salesforce, and Microsoft Dynamics 365.
  • Personalize your advertising and website experiences based on visitor location to better convert niche markets and geographies with the right messages.

Challenge #4: Reaching certain demographic segments or geographic areas.

Serving niche markets or expanding into new regions requires targeted marketing efforts and localized strategies that can be resource-intensive. To do it well, you need tools to efficiently and effectively execute against your key customer segments and KPIs.


  • Infuse Account Intelligence, which is first and third-party data combined with AI, into every step of the buyer journey, so you can focus exclusively on specific customer segments and stop wasting time and money on the rest. You can build an ideal buying group for treasury management, deposits, or corporate financing products and use Demandbase Advertising to target key members of those specific buying groups.
  • Segment your account lists for treasury management, corporate banking, or merchant services based on banking-specific keywords, buyer journey stage, and more, to drive better conversion rates and resource allocations.
  • Measure and report on the ROI of your GTM strategy with account-based analytics like velocity, funnel stage conversion, engagement, program impact, website visits, and account-based advertising metrics.

Challenge #5: Wasting marketing resources on “Spray and Pray.”

Without accurate data and insights about customers, commercial banks will inevitably waste their marketing dollars on undifferentiated, ineffectual outreach that disengages — often referred to as “spray and pray.”

A much better approach targets your marketing dollars on the accounts most likely to buy, moving you to more targeted and revenue-generating account-based experiences. Demandbase Account Intelligence gives you accurate information about accounts and contacts to support more targeted marketing.


  • Access and leverage rich data with the most robust intent, behavioral signals, web analytics, contacts, firmographics, and technographics. Demandbase data combined with your data gives you one complete, accurate view of each account.
  • Build accurate prospect lists from 100M+ company profiles and 150M+ contact profiles, emails, and mobile numbers.
  • Eliminate the possibility of wasted spend with ad tech and data that correctly identifies the right accounts to target. Deliver targeted and personalized advertising messages based on journey stage, intent, engagement data, website analytics, firmographics, and more.

More Targeted Engagement Starts Here

If you’d like your commercial bank to waste less of your limited marketing resources on generic engagement approaches that target everyone and anyone, but satisfy no one, then we’re here to help. Demandbase enables you to identify and effectively target the accounts most likely to convert into revenue-generating customers.  Take a self-guided tour of how it works and how we can help.

We’ll also provide you with the data to personalize engagement, convert prospects into customers, and prove the ROI of your efforts.  Everything about commercial banking has changed in the last few years: we can help you adapt to the evolving expectations of customers while targeting those accounts most likely to convert.

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B2B Go-To-Market Suite, Demandbase

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