Why your understanding of CLM is probably wrong.

Written by
Sean Vickers

Chief Executive Officer

Published on

8 November 2022

Under the category

CLM Experts, Let's Talk

Noticing a huge disparity between what CLM actually is and what most organisations think it is, our CEO Sean Vickers decided it was time to do some explaining.

Okay, here’s the unpopular opinion (or maybe it’s a revelation.) Too often when I speak to Front and Middle office professionals, what I find is their interpretation of CLM differs from organisation to organisation. What often is believed to be CLM actually transpires to be KYC optimisation or a form of technology that is called CLM or something else entirely. 

Why is this the case and how have we found ourselves here with such a widely used term? As The CLM Experts™️, when we think about CLM, we pull the words apart and forensically examine each part.




It should do what it says on the tin. With this in mind, I’ve decided to take that forensic approach and break down what CLM really means.


We always begin by looking at the client journey end-to-end. Way before KYC or technology has even been considered, there is the age old love story of a client and a relationship manager or salesperson discussing a problem or a need.  It’s a tale as old as time.

That client has hopes, dreams, and expectations they aim to be addressed by an organisation’s approach to client experience and client satisfaction. They also want to get something done. They want to trade or they need an account to be able to undertake some part of working capital.   

Nobody starts an onboarding process for sh*ts and giggles. 

Lifecycle and Management 

From an RM/Sales perspective, the new lead is identified and loaded into CRM.  Using industry-leading golden source data all static information is auto-populated saving them time and driving accuracy. The ease of enrichment drives greater engagement from your front-office teams.

As the lead becomes an Opportunity, the CRM solution qualifies that you’re ‘good to trade’ by enriching your existing business acceptance with independent and auditable data from the market for:

  • Suitability
  • Categorisation
  • Appropriateness

Your technology suite collates all the findings both internal and from the market and routes for sign-off.

Once business acceptance is complete your sector-aligned Client Managers, who are ‘at the elbow’ of the RM/Sales take over the case.  Their industry sector knowledge aligned with their deep understanding allows them to balance the priorities on the desk with the complexities of operations.

Using your CLM technology and the external golden-source data that now flows front-to-back through the process, a Welcome Pack is generated covering CDD, Regs and onboarding in one go that’s specific to their client type and industry.

SPOILER ALERT: At this point I introduce KYC. If you start your CLM conversation here, look at all the journey you’ve missed (also look at the disconnect between your KYC process and an actual client.)

Your Client Managers now truly own the onboarding case.  Any queries are directed and owned by these individuals who functional sit in the second line but work directly with the RBs to ensure the documents is tightly aligned to regulatory requirements

As the welcome pack is returned and uploaded your new CLM solution working in tandem with your core banking systems and MDM is routing the work allowing parallel processing of work to run at once and routing key sign-off and decisions to appropriate seniors.

Legal docs are initiated.   Credit applications are kicked off in earnest with robust parallel processing.   Product onboarding is tee’d up.    Your MDM starts to distribute information in a myriad of directions.

The list goes on. Why? Well, for the people at the back - it’s because CLM is not just KYC optimisation.

‘So what?’ 

Reframe your ambition

‘Sean, that all sounds great but so what?’ is a fair question. My response is that designing your true end-end journey with your target operating model in order and thriving means:

  • Your client experience is elevated and enhanced.
  • Your client onboarding time is shortened.
  • Your end-end technology suite allows you to qualify and initiate more cases quicker from the outset.
  • You will have right-sized your organisation to your client acquisition ambitions

You should be striving for more.   You should be able to say to ExCo, Seniors, peers, stakeholders…


CRM, enhanced

External data, introduced and/or enriched

Client Managers, hired; sector dedicated

Bankers, re-focused

Controls, tightened

Organisation, re-pointed

CLM Tech, acquired

Docs and Data, re-used

Outreach, elevated

Client Experience, optimised

The Takeaway

If you…

  • fully map and then automate your onboarding process, from lead generation through onboarding to product fulfilment 


  • your customers will be able to use your products quicker


  • your RMs will have more time to focus on Client needs


  • your Sales teams can cross-sell more products to the Client 

Which you can measure by…  

  • winning more business


  • enhancing client satisfaction

With success measured by…

  • increase in profit
  • increase in cross product sales
  • increase in customer satisfaction
  • increase in employee retention

So, if you’re reading this and realise you’ve been talking about optimisation and/or technology and not the truest sense of CLM then get in touch.   You’ve just saved your organisations millions of dollars and more importantly you’ll have saved your sanity.

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