Customs declarations. Product labels. Shipping quotes. Trading internationally can be a big challenge — but it can also be a big opportunity.
“Businesses that trade internationally grow faster and create more jobs than those focused solely on domestic markets,” said John Carroll, Head of International and Transactional Banking for Santander UK’s Corporate and Commercial Banking division. “We want to make it easier for businesses big and small to unlock global growth opportunities.”
Small and medium-sized enterprises are vital to the U.K. economy, generating around $2.82 trillion of income and employing approximately 16.6 million people. Santander UK’s Corporate and Commercial Banking specialists have already helped more than 1,000 businesses find success in a new market. And the bank wants to share its expertise with an even wider audience.
To scale up its services, Santander UK used Salesforce to build a trailblazing digital subscription platform, called Santander Navigator, that provides personalized growth strategies and recommendations to businesses looking to expand internationally.
“Santander Navigator is a global first and will help subscribers save time and money,” said Carroll. “With Santander Navigator and Salesforce, we can help more businesses bring great British products to customers around the world.”
Read on to discover how Santander UK is creating new customer connections and unlocking new revenue opportunities with Salesforce Customer 360.
1. Boost competitive advantage with greater customer-centricity.
2. Scale existing services with personalized digital experiences.
Santander UK already had a well-established ecosystem of international trade experts to support businesses on their journey to export success. But manual processes limited the bank’s potential to expand its reach.
The Corporate and Commercial Banking team worked with Salesforce and Accenture to explore the art of the possible.
“We didn’t want to just digitalize our existing proposition; we wanted to enrich it by empowering businesses with even sharper insights, richer experiences, and stronger connections,” said William John, Head of International Proposition Delivery, International and Transactional Banking for Santander UK’s Corporate and Commercial team.
Santander Navigator does all this — and more. As well as helping businesses identify growth opportunities and explore potential markets, the platform makes understanding regulations, accessing expertise, and optimizing logistics easier.
For example, an integration between Santander Navigator and the Freightos marketplace means businesses can now generate shipping quotes in minutes, enabling greater transparency and faster decision-making.
“Sourcing quotes manually can take up to two days, which can impact order fulfillment and go-to-market timelines,” said Carroll. “By harnessing the power of digital, we can help businesses achieve export success cost-effectively, time-efficiently, and profitably.”
3. Increase daily customer conversations by 4X.
Santander UK has always placed a strong emphasis on building and maintaining relationships. The digital platform helps the Corporate and Commercial Banking team take customer relationships to a new level. Registration and interaction data tailors the entire Santander Navigator experience — from growth strategies and partner connections to market insights and event invitations.
The data is captured on Salesforce in a central CRM record, which provides relationship managers with valuable insights into a company’s challenges and opportunities. For example, if a bike manufacturer shows an interest in trading in a new territory, a relationship manager can talk to them about how to reduce foreign exchange risk using the bank’s online trading portal.
“We can now offer personalized advice on complex trading factors, such as product labels and export licenses, based on a customer’s journey,” said Gemma Cassin, Head of Commercial Delivery, International and Transactional Banking, Santander UK Corporate and Commercial Banking. “We can also develop connections with stakeholders in different business departments — not just finance.”
Broader relationships and richer insights have contributed to a 4X increase in conversations with businesses per day within Corporate and Commercial Banking with Santander Navigator subscribers.
Customer insights also help the bank host more relevant events for Santander Navigator subscribers. Event invites and communications are distributed using Marketing Cloud Account Engagement. Since the launch of the platform, more than 2,100 businesses have attended 250+ events, all hosted and run on Santander Navigator.
4. Onboard customers in 15 minutes with integrated workflows.
With Salesforce, new subscribers can register for Santander Navigator in as little as 15 minutes. The registration process is powered by Experience Cloud, which is integrated with apps from Salesforce AppExchange to streamline due diligence and compliance checks as well as the management of subscriptions and payments.
“Our fees are normally linked to specific banking products,” said John. “Salesforce helped to simplify and de-risk our adoption of a subscription model for the first time.”
If a subscriber needs assistance or wants to talk to an expert, they can engage with the Santander Navigator team via live chat, which is powered by Service Cloud Live Agent. Cases and new business contacts are automatically created in Service Cloud, which streamlines other key tasks with its intelligent workflows.
Businesses can also engage in real time with relationship managers, international trade experts, and peers via the Santander Navigator community forum, which is hosted on Experience Cloud. By integrating Experience Cloud with Sales Cloud, Santander UK can automatically trigger new opportunities and tasks for relationship managers.
The bank also uses Salesforce to connect businesses with a network of 300+ specialist providers. Approved Santander Navigator providers register using a self-service workflow in Experience Cloud, which captures the information needed to enable personalized connections.
“We can automatically match the right providers with the right customers, which helps to accelerate expansion into new territories,” said Cassin.
5. Unlock insights into new customers and markets with AI.
With U.K. businesses citing international markets as the single biggest opportunity for economic recovery, the Corporate and Commercial Banking team knew Santander Navigator would need to scale — and they were right. Around 70% of Santander Navigator subscribers have not previously engaged with the bank.
As the volume of subscribers and interactions increases, Santander UK needs an easy way to share customer and market intelligence.
“With CRM Analytics, we can use AI to visualize international trade trends and customer insights in real time,” said Phil Bennett, Senior Project and Process Simplification Manager for Santander UK’s Corporate and Commercial Banking division. For example, the bank has developed dashboards that track the most popular Santander Navigator articles and international markets.
AI will also help the bank scale the platform by automatically generating personalized recommendations based on customer data, which relationship directors can share quickly and easily with their contacts.
Santander Navigator is not just a pioneering initiative for the bank but for the entire financial services industry.
“We have built a platform that can be scaled and enhanced quickly and easily,” said Carroll. “We have big ambitions in the U.K. and across the Santander Group and Trade Club Alliance.”
The Santander Navigator team already has numerous enhancements in the pipeline. For example, the team plans to use Commerce Cloud to offer even more personalized recommendations based on a subscriber’s browsing history and “lookalike” businesses. Santander UK also wants to establish an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) rating system on the platform, which will provide scores for specific processes, such as packaging and personalized ESG action plans.
Santander Navigator already enables businesses to select different shipping options based on their carbon footprint.
“Boosting sustainability is key to succeeding internationally, but businesses often lack sufficient resources,” said Carroll. “Santander Navigator is a fantastic example of how we’re harnessing digital technologies to make businesses’ lives easier.”
If you're in one of the eligible sectors, you can access Santander Navigator for free today. Santander Navigator is a personalized platform that helps you navigate international growth. Whether you’re an experienced exporter or taking the first step, Santander Navigator will help you simplify it. Sign up today at www.SantanderNavigator.co.uk.