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Transforming The Sales Process At Middle-Market Banks

By John Dillard

Transforming The Sales Process At Middle-Market BanksMiddle-market banks are facing a challenging business environment.

Margin compression is straining revenues and new banking regulations are adding costs and pressuring your systems. With slow growth expectations and a stagnant interest rate environment, you need to bolster your efforts in a number of ways, including these three key areas:
  1. Increasing your share-of-wallet with current customers
  2. Attracting new customers away from competitors
  3. Ensuring customer retention at your bank

The good news is that by improving your sales process, you address all of these areas at once. Here are three ways to get your sales process transformation underway and to face this challenging banking environment head on:

1. Implement Process Improvement Efforts For Sales

Just like any other process at your bank, your sales process stands to gain a lot from an end-to-end process improvement initiative. Commission a review of your end-to-end sales processes and take steps to remove waste and non-value-added activities.

For example, much of a relationship manager’s day is spent on administrative and routine tasks, often only spending 15-25 percent of his or her time with clients. Also, review the banking compliance regulations within your sales process and ensure requirements are incorporated into the process itself rather than gathered or checked after the fact. Finally, evaluate your sales review and approval routines to ensure they are as efficient as possible.

2. Capture Customer Data And Align Accordingly

Your next major step in transforming your sales process and customer relationship is to capture as much existing information as possible about your customers, their businesses, their industries and how their goals align with your products and channels.

Ideally, you should have a 360-degree view of your customers, including:
  • Who they are and what they do (core customer information)
  • How they interact with your particular bank (transaction information)
  • What issues or challenges they’re facing (customer service information)
You’ve already captured this organizational data somewhere, so focus on consolidating it into one place or platform. When you bring all of this information together into one place, make it easily and regularly accessible to your salespeople – as a result, you’ll transform your customer experience entirely.

After you’ve collected and harnessed this initial sales data, differentiate your sales process from the competition by asking and answering some basic questions about your customers, such as:
  • What are their personal aspirations and challenges?
  • What are their social interactions and structures?
  • Where do they spend their time and their money?

With this information in hand, your salespeople are empowered to better target and tailor to particular customer needs for your products, channels or services. In addition, aligning your banking operations and offerings with this customer data not only better satisfies current customers (growing share-of-wallet and customer retention), but it also distinguishes you from the competition and draws in new customers.

3. Review Your Sales Process Structures And Models

As you implement process improvement efforts and capture more customer data, continually review your sales structures and coverage models (as well as customer service coverage models). Diversify your sales and customer service coverage based on customer value, where the greatest amount of coverage is aligned with your highest-value customers.

A critical element in this step is ensuring that you have the processes in place to understand current customer value and potential customer value. You should calculate this customer value through existing balance/transaction information as well as with salesperson and market estimates – the key is to bring both the data and the estimates together in the same place.

While your bank is certainly facing a challenging environment, you shouldn’t let that hold you back from growth and gains in market share. Use these three steps to transform your sales process and watch your customer base grow in both width and depth.

To keep your middle-market bank competitive in this challenging economy, you need a process improvement approach that doesn’t break the bank (literally). Click below to download a free whitepaper from Big Sky Associates and discover how to keep your process improvement efforts as cost-effective as possible.

Download Your Free Report - 6 Bottom-line benefits of process improvement for your post-recession middle market bank