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Sales Management

John Voorhees, consultant and advisor at Peak Performance Consulting Group, was one of seven experts asked to share their vision of what bank branches will look like in the future in this Banking Strategies article and as part of the Executive Report on the Evolution of the Branch.

 

Speaking specifically about how customers will be assigned, John states “The platform will consist of even more specialists, and platform bankers may be assigned a portfolio of customers when issues need to be resolved—think of the olden days when you could go see ‘your banker.’ Customers may be able to communicate with branch personnel via Skype and more banks will also have private soundproof rooms in which customers can have face-to-face conversations with offsite bank specialists via video-conferencing.”

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Good article in Banking Exchange — including our point of view — on the Wells scandal and aftermath: what it means for cross-sell and the sales culture.

 

Forty-odd years ago, banks didn’t “sell.” Yes, they had new accounts representatives and calling officers. Some even admitted to having marketing directors. But no salesmen.

 

Sell was a dirty word.

 

That was something they did down at the used car lot. That was the business of people who pushed life insurance. That was something that, frankly, everybody else did. There was something plain unbankerly about selling.

 

But gradually, banks realized that sales and all the trappings—goals, incentive pay, and sales management—really were part of banking. Some accepted this grudgingly, some realistically, and some enthusiastically. One of the latter, although hardly the only one, was Wells Fargo.

 

  • Is sell a dirty word in banking again?
  • In a post-Wells Fargo settlement period, dare bankers utter that word?
  • In a time when UDAAP has become, and remains, the law of the land, can selling in banks survive?

 

Read more…

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For years the industry’s eyes were on Wells Fargo as a cross-selling winner. That reputation went down in flames with last year’s sales scandal. But banking’s eyes continue to scan Wells, which recently introduced a revamped performance management and rewards program that the bank’s leadership described as a beginning, subject to revision based on ongoing experience.

 

“The devil is in the details,” and the potential improvement lies in careful monitoring were points of agreement among experts interviewed by Banking Exchange  who looked at the summary released by the bank earlier in January.

 

“It’s a very positive step,” says David Kerstein, president of Peak Performance Consulting Group. “I’m pleasantly surprised that they have taken such aggressive steps. I think this is the right way to go for the industry, not just for Wells Fargo.”

 

He says it would be essential to use such tools as mystery shopping to have an independent view of how well the program works where customer meets banker.

 

“You have to be sure that you are building customer relationships and doing the right thing,” says Kerstein. “Wells had lost sight of the overall customer,” he adds, in its earlier emphasis on cross-selling. If the bank can make the team dynamic work and produce the longer-term results it hopes for, that will be a very positive development, he says.

 

Further, if employees can truly work as a team, and the incentives pay off in that context, “turnover may be reduced,” Kerstein adds.

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To be successful, Bank-at-Work programs must deliver effectively on three elements: partnership, value proposition and sales execution.

 

 

This article was originally published in BAI Banking Strategies on March 11, 2016

business woman in warehouse

 

It goes without saying that retail banking has many moving parts and Bank-at-Work programs are no exception. From target strategy to sales protocols and from results tracking to offer fulfillment, successful program implementation requires that banks maintain a comprehensive structure around their Bank-at-Work initiatives.

 

But within that program structure, three things stand out because without them you’ll just be spinning your wheels. They are: partnerships, value proposition and sales execution. The formula goes like this: partnerships get you in front of company decision makers; value proposition gets you in front of employees; and sales execution gets you incremental revenue. Sounds pretty simple, but the reality is very few programs actually focus on these key essentials, which is the root cause of why many retail Bank-at-Work initiatives run aground and get shelved.

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This article by Guenther Hartfeil, a Senior Consultant at Peak Performance Consulting Group, was originally published in BAI Banking Strategies on December 3. 2015.

 

Cross-selling can be effective if bankers put the right metrics in place, change behavior of sales staff, align incentives, re-focus on customer needs and eliminate policies that get in the way.

 

It’s common knowledge that it’s easier and cheaper to sell to existing customers than to attract new ones. However, according to studies at two major banking institutions, many cross-sell efforts result in little or no improvement in customer profitability.

 

There are two primary reasons for this. First, most banks do not have an effective way to accurately track “new-to-the-bank” funds. Typically, sales staff receives credit for new accounts opened and the bank projects value based on typical account balances.

 

But this does not account for the significant money churn between existing accounts. Analysis I conducted at one large financial institution showed that, depending on the deposit product type, between 25% and 79% of funds into newly opened accounts came from deposits already in the bank. For example, it’s pretty easy to switch account types, say, from one type of savings into another type of savings or one certificate of deposit (CD) term into another CD term, or open accounts for new family members by using existing account balances. Churn is less but still significant at 25% to 30% for brokerage accounts, non-auto direct loans or home equity credit.

 

Another reason that cross-selling may be ineffective is that projected balances or anticipated account activity may not materialize. New checking accounts usually start with a small balance and grow over time as the relationship builds, or as new customers wind down accounts at their previous financial institution. However, sales staff may inadvertently receive incentives to generate account volume, “widgets” rather than value because of product configuration, deficiencies in tracking capability, or both. For example, free checking – a product that many institutions have now discontinued – was so easy to sell that the overwhelming majority of new accounts opened at most banks was “free.” The number of accounts grew dramatically, but balances often did not follow.

 

Here are five strategies for making cross-selling more profitable:

 

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business woman in warehouseThe numbers are clear; Branch usage is declining. Fact is transactions conducted in bank branches is  dropping 5-6% per year due to direct deposit, debit, electronic bill pay and other check displacement. For example, with more and more of their customers shifting to digital, JPMChase has seen the blend of deposit transactions move from 90% teller / 10% ATM in 2007 to 42% Teller / 48% ATM / 10% mobile in 2014. A seismic change in just 7 years. The bottom line impact for Chase and everyone else is shrinking branch traffic leaves fewer sales opportunities: New accounts opened per branch FTE have declined 23% since 1997*.

 

At the same time, traditional media and direct response is becoming less efficient as a means of acquiring and converting prospects. In this environment, Workplace Banking can be a highly effective and efficient acquisition channel by reaching prospective customers at their workplace.

 

The sales recipe is timely: Workplace Banking puts bankers in front of prospects and customers they no longer see in branch with opportunity to sell, service, advise, and generate incremental revenue. The model elements are simple; marketing to employees where they congregate (at the worksite), where there’s a commonality (they work for the same firm), and where there’s an endorsement (from their employer), that the program is special. The result is a cost efficient sales and servicing model that builds an acquisition annuity stream: As company hires new employees, the bank has opportunity to acquire new customers.

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