Sales: Unleashing High-Impact Sales Enablement
Joanne Pollitt – CEB, now Gartner
In today’s challenging environment—where RMs are managing large books of increasingly sophisticated clients—commercial banking executives are looking for the best ways to unleash the performance of their sales force. In this session, Joanne Pollitt, Principal Executive Advisor of CEB, now Gartner will share research findings and why banks should invest in customer interaction, supported by process and examples of what banks must improve in customer-RM interaction.
Joanne Pollitt: One of the things that we have been working on at CEB, which is not part of Gartner, is trying to help executives specifically in commercial banking improve not only their workflows and efficiencies, but actually try to work with their customers, with their sales forces, to really understand what can drive improved performance. So we've done a couple of things. I'm gonna share with you today a little bit about my background just to maybe help you understand a little bit about why this is so important to me, individually and personally. Then what I'd like to do is share some research.
Joanne Pollitt: So I have been part of commercial banking, part of the industry for about … I'm not gonna admit it, many, many years. I originally started as a banker back in the mid 80's and was in banking, directly, for about 12 years. I then moved over to a technology company and helped build, and design, and sell, and implement the transaction banking solutions that many of you provide to your corporate clients. And had a really interesting time doing that based on my ability to not only help design those solutions but actually help banks implement them. I learned a ton in that process about how the marketing works, how you work with your clients, and it was just really fascinating.
Joanne Pollitt: So from there I actually went and did consulting work for about 10 years before I came to Gartner. So I did some consulting with the company in the banking and payment space so all of my history is really in the commercial world. So I'm talking to folks like you all day, every day, as part of my role at Gartner. What I do at Gartner is actually help banks and technology companies like PrecisionLender understand how they can really get the most insight from the research that we produce but also advisory services so that you can understand how to implement those in your own unique organizations. So what I'd like to do today is spend probably 45 minutes or so talking through a couple of pieces of research that we did that we had the opportunity to share with PrecisionLender at an event last year that we put on that they thought would be really interesting for all of you.
Joanne Pollitt: It's gonna be two pieces. The first is going to be just a little bit of background around commercial bank executives' priorities. Every year we do a survey of our members and we have several hundred members around the globe, specifically in commercial banking. And we try to understand what their key initiatives and priorities are going to be for the upcoming year. It helps us to find our agenda, make sure that we're on target with what they're doing. So I wanted to share a couple of highlights from that work with you to set the stage for what we really wanted to talk today about which is unleashing sales enablement. The reason we want to talk about that is for a lot of the reasons you heard Jim talk about.
Joanne Pollitt: I've been in this industry over 30 years, I have never seen change the way we're seeing change today, ever. The amount of change, the velocity of change, and how it's changing and impacting what you do every day not only in your organizations but how you engage with your clients. So one of the things that comes along with that is how do we actually work, and refine, and redefine the kinds of things that we need to do to be productive and to win in a new environment?
Joanne Pollitt: So the second piece of research is something that I'll share that just talks to work we did to try to help you understand what are some of the actual tools and supports that you can be providing …
Joanne Pollitt: Am I losing the mic?
Joanne Pollitt: Can you all hear me?
Joanne Pollitt: I'm pretty loud anyway, I'm from New York.
Joanne Pollitt: … that you guys could be providing to your teams to sort of get you to that next level. So with that, just to set the context of who we're talking to. In this initial lead up to the sales environment piece … As I've said we talk every year to our clients. I just wanted you to get a sense of the survey we did. Basically what's represented of primarily North America. You can see 59%, that's probably representative of our customer base, but we did have inputs from all the other regions: EMEA, North America, Latin America, and APAC. Then about 50% of the executives were actually senior business leaders, so they were in Executive Senior Leadership positions. Then the other half was really mid-management and a small percentage of folks that were really sort of in entry-level roles that somehow got hold of the survey and we didn't want to discard their input.
Joanne Pollitt: So what we did was we looked at three things really. We looked at what were their key primary business objectives as they were heading into 2018. So we did this poll in the October timeframe of 2017 and this is what they were telling us they were focusing on for 2018. You can see the first is delivering on customer expectations around products. I think that probably has a lot to do with some of the changes that we're seeing. Not only in competition with FinTechs, not only in some of the things that Jim talked about this morning about "How do we advance and make our offerings differentiated and how do we make them intelligent offerings to our customers?" So delivering on product is a key priority across the board for the executives that we've been speaking with.
Joanne Pollitt: The second was around reducing friction both in buying and in service. So I think it would probably not be a surprise, in fact, I'd like to see a show of hands. Who here feels like you've got your customer onboarding process nailed? Not a single hand, okay. Not terribly surprising so I spend a lot of time working with banks on this and looking at technologies that can help them onboard their clients in a more efficient way, and a more user friendly way, etc, etc. So that's about the sort of service at the outset but also in the sales process.
Joanne Pollitt: We have a lot of processes. We have a lot things that we need to deal with: regulations, we've got risk committees, we've got all kinds of things that make it challenging, probably to say the least, to actually have an efficient smooth sales process. So that is an area where folks wanna spend some time and make sure that they are able to address the challenges that they're seeing that've been more pronounced now with some of the regulatory changes with some of the competitors that are coming in, especially on the lending side, for small business. So this becomes a really important issue that we'll talk some more about.
Joanne Pollitt: The third one is probably not a surprise either. It's getting more operating efficiency but what was interesting was specifically around sales coverage. As we started to dig into that a little bit, and we'll show you some data later, there was really a drive around sales. And sales is a really really important growth. Everybody has growth targets and I think this year we have been hearing that the growth targets are becoming … Well their double digit for many organizations. For the first time, and you can see it here on the top concern, for the first time in the last four years it is commercial banking executives being concerned about getting that growth from new customers, not trying to cross-sell their existing customer base. Usually cross-sell is the priority and now we're looking at new customer acquisition and with that comes a whole set of new challenges and things that people need to be prepared to do as they're out there doing acquisition, perhaps in some cases for the first time with cold calling clients.
Joanne Pollitt: The other area of concern was really much smaller. Actually it was smaller than we expected it to be and that was around operational efficiency. So we've been talking about revenue growth, and we've been talking about efficiencies, and we've been talking about cost cutting for the last several years. What was interesting to me was only 28% actually said that that was sort of their biggest concern and we'll dig into a little bit more of what that means in a moment.
Joanne Pollitt: Then as a result, we asked some questions around where they were thinking things were actually going to change in 2018 for them. So where were they actually planning to experience and see changes as a result of the first two buckets here. As you can see technology and products … The good news here is these are aligned with their business objectives. Sometimes that doesn't always work out that way so it was kind of refreshing to see that this year. But that the top priority around what is gonna be changing was around products and technology. Obviously the commercial banking business is just so dependent on technology and as technology continues to evolve and change that dependency is only getting stronger and stronger, not weaker. It's a challenge and it's interesting.
Joanne Pollitt: We'll talk about talent in a little while but so much of the commercial bank and the value proposition that we put out into the marketplace is based on our talent. We have the smartest talent, we have the best RMs, we have the most knowledgeable this, or that, and the other thing. But at the end of the day the way that customers are actually wanting to access products and services from you may be changing and that might not be the best way to go about putting things out there.
Joanne Pollitt: Customer experience I think is trying to get at that removing the friction. Customer experience is not new, obviously. I think probably everybody in the room has had customer experience initiatives going on probably for years and years at this point in time. I think some have nailed it. Some have nailed it really nicely, others still really have a way to go. So looking at different ways of trying to enhance that customer experience is something that will be getting a lot of attention and investment dollars as well. Then the sales model is kind of a third place where they expect to see change. So there's kind of a theme here around growth and sales and obviously the adoption of technology to enable new ways of doing business with your customers.
Joanne Pollitt: So we were interested and did a little bit of follow up after we did the initial survey on the economic aspects of this. As I said a minute ago, what you'll see here is fully 70%, their top economic concern is growth. As I said a moment ago 50% through new customers and 20% through acquisition, or cross-sell of existing clients I should say. The rest of that, 30% almost, is focused on cost but interestingly achieving that not through cost cutting but through operational efficiencies. So another area where I think we need to see how we can leverage some of the technologies that are out there. How we can do things in new ways to try to become more effective and drive down the cost of doing business with customers, and especially with acquiring new customers.
Joanne Pollitt: I just laid out here, just to give you a sense, sort of by business line. So we looked at the critical objectives, and we looked at it across three segments. We looked at it from small business, which is revenues up to 5 million. Business banking, which we defined as 5 million to 20 million. And middle-market which was 20 million to 500 million. Interestingly, the objectives and probably good, are not too disparate but they're pretty close. What I think is interesting about this slide is if you look at the different areas and what some of the objectives are … The darker brownish it looks like, I guess. Tan it looks like. The tan or the darker color is how important this is. So as an example, if we look at the bottom: Removing RMs' administrative and compliance burdens. 72% of small business executives, 77% of business banking executives, and 67% of middle-market executives thought that was critically important. If you look at the number below that, it's how confident they are in their execution of doing that.
Joanne Pollitt: So while they think it's very important to remove that burden, only 33% of executives in small business think they actually have the ability to do that or can execute on that sufficiently. If you look at the one above that: Scaling bank supports for RM customer quality interactions. The two things on this slide that are probably driving that growth more than some of the others. Again huge gaps in terms of how important it is versus their confidence in their ability to actually deliver upon that. I think it's just worth noting that as we say that growth is important, as we say we have to go after new customers for the first time in many years, we don't feel particularly confident in our ability to necessarily have a supports in place that we need to do that effectively. So what do we do?
Joanne Pollitt: Probably a couple of years ago we would've said "We'll bring in more people. This is a relationship business. This is commercial. This isn't retail, we have very important relationships with individual customers. We know them, they know us. This is what it's all about. It's a relationship business. So we'll bring in more RMs to sell and get the growth that we're looking for." There's a couple of issues with that. Predominately in today's market … The data that you're looking at is actually on the left hand side of the slide, shows you the percentage of RMs who's loan generation by tenure. So when you bring in a new loan officer, even if they're an experienced hire, in the first two years that they're with you they're only at 38% of the production volume higher than the median. It takes three to five years for them to actually hit that 55% mark.
Joanne Pollitt: So one of the things that I love … We do a lot of workshops with clients and one of the things that we can't not have a conversation around even if it's not on the agenda, is talent because it's such a critical part of the business. Everybody gets excited and everybody wants to say "Oh, I'm hiring the best. We're gonna bring in the best people, and we're gonna train them up, and we're gonna get them out on the road, and they are gonna start making an impact as soon as they get here because we're taking them from our competitor and we know they're good." Every four years we've run this. And we've done it now, this is the third time. We have the new set of data coming in actually soon. The data does not change on the left side of this screen. If anything it's actually becoming a harder story to tell. It takes longer for people even though they're experienced to understand your business, to understand your policies, to understand how you sell and all those types of things that go into them being productive immediately.
Joanne Pollitt: The other thing to look at on the right-hand side of the page is tenure, the average RM tenure. We're not in 2010 anymore. RMs think they can get jobs in other places and they can, you probably know it because you've probably been poaching from some other organizations in some cases. But the average tenure of an RM is three years in seat. So if it takes us two to five years to get them to be at the production levels we want them to be at and they're only in seat for three years, probably going out and trying to recruit experienced hires might not be the best thing for us to do, if you're looking for immediate impact. Of course we always need to be in the marketplace, we always need to be looking for talent but I think you need to think about the fact that just because they're coming in we need to still not have an assumption that they're gonna hit the ground as quickly. No matter how much coaching, training, etc. we give them.
Joanne Pollitt: So if we can't bring in more, can't we just get the ones we have to do more? I think this is probably a strategy that many in the room have employed, my own company included. So we have people that we say “Okay, they're good, they're up, they're running. We need them to do more in order to get to where we need to be." And I think that, if you look on the left-hand side, the things we have done in giving them more work to do is actually not really probably going to impact your growth goals and your targets. So 53% almost of RMs that were surveyed said that their time none-client facing has increased rather than decreased. 22% said no change, so that's probably okay, and then a good 18% said it had actually decreased. But what's really interesting is the right-hand side of the page and kind of the gap in between the two. If you look and you see, 69% of the people who said that the time has increased that they're spending on non-client facing activities has increased between 20% and 50%, that's huge. If you think about your workforce and the amount of time that they're spending doing these types of things that could represent a day in a standard 40 or 50 hour work week.
Joanne Pollitt: Many people will do this and they'll work the 60 hour work week in order to do the non-client facing things that have to get done. Not all will, but they'll do it. They will bring home their book of business, they'll get their incentives, and they'll be happy. But when they finally figure out that they can go down the street perhaps and not have to do it at that level and they start to think about what they're actually putting in … We're starting to hear a lot of feedback from RMs about how the expectations of what they're expected to do that is non-client facing is changing the way they think about the companies and whether they want to stay with those companies. They don't mind putting in the time, they don't mind doing the hours, but they don't want it to be on non-client facing work. So we've gotta think about "What do we do to take away some of that stuff? Is it other people we can give it to? Are there tools and technologies that can address this for them?" So you're trying to help.
Joanne Pollitt: This is data that we collect every year. We do a global survey of technology executives across the globe on where they are investing, specifically in commercial banking. We do it for commercial retail wealth etc. This is actually commercial banking data. And what you'll see here is you know there's a problem. You are trying, you're investing in technologies to try to overcome this. If you look at the bottom of the page … I think this is a great page because it shows you across all of these different dimensions whether it be pipeline management for forecasting, whether it be pricing configuration etc. More than half of the banks surveyed are making major investments now in these technologies.
Joanne Pollitt: So the way we asked the question in the survey is “Are you actually investing in a replacement or an adoption of this technology in the next 18 months? Or do you have it and you're not planning to change it? Or do you not know what you're gonna do? Or do you not plan to do anything?" So the really good news is 50% in all of these different places people actually investing and working and have initiatives ongoing. I think a lot of that is based on the new technologies that are out there, AI, predictive analytics. I was doing a session a couple of weeks ago and it was almost, how shall I say? There was a brag show, all the companies, all the banks, wanted to talk about what they were doing in commercial banking, in treasury management, using predictive analytics and AI. I asked the same question of the same exact group a year ago and it was like one or two hands went up. "Well we're testing it. We're doing this, we're doing that." People are actually starting to really make investments, they're starting to find the right use cases and they're trying to do things with that to address this.
Joanne Pollitt: The not so good news is that in this sales environment readiness assessment that I'm gonna jump to in a minute, the RMs that we surveyed are telling us that these tools that they have today are not actually helping them. So the question we asked them was … They had a five point scale for CRM, for pricing tools, for pipeline management, and for sales prospecting. "Are the tools that you have, to what extent do they help you manage your sales prospects, manage your sales process, or understand your customers better?" And you can see here the percentage that said they were either neutral, so they didn't think it was helping, or they didn't agree with the statement. So when you think about the investments that have already been made, it's kind of not the not so happy slide but I feel it's important for people to understand what your Rms are actually saying. We've got a whole nother set of data if anybody's interested you can stop me after the session on what the sales manager say. And it's a very interesting dichotomy what sales manager view things is versus with the RMs' view is but it's just interesting to be aware of and to be knowledgeable about.
Joanne Pollitt: As you think about this and you think about where is the spend going that you're investing in … Some of these CRM for example. CRM solutions have been in place in many organizations for a long time. On the prior slide we saw that people are investing in pipeline management and in other customer relationship management type solutions. Some of this is just reflective of some of the immaturity of the implementations that are out there and some of the technologies. So not that anybody's done a bad job, not that people aren't trying to do the right thing but I think when we do this next year we'll probably start to see a different set of answers.
Joanne Pollitt: So that kind of takes us to the sales enablement work that we did. I'm gonna explain this kind of slowly because it gets kind of confusing if you haven't been in the weeds of it for the last eight months like many of us have been. But basically we set out to try to understand what are the actual tools and what are the processes or the techniques that you can equip your sales force with that actually are gonna have an impact on the bottom line. On that RM's productivity and specifically on the revenue. So we went out and we talked to 24 different institutions, actually we surveyed 24 different institutions, 35 sales managers, and over 1500 RMs. We deployed a survey that had over 50 questions, I think it was about 55 questions, on a whole variety of different topics and we asked them on that five point scale to evaluate the different questions. We asked them questions around their team composition, around compensation, around culture, around sales process, around the tools and the technologies that they have in place to help them do their jobs. So we did that and we collected all that information back and what we did was we put a model in place to sort of put a stake in the ground around the effectiveness of RMs. So we did model to just set the bar.
Joanne Pollitt: We then decided to go out and get some more qualitative information. So we actually interviewed, I think it was about 25. It probably has it here … 26 institutions across the different business lines to try to understand more directly how they were going about doing different things around some of these different what we call process steps. And so we found some really interesting things out. There were some surprises here and they may be a little bit counterintuitive so I'll go into that in a minute but before I do I wanted to just share sort of what those different approaches were.
Joanne Pollitt: What you'll see here is a list of 20 different supports that most organizations are providing to their sales teams to try to improve their effectiveness. We started to bucket them together. We started to see some common themes and so we started putting them in logical places and I will be the first to agree that these are not [inaudible 00:23:08] so something could potentially live in a different bucket but these made sense just from the exercise we were trying to do. So we looked at talent support. We hear a ton, a ton, a ton, a ton about how organizations are coaching. They've got new coaching things in place, they've got training. We are doing new mentoring kinds of things. So the whole system around talent is been around for a long time. It is being modernized and updated but talent is obviously an area that's critically important and always will be important.
Joanne Pollitt: The second bucket that we put together is really around what seemed to us to be a theme that was coming through around making the bank more efficient. It was a little bit more internally focused than it was externally focused. So the second set of support, we call process supports. So these were things like, "Do you have customer segmentation strategies in place? What is the market coverage? Do you have a usable CRM system?" Not just a CRM system, a usable CRM system. "What is your sales process?" Etc. So just things that are really actually intended to make the banker more efficient at what they're doing and better prepared to be out in the field. And then the third one was what were calling customer interaction supports. And this was a really interesting conversation. This was hard for a lot of people to articulate. These were things that people were trying to get in place to really try to demonstrate and fulfill on customer need. So things around having commercial insight. When I come out and meet with you what kind of insight am I gonna provide to you that you didn't have before I walked through your door today. How am I proving that value? The differentiation that were bringing as an organization. Customer needs understanding.
Joanne Pollitt: There's a pretty good example right now in the real world around interest-rate environment right? So I do a lot of work with a group of … We call it an executive circle and it's the heads of treasury management for 25 North American banks. And we get together three times a year and we spend … Two times a year for three days, and we spend time discussing issues that are happening in the industry: faster payments, real time payments, interest-rate environment. Everybody wants to talk about the interest-rate environment and the challenge many many people are having is that their sales teams have never been in the rate environment that we're in today. And they don't know how to work with their customers to try to help them understand the impact of that. It's fascinating to sit in a room with a bunch of bankers like I used to be, and I still sort of consider myself one, and we don't get that because we didn't grow up in the last 10 years of this. But this is a real challenge so people really need to make sure they have an understanding of what your customer needs are and how you can address those needs.
Joanne Pollitt: So there's a list here. We'll go through a couple of them. Value proposition: what is your unique value proposition to the market? Not just what's your value proposition. I did an exercise in a presentation a couple of weeks ago. I took off of the web, off of different bank sites their value propositions. And they were about eight banks in the room and I put them up on the wall and I asked the bankers to go identify theirs. And there was like this horror look. One of them finally raised his hand and said "I can't even get up and do it. I'm so embarrassed, they're all the same. They're exactly the same." We're local. We're global, but we're local. The list was just identical practically for all of them. So really trying to make sure that your team understands what those things are is important. So differentiate your products.
Joanne Pollitt: There are two on here that kind of came as a surprise to us and they were hugely important. Those were customer accountability and sales discretion. And this was all about … It was partly culture but it was also about just how much discretion does the actual sales person have in the process whilst they're going through the sale. Well, I'll show you some information that shows a correlation between improved performance and those two attributes or supports.
Joanne Pollitt: So before we talk about where you should be investing and what types of supports you should be focusing on, this is where we're focusing today. This is based on those conversations that we had, the qualitative conversations after we did a modeling. We look at talent, 39% are focusing their investments in talent and supports for the talent side. So we want leaders to focus on more coaching, we're constantly training people, we're trying to get new bankers ranked up faster. Well we know how that's gonna go because we just saw the data about how long it takes those bankers ranked up.
Joanne Pollitt: Process support, biggest one that people are investing in for obvious reasons I think. There is an efficiency factor to this, there is a not just from the bankers point of view but also just how do we actually enable them to get out there and do what they need to be doing and sell. So they're trying remove bureaucracy. They're trying to save time. Enhancing [inaudible 00:28:11] capabilities. Those types of things that are really more process focused is really where the bulk of the investment is going right now. Customer interaction supports are getting about 18%. People said that's really where they're focusing their time. Now I'm not gonna say that you focus exclusively on only one of these or two of these. You probably need to be doing things in all of them but if you're looking for incremental lift on where you can get something. I think what we're gonna show you was surprising to us.
Joanne Pollitt: This is it. What mattered most was improving customer interaction supports so we had an 11% lift. So the RMs who said that they … The bucket of things that were in the customer interaction supports that we were just looking at. That said that their needs were being met effectively or better than effectively had an 11% higher performance overall than those that did not. More interestingly, adding talent independently … So we did bunch of analysis. We did all kinds of analysis. You can see it looks like the old data centers in our building, it's terrible. But we did some regression analysis and we did some modeling of things and the only single support that independently changed anything statistically significantly was customer interaction supports and that's the 11%. Talent supports alone did not move the bar. That's not to say you shouldn't invest in talent, but if you're gonna make an incremental investment and your gonna choose talent you might want to rethink that and perhaps look at something else. The big bang is obviously when you improve the customer interaction supports and process supports. So those two together gave you almost a 23% lift.
Joanne Pollitt: So the things that we see here that's sort of counter intuitive is it's not invest in the people. It's not go hire more people and do all of those things that we've traditionally done. It is thinking about empowering the people that you have and it's thinking about "What are the kinds of things that we can give them? What are those support tools that we can provide that are gonna enable them to do this?" And this is actual real data of live banks so its real. So if you're looking for a reason or a rational to try to build a case for doing any of this feel free to use this data. Feel free to contact me, I can provide you as I said, buckets and buckets of data.
Joanne Pollitt: And I think one of the things that's behind this is that customers want outcomes. Right? We have done a really, really, really, really good job over the last decades of giving customers what we think they want. What we've put here is sort of the traditional what customers want and sort of how that is changing. So I think in the history customers wanted access. These are business they wanted to be close to a branch where they could make their deposits, they wanted to have local knowledge, they wanted to have Suzie come down and have a meeting with them when they needed to talk about a payroll issue. There were things that they wanted people to be available, they wanted access to the products and services that you had and we gave it to them. Of course they wanted financing, they always want financing. We gave that to them and we did really well. We gave them local staff, we gave them RMs who could do different types of products, that were insightful about what they were doing, that could provide solutions, and they knew that product set really really well. And then we gave them the loan which was probably the most important thing at a point in time.
Joanne Pollitt: But as we've listened to all of the things that are changing in the world today and we're listening to how customers are changing and what they want, we really need to be aware of what it is that that means today. So I think what you can see is, they still want access. It's not that they don't care, it's just the way they want that access may be different. They may want that access at the tip of their phone. They might just want to call and ask a question. They probably really want to go learn about a product or service, in fact their data shows this for business owners, via the internet and then come to you when they've already made their purchasing decision. So by the time they come to you with a need they've already investigated. 57% of the work has been done so you've only got a short window to sort of bring them in.
Joanne Pollitt: But I think the point of this is really they are thinking about the outcome for the customer and what the customer wants from us now as organizations is really to be delivering business outcomes. Not products and services the way we talk about them today but how are you making my life easier? How are you making my life better? How are you doing for things for me that you don't do today? So the obvious integrated payables or automated receivables is like a very common example that we often talk about when we think about how do we make our customers' lives easier. If we can automate all of those processes and free up time and lower their cost, etc. That's a win. And we're still working on getting that right I think but this goes way beyond that. It goes into a new types of products and services. I have to think about the Alexa conversation. I didn't want to say her name in case she's gonna start talking to me. But we really need to be thinking about customer based outcomes. I think that the timeliness, the on-demand, the access channels, all of that is all a part of that and we need to start talking to our customers in ways that talk about their outcome. What they're gonna get as a benefit from doing this versus how we're just going to meet their needs= with a product set.
Joanne Pollitt: So when we think about the interaction supports that help drive outcomes we kind of put together a little map here. In order for RMs to be able to do this effectively there are sort of three pieces to the puzzle. The first is really that guidance, so they understand what the customer need really is. The whole value proposition is at the heart of that. So do you have a strong value proposition? Do you have it articulated in such a way that your RMs are able to easily understand it and craft it as necessary for the situation that they might be in. Really making sure that they are equipped with a really good understanding of what that value proposition is. They need a unique insight and they need products that are unique to deliver to their clients. So these are the things that are starting to … When we see the RMs who say they have these things and they have the tools to enable them getting access to things, that's where we see all the high performers. That's exactly the mark where they go over the top. So some of the key things you can do there. And we just talked about business outcomes but how are you gonna articulate that business outcome to your customers when you're out there? What are the messages that you can be delivering? And how are those messages being delivered into the sales force?
Joanne Pollitt: The differentiated services and products, we can spend a whole day talking about differentiated products and services, right? It's still the holy grail in some cases of what we can actually do in the commercial bank that hasn't been commoditized but the opportunities with technologies and the opportunities with partnerships with FinTechs, it's endless. With AI, the data, everything. It's sort of the most exciting time to be in banking and the most horrible time to be in banking because it's just so hard every day. I don't think a day goes by when we don't hear this transformation initiative and the business ecosystem is expanding and it goes on and on and on. And the regs are gonna change this and the way we do business and the way we interact. And what about privacy? So it's hard, it's really hard but there are things that you can put in the hands of your sales people that are proven to show that their revenue numbers go up.
Joanne Pollitt: The last piece, and this was sort of an interesting one for us, was discretion and accountability. So to tailor the client interaction is not common among all the data sets that we look through. But when we saw where we had the high high performers they had a lot more discretion in making decisions, whether that be pricing, whether it be terms, and not even just those type of things. Whether it was just ability to manage the process differently. That was a very high on the enabling factor list. It made it just much smarter. They seemed smarter. They were more confident but they were actually able to work more independently with their customer to try to bring in the book of business. So I think the key there is, as I said earlier, its not just one of these. You need to do these in conjunction with each other but you really need to think about, if you're gonna make an investment in something, and you're gonna do the same talent thing and the coaching thing that you've been doing and doing and doing for years and years maybe we want to try something different. And then start thinking about the customer outcomes.
Joanne Pollitt: So rather than having the page that we showed earlier that talked about meeting customers' needs and for fulfilling on customer needs. Thinking about helping customers achieve their outcomes is rhe way we want to start thinking about that. And the place that you're gonna win there. The place that if you only do one thing, you need to do customer interaction support. If you can do more than one thing, you want to do customer interaction and process supports together to get that big lift. And again not saying you don't do anything around talent but if you're trying to make an incremental adjustment or an investment those are the places that you're gonna get the higher bang for your buck.
Joanne Pollitt: So what does this really look like? When we talk about enabling outcomes. It's kind of like everybody tells us we need to be the digitization of the world is changing the way we do things, and we need to think outside the box, and we need to think five years down the road, and two years down the road. But I don't think anybody's ever told us and this is what it looks like, right? That's for us to figure out. Believe me if I had that, I'd bring you all over to my room and we'd do something really amazing but what we mean and what we're trying to do and being practical about how you work with your RMs around these things or you think about them. They're not different necessarily it's the way we present outwards to the clients.
Joanne Pollitt: We talk about customer segmentation, right? Market coverage. We used to do, or we do, many banks still today. We're trying to enable efficiency and so were gonna align our resources to a service preference model that we have in place based on the revenue of the client, based on the sector they're in, based on a whole set of different criteria. How about instead you start to have your segmentation be based on customer outcomes. So this type of customer, and it doesn't necessarily have to be all in the same industry, but this type of customer with revenues between X and Y that are in this phase of their lifecycle actually are probably going to be needing X, Y, and Z in the future. So they're probably gonna be expanding and they're gonna need financing or they're in that end stage of their life. They're gonna be moving out and closing down, its a family business. How do you think about customers in a different way as you think about what they're trying to achieve as they run their business every day.
Joanne Pollitt: From leads identification let's not just get the biggest list of prospects that we can possibly find and then go chase those prospects. How about if we try to identify a more precise list of customers where we can actually look at them by a segment, and understand what that segment needs, and then really target your approach and your solution to them from a CRM perspective. I almost hate to talk about CRM. I feel like banks have made such an investment in CRM, they're continuing to make investments in CRM and it just hasn't yet necessarily gotten to where it needs to be. Don't give up. Really don't give up, it's gonna get there. I think that a lot of organizations are walking before they can run and then they're implementing lots of different things and point solutions in different parts of the organization. Start to really think about your enterprise and how you can actually enable your CRM system to provide information out to your RMs that's actually useful information for them to go use. Not just have it be sort of the warehouse of information about an account.
Joanne Pollitt: We talk about specialists and internal collaboration, and this is kind of an interesting one. Probably many organizations in here have specialists, or people who go out and actually do sales support and try to close a deal when it gets to a really technical nature or it gets really deep in and you don't have just an RM who can manage that process. Have we thought about specialization in different ways? So not necessarily you are the funds transfer product person who is the specialist for all things payments but maybe you are the the liquidity management expert who understands from A to Z the lifecycle of this business and you can actually go in and do some coaching and help them understand what they need, at what point in time. So I think that's sort of important.
Joanne Pollitt: And the last thing I just wanted to mention was an ethical sales culture. It was really really interesting how high this scored. So the people that were in the high performing buckets all ranked all high on the ethical sales culture question. So that was kind of surprising to us, not that banks are unethical but that ethics seemed to play such a part of that. I think part of that was sort of around the empowerment as well. So it was interesting to see that. Instead of focusing on what we can't do, and compliance, and all of that kind of thing why don't we think about how do we drive profitability while meeting the customer's need. What are some of the different ways we can go about in doing that.
Joanne Pollitt: So those were some of the things that we saw in the data. As I've said I've got reams and reams of data on this if anybody is specifically interested, I'm happy to share more. I did have one example to try to make it a little bit real and it was actually a case study that we did around exactly this. So we had a client, this is BDC bank in Canada, for anybody who knows them. They had been given an ambitious goal to grow the bank by 10% and they were not allowed to do any of the things on their standard service model that you see on the left. So they weren't gonna hire more bankers to make new customers for them. They were not gonna have bankers do more and create new things for them to be doing. No new branches, you're not gonna get this by brick and mortar. We are not going to suddenly have these crazy aggressive sales goals from a cross-sell perspective and we're not going into new markets. Go penetrate the markets that we're in be creative and understand your customer needs and how are we gonna grow by 10%.
Joanne Pollitt: So they implemented what they called a customer preference service model. All of the RMs went through a process where they evaluated their book of business and they actually found that they had, I think it was 32% it's on the next slide, of their accounts that were actually low usage account. They didn't need a lot of handholding, so basically in a nutshell what they did was they put together a customer preference model. So the RMs came up with what they thought the customer preference model was, they brought in some focus groups. So they basically … The solution is here on this slide. The bifurcated the high touch low touch customers, but they didn't just do it based on the RM saying this is a low touch customer because maybe they were low touch because they weren't being pursued. So they actually went out and talked to their customers. They did some customer panels to figure out what they were good at and what they weren't so good at. What they were doing well with they were not doing well. They surveyed the customers.
Joanne Pollitt: So those customers that were in your pool got a survey and they were asked, how did you want to be engaged? And what's your preferred channel? All those types of questions. As I said, yeah 32% of the bank was made up of low activity. So what they did was they put them in a low touch customer segment and then they had the high touch customers. These are just the characteristics what they look like. They were able to reduce the high-performing RMs' account portfolio significantly so that they could focus on attracting new business. So the low touch customers were given to the less experienced or less successful RMs but they also didn't leave it at that. They actually had to work with those customers. They didn't just forget them. They sent them bi-weekly emails about things. They look and followed traffic on their websites. They went out and did some education and so they would send them every other week an email with information. Not a pitch, not a product sale, but just information that they thought was useful based on that customer's lifecycle business, where they were looking at things etc. And so it brought the engagement level of those low touch customers up as well. And people could move from one segment to the other.
Joanne Pollitt: Then we had the inbound stuff which was customer questions coming into the call center. So as they got some of these emails, as they started to be engaging more with the bank, the activity rates went up. Then really the high touch, they empowered their sales force. They gave them iPads which enabled them to do all of the things that you know iPad can do now. They can collect information while they're in the field, saves time, saves money all of those kinds of things. But it was really interesting to see that the adoption rate of iPads for the RMs was 60% after four months. When we looked at data like this about two years ago the adoption rate was like 14%, so it's kind of interesting how that has evolved.
Joanne Pollitt: But I think though the key point here is the preparation that goes into the meetings for the high touch clients and the low touch clients is very different from what they did before. It's much more focused, it's much more insightful, it's much more based on that particular organization than what they were doing. And so as you can see here they had a 10% growth. They achieved that. They got 12% change in new customer acquisition. So for all those folks that are out there that we surveyed that are looking for growth for new customers something to think about. And client satisfaction is a 10 time fold on how customer satisfaction rates have jumped.
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