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Integrating Marketing and Sales

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by Price
October 26, 2015

By Jim Schneider

Integration of sales and marketing is one of the major challenges facing banks today.

Marketing and sales decisions should be collaborative. However, in many banks these collaborative decisions result either in stalemate or a bad compromise.

What is the attitude toward marketing and sales in your bank? Take the following quiz to find out.

Answer either “yes” or “no” to each question:

  1. We have a corporate sales manager.
  2. The word “sales” is used freely, and there’s little evidence of product pushing or sales discomfort.
  3. Marketing is at the table for meetings on product development, pricing and sales planning.
  4. Focus groups and other forms of research are used to drive decisions on branding, product development and sales strategy.
  5. Senior executives are visibly involved in sales and branch evaluations.
  6. Marketing and sales report to the same person.
  7. Sales goals are negotiated quarterly with each salesperson.
  8. Employees here are motivated to give extra effort by our sales compensation and recognition for top performers.
  9. Our sales and marketing strategies and reward systems are closely aligned with our corporate financial goals.
  10. Employees here make good utilization of our information systems for selling.
  11. We have a clearly defined preferred way of selling here that supports our desired customer experience.
  12. Managers here provide frequent and specific coaching feedback to their employees based on frequent observations of their selling.
  13. We have a dedicated sales force for prospecting.
  14. Salespeople seem satisfied with the number of qualified leads marketing is creating.
  15. Accountability for development of high value relationships is assigned to individual salespeople.
  16. Most of our employees can easily explain how we’re clearly different and better than our competitors.
  17. Every salesperson here receives here receives several days of sales training each year, and marketing has a role in that training.
  18. The company has a recruiting, testing, interviewing and orientation process that consistently produces new hires who can sell.
  19. Our sales process and sales support tools are based more on getting information than on giving information.
  20. Branch personnel here believe marketing gives them the support they need for selling.

Scoring: Count the number of “yes” answers, and score 1 point for each “yes” answer. Scores of 16 to 20: Your sales and marketing team has the “feel of success.” Scores of 11 to 15: You’re ahead of most banks in the industry. Scores of 6 to 10: You’re making progress, but you have some work to do. Scores of 0 to 5: It’s time to get started.

Marketing needs to take on a new role supporting income growth:

  • Represent the customer’s voice in product development and service delivery.
  • Create market differentiation.
  • Protect the brand.
  • Integrate marketing and sales.
  • Mobilize support for what’s most important to creating income.

There are different forms of selling in a financial services institution, and personnel should be hired based on the desired personality characteristics associated with each type of selling.

Here are several sample forms of selling found within the bank together with a brief description of ideal job responsibilities.

Sales Management. (Executive Management/Department Heads)

  • Define big goals for sales and customer satisfaction and sell employees on the importance and probability of achieving them.
  • Visibly and passionately champion the use of preferred behavior, strategies and coaching practices.
  • Ask managers frequently about their current sales priorities and their progress against their 90-day plan sales goals.
  • Recognize and reward managers who successfully follow our preferred sales process and who recruit, develop and retain salespeople who can sell.

Front-Line Sales and Service Supervision. (Assistant Managers/Service and Referral Team Supervisors)

  • Create frequent opportunities for employees to practice preferred behavior.
  • Observe each direct report’s selling behavior weekly and give specific, constructive feedback.
  • Hold brief daily huddles to set sales and service priorities, to build optimism and enthusiasm, and to review progress against goals.
  • Encourage and recognize employee use of preferred sales and service behavior daily.
  • Create an optimistic, upbeat sales environment for your sales and service team.

Consultative Selling. (Personal Bankers/Branch Sales Advisors/Branch Managers)

  • Identify the deposit, investment and loan business that customers have elsewhere and at least one current or emerging upsell opportunity over the next six months and ask for that business.
  • Call new customers back within three days after opening an account and suggest at least one additional way the bank can help the customer.
  • Maximize the number of customers seen daily by getting down to business fast and seeking information for at least 70 percent of your conversation time with customers.
  • Adapt the way you give information to customers based on their viewpoint, including describing the bank’s products using benefits personalized to each customer.
  • Upsell quickly by describing add-ons as ways to make existing products better.

Engagement Selling. (In-Store Adviser/Universal Banker/Assisted Service Advisers)

  • Approach and engage customers and convert assisted service transactions into sales opportunities.
  • Conduct frequent business development activities outside the branch.
  • Maximize the number of customers seen daily by getting down to business fast and seeking information for at least 70 percent of the conversation time with customers.
  • Adapt the way you give information to customers based on their viewpoint, including describing the bank’s products using benefits personalized to each customer.
  • Upsell quickly by describing add-ons as ways to make existing products better.

Service. (Tellers/Reception/Servicing Staff)

  • Make every customer feel important by making eye contact, projecting respect, energy and friendliness, and by asking at least one question to establish a personal connection.
  • Create sales opportunities by asking at least 80 percent of customers a “specials selling” question during their transaction and asking interested customers to take a next step action such as meeting with an adviser.
  • Use a benefit statement and sell the bank’s adviser expertise when describing products and referring customers to a product specialist.

Competitive Selling (Business Development Officers)

  • Respond immediately to sales inquiries and referred leads.
  • Begin each week with an organized prospecting plan for continuously contacting target prospects and target referral sources and make these calls even if you’re busy.
  • On your first sales calls, sell prospects on the value of you putting together “some specific ideas” to present on a second call.
  • Seek information for at least 70 percent of your conversation time with prospects, and identify at least one opportunity for another business line in each conversation.
  • Stay in frequent contact with qualified prospects by sending them useful information tailored to their interests.

Complex Selling (Commercial Lenders)

  • For each sales call, prepare ahead a sales game plan, some insights to share about the prospect’s business, and a specific prospect action objective for the conversation.
  • Plan your call strategy and sales follow-up based on each prospect’s stage in your sales pipeline, allocating sales time disproportionately to continuously follow-up to your best qualified target list prospects.
  • On your first sales calls, sell the prospects on the value of you putting together “some specific ideas” to present on a second call.
  • Conduct a comprehensive relationship review each year with your high value and high potential relationships and involve multiple influencers within the customer’s organization.
  • Network with target influences to create referred leads.
  • Stay in frequent contact with qualified prospects by sending them useful information tailored to their interests.

The single most important factor in generating successful sales at a bank is using a sales manager.

Jim Schneider is the president and CEO of Schneider Sales Management Inc., Centennial, Colo., a company that provides sales development for the financial services industry. He presented a workshop Oct. 4 at the ABA Bank Marketing Conference, Denver, on the topic, “The Game Changer: Powerful Strategies that Fully Align Retail, Sales and Marketing.” Telephone: (303) 221-4511.