Research conducted by the Bank Administration Institute and Xchange reveals that US banks are failing to capitalise on emerging sales opportunities. While the sales culture is strong in the US, banks are struggling to provide customer-facing staff with the right tools and technology to effectively manage their customer relationships.
The report, 'Survival at the Front Lines: Best Practices in Building a Sales Culture', examines large, mid-sized, and community banks and identifies the best practices of successful sales-oriented financial services companies. It presents a core set of eighteen best practices for the development of an effective sales culture, revolving around people, processes, information and technology, and leadership and strategy.
"Many of the best practices represent effective and disciplined tactics used by successful organisations to develop and encourage a customer-value-based sales culture. Techniques such as profiling high-potential customers, modeling sales behaviors by executives, and formalising mentoring relationships are just some of the ways these organisations are able to sustain a winning sales culture over time," says Thomas Johnson, president and CEO, BAI.
The study reveals common organisation stress points in implementing a sales culture:
* nearly 80% of employees at sales banks say that there is too much paperwork;
* 59% feel that priorities change frequently;.
* 50% feel their sales goals are unfair;
* Only 61% of employees feel that their executive management is actively involved in creating a customer-focused bank.
The study also examines challenges that banking organisations face in integrating internal databases to share information at the front line. Seventy per cent of banks in the study still cannot deliver a full view of the customer relationship to the front line - the information the front line says they want the most. For many, information about non-traditional products such as insurance and investments is still missing. Furthermore, only 65% of the banks surveyed have profitability information. Most of these banks already share or plan to share their profitability information with their front line.
The research also uncovers challenges for banks integrating sales strategy with customers' needs. Although banks have invested heavily in information systems and data warehouses, only 47% of customers surveyed agree with the statement: "The bank uses information about me to better meet my needs."
Nonetheless, more than half of the customers interviewed in the study agree bank employees do make appropriate referrals to meet their needs. In addition, 29% of the banks surveyed are experimenting with predictive models to address this issue.