To Build Revenue, Lay a Strong Foundation

By Stemper, Robert G. | American Banker, February 12, 1996 | Go to article overview

To Build Revenue, Lay a Strong Foundation


Stemper, Robert G., American Banker


For many banks, revenue growth has been an elusive goal. It's not for lack of trying: Millions of dollars have been spent on sales training, product development, advertising, incentives, target marketing, cobranding, etc.

Why have the results been so disappointing?

Success in generating revenue growth, like success in most things, is primarily an issue of will. Soldiers who don't want to fight can't win a battle, however well equipped or well trained.

Sure, skills and support are important, but they must be viewed as secondary to supplementing or enhancing a strong-willed commitment to increase revenue.

There are a number of revenue building blocks that management can ensure are in place. I'll talk about six of them.

Commitment to results. It's not enough to begin with a nebulous notion like we will increase revenue. The conversation about increasing revenue must begin with a specific desired result, or goal, such as boosting revenue by x dollars.

When you start off with results, you can then work backward to figure to what you have to do to achieve them. That approach, by its very design, forces you to address only the tasks that are absolutely essential to achieving the goals.

Will is the engine that will drive the results. You must guard against trade-offs and detours.

Understand the charter: The major reason organizations fail to change is that the stakeholders - customers, employees, and stockholders don't understand the vision. You can't get to Albany unless you know that's your destination.

Understanding the charter has two other components. If there isn't something in the vision for everyone - stockholders, employees, and customers alike - it's unlikely you will get the commitment you need. You must understand how every employee or job in the bank affects, or could affect, revenue. If you still don't know, the next question arises: Why is that person part of the organization?

Finally, personal values - the opinions, attitudes, and beliefs that influence people to behave in a certain way - must also be considered. If an employee doesn't personally believe the customer is what it's all about, or that revenue is important, it doesn't really matter what anyone else in the bank does or says.

By understanding the charter, stakeholders are equipped to act both individually and as a group to achieve the organization's goals and realize the vision. If part of your strategy is building relationships with your customers, then everyone from the front office to the back office has to know that is the goal. If your growth strategy involves referrals, then employees, customers, and stockholders should act with that in mind.

Everyone has to do it if you are going to leverage all your resources.

Clear conception of the offering. The most effective way to sell is to demonstrate to buyers that what you are selling meets their needs.

This is hard to do if you're not informed about your products, services, pricing, delivery, etc.

You must also have a clear understanding of your competitors' offerings. …

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