Turning Your Salespeople into Heroes

By Caplan, Jeffrey | ABA Bank Marketing, May 2001 | Go to article overview

Turning Your Salespeople into Heroes


Caplan, Jeffrey, ABA Bank Marketing


An amazing marketing revolution in retail banking is just getting underway. It will inevitably affect everything from market share to profitability. Bank marketers are on the front lines of the forces of change, armed with "intelligence" that makes even less experienced salespeople highly effective in communicating with the bank's most valued customers.

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tools were forged in the '90s and were honed and sharpened with a wide army of applications and sophisticated enhancements. The next generation of these tools is just emerging with the introduction of powerful new real-time transaction engines that allow marketers in general--and the financial service institutions in particular--to identify their most valuable customers and develop highly individualized and targeted strategies to retain and grow this very profitable segment of the institutions' customer base.

Flagging opportunity or risk

Now for the first time, institutions can give relationship managers and salespeople the specific information they need to answer their most pressing--and persistent--question: To whom should I talk right now, and what should I say? The key to effective cross-sell and retention communication is immediacy. The transaction rich nature of retail banking produces a high correlation between a customer's actions--and inaction--and the ability of the salesperson to act on emerging opportunity or risk. For example: a high-value customer who does 80 percent of her banking at a local branch has had a substantial increase in her account value. She has just phoned the institution's main branch seeking loan information. She has, by her own behavior, clearly identified herself as someone who represents an immediate opportunity for a salesperson. Capturing that information gives the salesperson all the tools he needs to "break the code" of customer behavior and initiate a deeper and more profitable dialogue with her. The cu stomer's own actions have dictated the timing, the communication channels and the appropriate message content-making the sales contact relevant, increasing the likelihood of success and raising the profile and credibility of the salesperson. …

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