Nostradamus I am not
Nostradamus I am not. Heck, for the past 50 years I have predicted that the Chicago Cubs would win the World Series. I am certainly not as well positioned as folks like Jim Marous of The Financial Brand, Don Peppers of Peppers and Rogers or Mike Kunkle of Brainshark to take a deep dive into technology, big data or customer experience trends. I’m out with bankers every week, however, and based on that and a few years of industry knowledge under my belt, here are prognostications for 2016.
- Performance Cultures replace Sales Cultures. Banks migrate away from outmoded Sales Cultures focused on products, tick marks and unending campaigns. They journey toward sustainable, trust-focused environments that center on people (associates and customers) through alignment of vision, commitment of executive management and routines at sales management and frontline levels. Talking about it, meeting about it and pontificating about it is over and tactics around Performance Cultures actually begin. So does the flywheel for banks that make it happen.
- Sales Process front and center. Forward thinking banks adopt dynamic, yet easy to understand sales processes that keeps everyone focused and makes it easier to bring new bankers up to speed. Sales managers that interweave the process seamlessly into their routines have a much greater likelihood of hitting and exceeding their numbers. For some great data on the positive affect of a sales process go to www.csoinsights.com and review its multi-decade research on this topic.
- Incentives get a hard look. Incentives are top of mind for both the C-Suite and the high performing receivers (the ones who get the dough). Antiquated point systems and product pushing cross selling programs that can be gamed and make the customer a victim are replaced by P&L-based approaches. This helps everyone have skin in the game and fosters incentives that reward behavior versus drive it. For more in depth and well-articulated opinions on this important subject, read Drive, by Daniel Pink and review some of the writings of Charles Green.
- CRM is CEO strong. CEOs and Executive Managers come to several realizations about CRM systems this year; the best one is the one you have, no sales person will every like them and most are high priced packman games without everyone’s commitment. The most important thing I have learned in over 30 years of using everything from ACT, Goldmine, Seibel, Salesforce.com and others is that best way to improve CRM adoption and to receive a return on this massive technology investment is to have CEOs hold themselves accountable to know the system better than anyone. It’s that simple. When the bank president interweaves CRM reporting into interactions with their direct reports, those direct reports are forced to know the system; use it, coach to it and so on and so on. When any sales force automation process is used properly, a trialogue happens; the CRM technology joins the conversation between banker and sales manager or senior manager to help create tactics for individual clients, prospects and COIs and strategies for overall market penetration.
- LinkedIn – the collaboration tool. This year bankers’ eyes open to the fact that LinkedIn is not a job board but a way to share value within whatever marketplace they operate. LinkedIn not the new cold calling process (I reach out, you accept, I call you for an appointment). In 2016 bankers finally use it as an education tool. Sharing articles, joining and actively participating in groups and putting buyers and sellers together are all ways that high performers use LinkedIn. The amazing Sales Navigator is deployed at more banks in 2016 too – banks that understand that a small investment of dollars can provide a huge return. Finally, in 2016 bankers up their engagement time with LinkedIn to more than their paltry current average of 17 minutes per month.
- Commercial Onboarding momentum increases. This integrated welcoming system permeates banks of all sizes in 2016. There are currently very few being executed and those that are in existence tend to be a “check the box” program versus a disciplined welcome opportunity. Regular first year contact between the new customer and various bankers (and potentially board members) deepens partnerships with new bank clients through an organized process of coordinated value touches resulting in greater cross solving, more referrals and a client experience that helps mitigate buyer’s remorse.
- Resource Management, that’s the ticket. It’s the ticket to lifetime partnerships. Relationship Management is fine. No slamming that approach. Clients these days want something more from their banker, though. The internet, big data and economic mood swings have all served to radically change the buying habits of entrepreneurs. Unfortunately many bankers have failed to keep up with that trend and are being left behind. CEOs and CFOs want new ideas, new perspectives, best practices and much more. Bankers continue to shove brochures and pitchbooks at them instead. It’s easy to see why bankers get back in the door on call #2 from call #1 slightly more than 17% of the time. This year forward thinking banks take a proactive approach to building trust and providing ongoing intrinsic value. They are “bankerpreneurs” and they are the winners.
- The Concierge Movement. Volumes have been written about the changing role of the branch. In 2016 banks use their profitability models to find their top 10-15% of retail clients. In tandem they identify high performing retail bankers (personal bankers) and provide them with a portfolio of 200-300 these very important clients. The role of this Relationship Banker is all about proactivity – it is their book of business. RBs are responsible to refer business to partners, to contact their clients regularly (one bank requires 7 touches annually) through phone calls, webinars, home visits and other means. The banker is now a concierge, creating strategies to help their clients continually grow financially. Some bankers are licensed, some are not. All, however, have a sales and client mindset and are continually thinking about how to refer, cross solve and to make experiences with these valued clients rich and full.
- Business Intelligence, Value Tools and Big Data are big deals. Tools such as Vertical IQ, Smartbrief, Newsle, Charlie App and others are actionized as bankers realize the power of taking BI and big data to the field.
- KISS ‘n Tell works out well. In our personal life, this is never a good idea but in 2016 bankers use Key Insights Strategically Sent to create differentiation. A recent study conducted by the highly respected firm, Greenwich Associates finds that when companies are confronted with critical business issues or decisions, bankers are called upon for guidance and advice far less frequently than other resources. In small business it’s at a 12% level and only at 18% for middle market firms. Accountants, lawyers and a peer at another firm are two to four times more likely to be called on for advice. The amazing book, Insight Selling suggests that sales professionals that win relationships do so primarily by providing new ideas and perspectives at a much greater level than second place finishers. Finally, in 2016 bankers begin to get it. They find articles, White Papers and best practices and send them systematically to clients, prospects and Centers of Influence. CRM is employed as a value enabler not an impediment. Content is sourced and shared selflessly.
- There IS an I in Team. It stands for Insight and in 2016 more banks are using the collaborative power of team selling to provide better client insight resulting in improved cross solving. CATs will spring up all over the country. CATs are Client Action Teams. Teams will consist of a retail banker, commercial banker, mortgage associate, treasury management partner, wealth management professional and other colleagues. Twice monthly the team meets to talk about 1-2 of each team members’ best clients. They use the CRM as the guide and one refreshing difference is that no one discusses products to sell. They talk about needs and at the end of this 45 minute meeting there is a brief networking conflab to compare calendars and determine a follow up strategy with each client. This is certainly not a new concept but more times than not these programs tend to be houses of cards because there are too many clients discussed and the follow up isn’t there. One reason for 2016 success centers around the coaching that occurs on the off weeks. During that time, the sales manager meets with their direct report on the CAT and does a Check In to learn of progress. This accountability is missing in many programs but in 2016 team selling sees a big resurgence and the ultimate beneficiary is the customer.
- The CMO is the CCO. Bank marketing professionals add yet another duty to their full plate. Their responsibilities now include creating, curating and caring for content. Banks add Business Tools pages to their share drives and compliance ready articles are posted there. Bankers access the content and share it through LinkedIn, Twitter and other means. Marketing and sales become more seamlessly integrated into tailored messaging and the result is amazing.
All banks won’t chin to all of the above. They aren’t foundationally prepared to do so. It is those community banks that have determined having pity parties over shrinking margins and increased competition is over. They are the ones that will go beyond survival in 2016 to a thrival mindset – one of execution and success. I also see the Cubs finally winning the World Series next year.
Widely known as the "Professor of Prospecting," Jack Hubbard has shared his passion for what it takes to build trust-based sales initiatives for more than three decades. He has helped build more than 100 Performance Management Cultures from Maine to Florida, Texas to California and all points in between. With more than 67,000 bankers personally trained and coached, Hubbard is one of America's most sought after facilitators. An author, lecturer and classroom instructor, Hubbard's expertise and out-of-the-box thinking put him in great demand when the subject matter is sales and sales management in business and commercial banking.