Chief Investment Officer
BirdsEye Viewthe disciplined sales process
I have written about sales processes before, but thought that tackling the issue from the discipline perspective rather than from the "how to" viewpoint might be instructive. Thanks for taking a look at the article below, and for your comments: am I on the right track here?
Please note the recipe for Hummus on the website. It is perfect for spring time, served at room temperature with warm pita halves, kalamata olives and maybe a crisp pinot Gris to wash it down...
The Disciplined Sales Process
What do you need to do to meet the challenges you face every day in your marketplace, such as price crazies, market crazies, kamikaze pricing etc.? You need to ark your employees with the right tools and weapons to go out there, make war, and win. Sending them unarmed to battle will not get the job done. Those banks that effectively integrate the sales process into their local delivery will become invincible players. The combination of local delivery, centralized production, high efficiency and a fully integrated sales process is so powerful that it should prove to he the winning formula against mega-banks, market crazies and category killers.
One of the key challenges facing banks today is how to optimize their share of the customers' wallet in local markets, thereby increasing the profitability of even very small branches by turning them into sales operations. This is a tough challenge, especially since we continue to hire bankers not to be effective sales people but effective order takers and operations specialists. Some banks that started looking for true sales people have u-turned as the regulatory burden (can you spell BSA) intensified in recent years.
Some of our bankers are natural sales talents, yet even those are repressed by capped incentive programs, high compliance expectations and, sometimes, the willingness to sell without the competence to do so. All of us have personal bankers eager to do battle yet without the weapons to win or, if they have the weapons, not enough knowledge as to how to use them.
The challenge to local market execution is building a sales discipline (not just a culture) that is action and results driven and that will expect and cause behavior change. Analytics have their place, but they are not enough. You can get the best market segmentation gong and target every single customer that offers you the most potential, but if your people don't know how to attract those customers, offer them the right service level and profile their needs to optimize the relationship, that information will go to waste.
2007 is expected to b e a tough year. Many are expecting eroding profits, mounting credit issues and continued margin pressures. Many respond to this challenge by reducing costs and resources. Effective sales discipline doesn't call for more resources, but rather for the redirection of resource activities. The same people need to produce more sales. As you face the challenge, beware of the downward "flogging" spiral, when a manager flogs their depleted staff to improve sales and service, putting more pressure on the people to perform. Even our best people cannot perform in an environment where greater workload is imposed on fewer people continuously. Resignations, medical leaves and stress increase and productivity decreases.
The way to stop the spiral is to install a clear to-do list, a set of behaviors and actions that will show our bankers the way to improve share of wallet, our ultimate objective. We can assure them that, if they follow the prescription, they will get the job done. Further, we need to remove impediments, especially administrative processes, and recognize that our people need to spend their time selling, not administering.
Most branch managers spend 80% pf their time in their office, administering. Is this really what we want them to do? At Sears, for example, studies revealed that their sales management and staff were too busy doing reports, which got in the way of sales results. The right approach is that sales are non-negotiable, and if some things fall through the cracks, so long as they are not regulatory compliance or control related, so be it. Freeing your people to do what they are really supposed to do, I.e. service and sell customers, is one of management's key jobs. How do you get the job done?
Several key ingredients come to mind as I consider a disciplined sales culture: