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BirdsEye View

team selling

Apologies to Dick Hansen, CEO of Johnson Bank, for my butchering his name in my last newsletter. Pardon me while I wipe the egg off my face...

Quote of the week: "We simply attempt to be fearful when others are greedy and to be greedy only when others are fearful." Warren Buffett

And: "Dark times ahead. I sense much fear." Yoda

Bob Leonard of Deluxe wrote, in response my my last BEV: "I very much enjoyed your news letter today. Especially, I enjoyed hearing about Arik's football successes. Please pass on my congratulations. What happens many times in football is, two teams prepare for a game by reviewing game film and evaluating where the opponent might be vulnerable. They then create a strategy on how they can use the tools they posses to overcome the opponent. The problem is, a good team will adjust. Your sons team prepared well and gain the lead by halftime. It seems to me the opponent then made adjustments at halftime and then came out and executed on the adjustments in the second half while Ariks team continued to do the same things they did in the first half. Why not? They were successful, right? Well, just like in business if you continue to try and compete by doing the same things you did in the past that made you successful, your competitors will make adjustments and find other ways to win.

This is why I thought your news letter was so on target. Getting the employees engaged is so important. We've found an engaged employee stays longer (reducing turnover costs) and takes ownership for their role in the organization. Ray Davis, (CEO of Umpqua Bank) mentions this in his book "Leading for Growth". He describes how he gave the employees decision making responsibilities and them held them accountable for those decisions. By doing this he was able to create a culture where each employee felt they were important to the banks success. It worked.

Amazing how making a few adjustments can have such a huge impact on winning and losing."

And Jeff Brown, EVP at Webster Bank, said: "Thanks for the article on the importance of culture. As you know it's timely for us and I think a critical issue for many institutions. The question each institution has to ask themselves is do they want a culture by design or by accident. If in fact you want it to be by design you have to do more than write a mission statement you have to make it real in how you run the company. You do so by thinking through and implementing many of the ideas you suggest in your article. Differentiating service or above average results can not be achieved by a work force that is only marginally engaged. A well defined culture can contribute to the creation of a shared sense of purpose and higher engagement through employee involvement."

Granddaughters Isabella and Cecilia are doing well, and Arik is into wrestling now that the football season is over.

Thanksgiving vegetable recipes and the Bird family Thanksgiving 2008 menu are both posted on www.anatbird.com. Everyone is coming home and I look forward to reporting on the festivities in two weeks.

Article synopsis: Breaking down the silos works for shareholders, customers and employees.

Team Selling

This is another article in the series offering ideas for organic growth and profitability improvement during these difficult times.

Banks have been bemoaning their silos for decades. Each line of business optimizes to its own bottom line, whichever way that is defined, which sub-optimizes the entire company and makes it confusing for the customers, who must search for separate solutions in every line of business.

Management wants more collaboration across businesses, but the successful ones are reluctant to share their precious customers, which they worked so hard to capture and retain, with someone else who might mess the relationship up, upset the apple-cart, and possibly lose the relationship altogether. Why take the risk when things are going swimmingly as it is?

It will take an executive management edict to change this mindset, and a structured, disciplined team selling process to change reality.

The goal: incremental cross-selling revenue otherwise not achieved (without this process), producing a minimum $100K a year, with $500K a year being a good goal for first year. In order to accomplish this, you must establish a disciplined process with executive management oversight and specific leading and lagging indicator expectations. Letting the process take its own shape will not yield the expected results in most cases. It will be necessary to:

  • Find executive sponsors
  • Allow team leads select their own team
  • Focus on specific market segments, e.g. health care
  • Force people to work together. This will be facilitated by formulating clear meeting expectations. These meeting should be held at least monthly for one hour with full attendance mandated.
  • Expect everyone to bring leads (at least 2 per person per meeting)
  • Expect all team members to have conversational competence regarding product knowledge
  • Co-locate team members
  • Encourage team-based customer events
  • Provide education to the team as a group. This should include sales management techniques such as The Wedge, opportunity identification, and closing techniques
  • Organize teams geographically, rather than based on legacy
  • Have a structured discussion around every lead: pros, cons and whats best for the client
  • Report monthly to the team and executive management, and report stack ranks the teams
  • Hold a quarterly meeting of all team members at which the top teams are recognized
  • Create incentives for team-generated revenues in addition to counting all revenues against each LOB goals
  • Create incentives for teams that exceed their 100% goal
  • Allow team members to decide not to give incentives to a non-contributing member

There are several benefits to such a system. The incremental revenues garnered are certainly a plus, for one. For another, the bank will own the relationship with the client, and as a result will be less vulnerable to individual departure. The fact that an entire team is working on the sale will reduce individual anxiety. And, perhaps best of all, customer satisfaction and retention will improve meaningfully. First National Bank of Nebraska effectively implemented this program (now on its third year) with meaningful incremental revenue results.