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11 Must-Have Benefits for Financial Organizations’ Sales Performance

Troubled times may have come and gone, but the financial landscape has changed for good. The crisis severely impacted financial models. Banks recovered, but growth rates have not returned to pre-crisis levels, and the industry is learning how to succeed in a new paradigm: less profitable, but safer bets. A Deutsche Bank research note states banks are now “considerably less profitable than prior to the crisis” when lower interest rates, rapid lending growth, and low credit losses supported income.

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This new reality calls for a different mindset inside banking organizations, built on efficiency, better control, and agility. Ernst & Young validates this need in their 2015 Global Banking Outlook: „A combination of the new regulatory agenda, changing customer behavior and a drive for operational efficiency within banks will force them to refocus on their core strengths.” Banks will downsize areas of business that do not create value or provide a competitive advantage. Some will exit business lines or turn to outside providers for profitability or compliance reasons. For example, in order to meet a key regulatory requirement regarding conflicts of interest in trading activities, some financial groups (including Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase) have already closed or downsized entire divisions.

In many ways, these new developments also signal what the E&Y report calls the “end of the age of global universal banking.” Banks are simplifying internal structures and remodeling how they use data, in response to regulation. Over the long term, banks must change their culture because they need employee behavior to align better with customers’ interests. The E&Y Banking Outlook summarizes this situation nicely.

The successful financial organizations of the next decade will be those mastering transformation.

For changes to be implemented successfully, they have to simultaneously target people, processes, as well as systems, particularly in large organizations. They also have to involve all relevant departments and functions: from Risk to Compliance and Sales.

Financial organizations can adopt Sales Performance Management (SPM) as a holistic approach to optimize their sales operations, merging the advantages of technology with customized business process expertise.

SPM can help banks better cope with change, by improving the way they train and incentivize their sales force. SPM can also solve complex, process-related challenges, allowing banking sales professionals to concentrate on things that matter: meeting targets and keeping clients satisfied. It can play a fundamental role in the internal transformations necessary for banks to operate successfully and profitably, while under the microscope.

HERE ARE 11 BENEFITS SPM CAN BRING TO FINANCIAL ENTITIES

A. Technology related

1. SPM meets high security standards. Data privacy remains a priority for banking institutions. Surveys prove data security is a top-three priority for major banks.

2. Facilitates auditing. Regulators require banking organizations to make increasingly frequent reporting of increasingly granular data. Examples include the recent Asset Quality Review in Europe, or the Comprehensive Capital Analysis and Review in the US.

3. Automates business processes. Sales Performance Management improves operational efficiency and controls costs while also reducing the likelihood of human error.

4. Enhances mobility. Modern SPM solutions enable fast reaction and high mobility, since they work seamlessly from any device.

B. Sales force related

SPM provides the infrastructure and gives bank sales staff the right tools to achieve goals and stay engaged:

5. Enables effective communication and coaching to inspire the desired behaviors. A recent McKinsey study shows “ongoing sales leadership and coaching by district and branch managers” are essential to branch offices achieving sales goals.

6. Supports effective incentive compensation plans that enable target attainment and encourage desired behaviors.

7. Provides improved transparency into sales performance across multiple levels, including regional directors, branch managers, tellers, and call center staff.

8. Tracks and rewards positive customer interactions across all channels. Service quality is the most important criteria for consumers when choosing a bank. Forty-three percent of respondents in the survey Understanding Customer Behavior in Retail Banking 2010 ranked customer service as “highly important”, more than any other aspect, even cost. Sales people who are happy and engaged provide better customer service and increase client satisfaction. Sales performance solutions play a crucial part in improving client-to-representative relations.

C. Process and strategy related

9. SPM aligns corporate goals with the individual sales person’s goals. When people understand how their work contributes to the performance of the company, they are engaged and perform well.

10. Delivers insight into sales performance and customer satisfaction across channels, and also ensures retention of top performers.

11. Enables tighter budget management and accurate forecasting of the cost of sales. This is critical, given that cost control ranks very high in banking organizations’ priorities.

Financial services and banking organizations are living in the “new normal.” Regulations are tighter, and customers are more hesitant. To meet these higher expectations, the industry must come up with new business models that are compliant and follow best practices, while also allowing financial organizations to be agile. Managing sales performance is a big part of this shift, and banks will have to reassess how they motivate sales people, view sales performance and use sales channels to reach customers.

Marius Clapon

Professional Services Director

Marius manages the operational relationship with implementation clients, applying his wide-ranging business and computer science experience for EMEA companies.

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