Many respected voices in global business claim financial services will be the most disrupted industry in the next years, with technology as the driving force. A number of factors push this business to transform rapidly: from technology to market regulation and higher clients’ expectations.
Adapting quickly can be a significant challenge for financial organizations. Every department is affected and must do its job more efficiently and transparently, but the sales organization, in particular, operates under tighter scrutiny. Traditional financial organizations have adopted a more cautious sales strategy post-crisis. As a consequence, sales departments have two primary concerns: meeting their budgets, but also steering clear of excessively risky deals.
Our industry report Managing Sales Performance in Financial Services explores the trends shaping the future sales organization within a financial company and provides high-level guidance for assuring optimal sales performance in the face of major change.
Here are five actions we identified as key to fine-tuning sales performance inside your organization:
1. Leverage Compensation Plans to Execute Sales Strategy. Financial organizations are challenged to align compensation with the company’s needs and market requirements. Ensure your sales compensation plan can effectively support and execute your sales strategy, by making compensation plans forward-looking, not backward. Use gamification to drive desired behaviors and engagement. Use non-cash incentives to renew the stakes for your team.
2. Automate Processes for Improved Accuracy, Security, and Speed. Manual processes in sales compensation are obviously inefficient and prone to error. Automation makes it easier and more accurate to calculate incentive compensation for cross-selling, referral programs, and deferred compensation plans. It also allows financial organizations to implement mechanisms that will strengthen compliance and ensure the accuracy of sales compensation. Automation makes data more easily auditable, which is key to resolving disputes.
3. Use Big Data to Create Opportunities and Avoid Risk. Big data can be a gold mine for financial services, as for many other industries. Tap into its potential to achieve better time-to-value, faster data processing, and lower associated costs. A successful big data implementation can also increase revenue by generating more and better sales opportunities. It can strengthen risk management, and improve forecast accuracy.
4. Optimize Territories and Channels for Maximum Sales Performance. Managing the sales process across different channels and territories is difficult in any industry, but it is particularly challenging in an intense and evolving regulatory environment. Effective territory and channel management can help financial organizations adapt rapidly and be positioned to seize growth opportunities as they arise.
5. Continuously Inform and Train Your Sales Force. Financial organizations need a well-prepared and informed sales force to maintain customer satisfaction. Remaining up-to-date on client strategy, priorities and market evolution is essential to sales reps’ engagement. Salespeople should also attend regular training&coaching sessions focused on improving the quality of client/employee interactions. Understanding the needs of the present and former customers is key to growing customer loyalty.
Every one of these steps is important, but your future sales performance will ultimately depend on a cohesive approach to systems, processes and people. The winning organizations will be those that offer the best customer experience across channels. Take a look at the detailed report for more facts and data. What is your take on improving sales performance? Let’s talk!
Aberdeen Research – Best-in-Class Approaches to SPM
Best-in-class players not only automate incentive compensation, territory and quota management, but also embrace emerging trends and technologies.