By David Mattson
What can you do to support your revenue-generating teams?
Banks have a special group of employees who generate revenue from existing customers—and identify new opportunities for business. They often get titles like relationship manager or business development specialist. How can banking leaders support these vitally important team members—the people who are personally responsible for generating revenue? Here are three best practices sales leaders have found useful.
1. Create and circulate a common sales process.
Banking has become a very compliance-driven industry. There are lots of mechanisms in place to keep mistakes from happening and ensure that everything is clearly communicated. That’s the way that the industry has evolved, and that’s as it should be. Here’s a question to consider, though: What if we took the same vigor, focus, precision, and process orientation that we use to make sure that the wrong people don’t get approved for a big loan—and applied that focus to the front end of the revenue-generation funnel?
All too often, banks wait until someone becomes a client to begin implementing a process. That’s a major problem. Here’s why: If we were to take all of our people, put them in a room, and ask them to write down their process for creating revenue opportunities, typically they either wouldn’t be able to do it at all…or they would outline processes that they use, but that no one else does. There’s no consistent process for pursuing and developing these opportunities.
So the first thing to do is to talk to your top producers, find out what they’re doing, identify all the best practices that work, and formalize them in a process document that you circulate. Using this document, the less experienced people on your team can start implementing the tactics that the more experienced people are using. This one change, implemented consistently as part of your onboarding routine, can dramatically improve the typical performance trend of new hires.
2. Plan team selling calls effectively.
When more than one person is involved in a discussion with an opportunity, the potential for problems increases, especially when senior people are brought in. Your team members should conduct a pre-call planning meeting to clarify what the roles and responsibilities will be during the meeting and—just as important—what the critical business problems facing the decision makers at the target organization are.
Product expertise is not enough. Neither is a familiarity with what the target company’s revenue is or what banking products that company is currently using. For the meeting to go well, the bank’s team members must all know what the key business issues are. If they don’t know, they need to find out.
Too many poorly planned team meetings have ended in disaster, actually damaging the relationship with the prospect rather than improving it. The reason? No common sales language, and no customer-focused planning ahead of time.
3. Create a behavioral plan.
This is a personalized list of daily and weekly activities that gives a team member (or any partner you are working with) specific, measurable actions to perform that support an individual income goal. We call this list a “cookbook,” because following it is analogous to the process of following a recipe. If you follow all the steps in the way they’re laid out, you should be able to deliver a consistent result.
The best cookbooks are the result of active collaboration between a team member and his or her manager. Once you’ve sat down together and worked out exactly what kinds of behaviors need to happen on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis in order for the person to reach a personally meaningful goal, you can both focus on behaviors, rather than outcomes.
Create and support a “cookbook culture.” You’ll notice team members spending less time on “busywork” activities that don’t actually generate revenue—and more time on the actions that support personal and team achievement.
The three simple best practices I’ve outlined here can have a dramatic, and sudden, positive impact on your team’s performance.
David Mattson is the CEO of Sandler Training. His most recent book is The Sandler Rules for Sales Leaders.