The tools needed for a sales team to be effective are discussed in the Customer Management and Marketing Modules. Without having a clear target market, good customer data, the ability to deliver targeted campaigns, and a range of relevant NBAs, the sales conversion rates will be very low.
The conversion rate is the number of people that act upon the bank’s message or offer to a target group. For example, if a salesperson contacts 100 people and achieves two sales, that is a two per cent conversion rate.
If a Hunter must work in the ‘open ocean’, the conversion rate is very low. An ‘open ocean’ happens when the salesperson goes to the target market without understanding the consumers in it.
They are making a guess as they may encounter a group of consumers that are not interested in what they offer, which will translate to a very low conversion rate. If the bank provides the Hunter with lists of prospects aligned with the bank’s position (or seeking the solution the bank offers), the conversion rates will improve significantly.
These are important tools because they are created by understanding customers and their life cycles, and are triggered by events such as getting married, a birthday, the birth of a child, starting a new job, a promotion or salary increase, or losing their job. They also consider the products and services that the customer already holds their next most likely product or service based upon their segment purchase hierarchy.
This is where, in a segmented group of customers, the bank knows that there is a very high chance that once an individual buys ‘Product A’, they will buy ‘Product D’ next. To determine their product hierarchy, banks track and analyse data from specific segments of customers to understand the order that individuals buy products over many years.
With the above information, banks can build dynamic contact plans that are translated into weekly or monthly campaigns based upon the insights and triggers gathered from individual customers.
A Farmer receives a list of customers to contact to start a meaningful conversation concerning their problems to be solved, or dreams to fulfil, and sell a new product or service. The Farmer will also learn about impending or future changes to their life cycle that will form the basis of new triggers to make contact that is relevant to the customer. Sometimes, there is no immediate problem to solve or dream to fulfil, but by gathering valuable information from the customer during the conversation they can ‘sow the seeds’ for the next successful interaction and conversation. It is a well-established fact that the more products and services that a customer holds with the bank, the higher the return for the bank, and the less likely the customer is to leave.
When a Farmer engages with a customer using NBAs that are relevant to the customer and their life-stage, it creates increased trust and loyalty. It is not a waste of time to send the customer a note or call them on special dates or life events.
Farmers are relationship managers and often work closely with a team of specialised salespeople who are Hunters for other product areas, such as Wealth Management and Insurance, who are experts in their specific products and services.
There is an old image that a relationship manager is a professional sitting in a branch that they seldom leave. When they visit customers, they leave an assistant to serve customers visiting the branch. Some banks still have this model, but more and more are using a mixed model, employing both remote and face-to-face, branch-based relationship management.
Technology has enabled a relationship manager to be anywhere in the world and still provide a very personalised service. It is not unusual for banks to have Farmers/relationship managers in call centres or supporting business platforms, using their CRM system to engage customers through web chat.
Banks are increasingly using artificial intelligence to provide a service that responds quickly and seamlessly to the customer’s questions in a conversation until the complexity requires a human – either an expert or the customer’s relationship manager – to become involved.
The bank’s CRM system registers each step of the engagement, providing feedback to the customer and automated messages to the various areas involved in serving the customer. They are also sent to the customer’s relationship manager who is always aware of the activity, so they can pick up the conversation with their customer anytime or be able to respond to any enquiry.
This helps banks to manage larger portfolios of customers with a smaller number of relationship managers.