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Why Producing Bank Sales Managers Struggle

  
  
  
bank sales manager

The number one issue in the bank peer data on improving banker sales performance is coaching. Most banks today have a reasonable level of accountability (goals, incentives, reporting) but are behind other industries in sales coaching.
 
The majority of commercial and business bankers still see themselves as "loan officers" and when they make the time to coach they primarily coach the credit process (getting the deal approved and closed). Sustainable growth in sales performance begins with the front end of the sales process (focusing on the right businesses, not wasting time with the wrong opportunities, using effective value propositions rather than price and structure, etc.). These skills take time, energy, and coaching to develop. A higher level of coaching significantly decreases the amount of time it takes a banker to become competent in these key skills.
 
Many community and regional banks use a Producing Manager sales leadership model. A Producing Manager typically carries a loan portfolio of between $40 and $70 million and manages 2 to 5 sales team members. A promotion from Commercial Lender to Producing Manager is often a clear signal that the bank values the individual’s credit and sales skills and can often lead to greater management opportunities in the organization.
 
The rationale for having them continue to manage their portfolios (“We have to take excellent care of the customers and you’re the best person to do that”) makes sense to the Producing Managers on another level; while it may be in the best interests of their customers, it’s also often perceived to be in their interest to hold on to their “meal ticket.” Many lenders see their customer relationships as a form of equity so they’re not averse to holding on to their book of business.
 
This model is common in banks where sales goals are relatively modest and where real estate-related transactions predominate. In banks where the sales performance expectations are higher the Producing Manager model can have a long-term negative effect on the sales performance of sales team members. Here are several of the problems:

  1. When Producing Managers carry more than a $10 million portfolio, the amount of time they spend coaching the front end of the sales process (lead generation and qualifying) is generally limited.
  2. They spend most of their time working their own portfolios and coaching credit (not sales) issues with their team members.
  3. They can compensate for the lack of sales coaching (growing team members’ sales skills) by "feeding" them deals and consequently helping them to make their goals.
  4. Producing Managers continue to build their own reputations in the community while their team members are less visible and less prepared for building their own network and customer following.
  5. Since Producing Managers spend less time coaching sales process (specifically the front end of the sales process) they don't fully develop competency in their skills as coaches and sales managers. This is especially true when they only manage 1 or 2 team members.
  6. The Producing Manager model is tenable in some situations but it significantly affects sales results when the number of sales team members reaches 4 or more. (If, however, the portfolio is reduced to less than $10 million and fewer than 5 relationships there is some increase in sales coaching.)
  7. Sales team members in Producing Manager teams grow their sales skills more slowly than those team members with "full-time" Sales Managers.

A common use of Producing Managers is in geographically dispersed teams (sales team members are 50 to 100 miles away). Yet there are many banks that have been able to build effective coaching processes with sales team members who are not in the same location. Sales Managers learn to use the phone, make regularly scheduled visits, and provide electronic delivery of reports and data (sales reports, underwriting information, etc.) to provide the coaching that team members need.
 
How do banks deal with the need for credit coaching in smaller or more remote markets? In some organizations, senior lenders take on a mentoring role for credit only, acting as advisors on deal structuring. The mentor is not the Sales Manager, though, and is not asked to coach on anything but credit. Regional Senior Credit Officers can also provide the needed guidance on complicated credit matters.
 
The data show that “full-time” Sales Managers with 6 to 12 sales team members (not including support staff) produce better long-term sales performance. (The number is lower [6 to 8] in commercial banking and higher in business banking and branch teams selling to businesses [8-12].)
 
It takes time and effort to build sustainable sales performance. Coaching is the key and full-time Sales Managers flat out are better coaches.
 
Do you agree or disagree? Send me your thoughts at bbierly@mzbierlyconsulting.com.
 
 
Interested in more insights on sales leadership? Check out our Sales Leadership Blog Posts.

 

4 Weekly Tasks for Bank Sales Managers (Video)

  
  
  

4 Weekly Tasks for Bank Sales Managers

Quick summary for those of you who don't like watching videos:

1. Start every Monday off with a 20-30 minute sales meeting. Focus on lead generation and pipeline "pull-through".

2. On Friday have sales team members update their pipeline reports. Identify any things that you need to ask about in the coming week.

3. Get a list by close of business on Friday of the calls your team has scheduled for the coming week. See if you like the quantity and quality of the activity. Decide if there are any calls you would like to go on.

4. Repeat the process each week.

Bonus: If you would like to download a copy of a Relationship Planning Guide, click on the link below. It will help your team members identify opportunities with both clients and prospects and develop approrpriate strategies for targeted businesses. You can use it in your 1 on 1 coaching sessions and quarterly client reviews.

Download Relationship Planning Guide

relationship development w

 

 

 

Help Your Team Get the Most Out of Networking Events

  
  
  
networking

The first holiday gift basket just arrived (Thanks, Bobby!) and I can’t wait to dive in to the goodies. There are other things (many) to look forward to in the next month and half. One of them is holiday parties sponsored by your clients and organizations in your community.

Most bankers I know buy in to the importance of attending networking events. Maybe as a result, sales managers don’t place as much emphasis on it as they should in their coaching.

I think they’re making a mistake. They need to help bankers learn how to work a room better, to become better networkers.

Here are five specific things sales managers can do:

  • Get people to go to the right events. What might be right for Jill may not be the best use of Jack’s time.
  • Make sure that people have a plan for each networking event. Maybe it’s a list of customers to talk to. Perhaps the goal is to connect with a particular prospect. Having clear objectives matters. 
  • Follow-up immediately afterward to see what your people got out of the event. Be curious about whom they talked to.
  • Go to some events with them and observe how they operate. You’ll probably have some more things to talk about when you debrief the session.
  • Ask people periodically whether the events they’re attending regularly are providing an appropriate ROI.

You don’t have to be a great networker yourself. But if you believe being active and visible at client functions and community and trade association events is important, you have to walk the talk.  Enjoy the holiday season!

Planning a Sales Conference or offsite meeting in 2015? Our consultants are frequent speakers at banking conferences and bank sales meetings. They have a reputation for delivering sales and sales management "how-to's" in a dynamic, engaging manner. Offering a range of keynote, half-day and full-day programs, their approach helps salespeople and sales managers gain a competitive advantage in every step of the sales process. For more information about how we may be able to assist you at an upcoming sales meeting or conference, call Ned Miller at 610-296-4772 or email him at nmiller@mzbierlyconsulting.com.

Bank Sales Managers Need Coaching Too (Podcast)

  
  
  

I had dinner recently with the head of corporate banking for a regional bank. He was concerned that several of his new sales managers weren't getting the job done. As we talked, it became clear that the challenges they face are the ones that impact all sales team leaders.

To hear six challenges they face, click on the link below.

Sales Managers Need Coaching Too

 

coaching sales leaders

Our next 3 live webinars are complimentary:

* “Q&A on Prospecting” with Buck Bierly on October 27, 2014

* "Is Cross-selling the Secret Sauce?" with Charles Wendel on November 3, 2014

* "What Small Business Bankers Can Learn from Moneyball" with Ted Triplett on November 24, 2014.

All webinars begin at 11 AM Eastern. To sign up go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com or call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771. Space is limited to the first 100 participants. (If you can't make the live webinar, register now and we'll send you the link to the recorded versions.)

8 Reasons Why Branch Managers Should Call on Small Businesses

  
  
  
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  1. Many Branch Managers know their communities and can find opportunities.
  2. Feet on the street matter.
  3. Some Branch Managers are pretty good at this. Others can be too.
  4. They don’t need to become commercial lenders to call on small businesses. You want your Branch Managers to become “conversationally competent” discussing credit and other business products.
  5. This isn’t just about identifying business loans and deposits—you’re trying to find consumer loans (and deposits and investments, etc.)
  6. You can get a lot of traction by coaching your coaches; if your Branch Managers get consistently good feedback and guidance from their Sales Managers, big things can happen.
  7. Small business owners want to talk to bankers.
  8. With all the revenue challenges you’re facing, what do you have to lose?
Looking for more ideas on how to engage your branch team in calling on businesses? Download a copy of a presentation on “Building Momentum with Small Businesses” by clicking here. You might also be interested in checking out our webinars on coaching branch managers. For more information email nmiller@mzbierlyconsulting.com

 

 

Are Quarterly Reviews Micromanagement? (Podcast)

  
  
  

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Your team is behind budget. Pipelines aren't exactly where you think they should be. So what do you do? Regular quarterly reviews give Sales Managers a chance to determine what mid-course corrections are needed. They are another opportunity to drive home the important message that top-line revenue growth is critical to the bank's success.

To download the full mp3 or a transcript of the recording, click on the link below.

Are Quarterly Reviews Micromanagement?

Where Does the Prospecting Process Break Down for Bankers?

  
  
  

prospecting, banking sales70% of the prospecting calls made in this country begin with questions like these:

  • “Where are you banking?”
  • “What products are you using?”
  • “Do you have a loan at Wells Fargo?...Oh, no kidding, tell me about the price and structure on that loan.”
  • “What are two things Wells Fargo hasn’t done for you that you wish they had?”
  • “Can I have a copy of your statements to consider how we would handle your borrowing relationship?”

We are often leading with loans, but the client is not.

Many bankers are used to trying to lead with loans when prospecting. Bankers also lead with Treasury Services. They also lead with Institutional Trust.

We do surveys with all of our clients to help them analyze where they stand with their business prospects. Our conversations go something like this:

“Let’s look at your top prospects.”

  • “What was the source of that lead?”
  • “How many telephone attempts did it take you to get the first appointment?”
  • “Did you get the first appointment?”
  • “If you got the first meeting, did you get the second meeting?”
  • “Did you get a third meeting?”

When we asked those kinds of questions with thousands of bankers here is what we saw:

  1. The first place the process breaks down is getting that first meeting. That is certainly understandable.
  2. The second place it breaks down is after the second meeting.

Typically, we hear that the first meeting went pretty well. We did a good job on this conversation and found a way to get back in the door a second time. During the second meeting we found out that the prospect is happy with their current financial institution. The prospect really appreciated the conversations in the last two meetings.

However, they end up saying, “I’ll tell you what; we'll keep you in mind. You stay in touch and we'll see what happens. We may be buying some new equipment and we may be looking for some additional treasury services down the road and we would love to keep you in mind.”

At the end of the second meeting, the banker walks away and starts to wait for an event. They are not creating an event; they begin to wait for an event. And while they may "check in" periodically, nothing really materializes.

Note: This is an excerpt from a recently recorded Q&A on Prospecting webinar. To download this excerpt of the podcast, click on the link below.

Where does the Prospecting Process Break Down?

Next live webinar: “Q&A on Prospecting” with Buck Bierly on September 15, 2014 at 11 AM Eastern. To sign up go to http://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com or call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771.

Interested in a series of fast-paced refreshers on prospecting? Check out any of our 10 archived webinars on Prospecting Strategies:

Building a Good Prospect List

Leveraging Your Network to Get in the Door

How to Use Your LinkedIn Network in Prospecting

Preparing for First Calls on Prospects

Industry Research as a Differentiator

Business Operations Meetings: Building Strong Relationships with Business Owners

Delving into Financial Operations: Selling to Financial Change

The First 3 Calls on Prospects

Following Up on Proposal – Persistent or Pest?

Getting the Most Out of Networking Events

Can Branch Managers Prospect Effectively?

  
  
  

branch manager calling, prospecting

Last week I received a call from a Training Manager at a community bank. She had been asked to put together a sales training program for their branch managers as part of the bank’s new small business initiative. Most had never had any formal training on how to call on businesses.

As more banks focus on the opportunities in the small business market, many line managers and training directors have been forced to rethink what skills and knowledge branch personnel need to be effective on outside calls. Where do you start? Is it just a training issue or is there more to it?

Based on our work with banks around the country, it’s clear that branch managers need training in three areas:  business products, credit and sales. The goal in product training is not to turn the managers into experts, but to help them identify possible opportunities. Credit training is about creating a similar level of proficiency; what you’re really looking for is conversational competence in basic concepts. That, coupled with an understanding of how credit requests are handled internally, is usually enough to get branch managers comfortable discussing loans and lines of credit for small businesses.

What banks intent on developing a proactive small business calling program need to do is design a process that gets their branch managers in front of the customer and prospects with an intelligent plan. Bank sales leaders need to agree on a number of things before launching a training program:

1.    What a good small business customer or prospect looks like from the bank’s perspective. Understanding which customers and prospects to pursue shouldn’t be left up to branch managers. A target profile that explains what you’re looking for can go a long way toward eliminating confusion and misunderstanding.

2.    What resources the bank will make available to the sales teams. Industry information is valuable but isn’t free. Will you supply prospect lists? How about sample letters?

3.    How much time you’d like the branch managers to devote to calling on small businesses. This may be when you decide whether to establish different expectations for different markets based on demographics, perceived potential, etc. It can also lead to a review of any potential infrastructure issues that may impede your bank’s overall progress.

4.    The approach you want branch salespeople to take when they call on businesses. Are you emphasizing products or relationships? How should a branch manager prepare for a first face-to-face meeting with a prospect?

5.    How the bank will define results. Some banks have fallen into the trap of counting only things like accounts opened or products sold, without looking at the P&L implications of the effort. If the balances never materialize and the fees are waived, what have you accomplished?

6.    The role of the first-line sales managers. If you want your branch managers to change their behaviors, what adjustments will their sales managers have to make? Are they able to provide the ongoing direction, feedback and coaching the sales teams need? If not, what support and training will they require?

If you're interested in more of my thoughts on this topic, you can download the presentation I gave at a recent small business banking conference entitled “Can Branch Managers Prospect Effectively?” To get a copy of the presentation, go to http://www.mzbierlyconsulting.com/can-branch-managers-prospect-effectively.

 

 

 

10 Things Bank Sales Leaders Can Do to Retain Top Performers

  
  
  
bank sales top performers

What are you doing to retain your top performers?

My friend Bill called this week to let me know that his star performer had just accepted a job offer at another bank. Headhunters had been wooing Andrea for the last several years. He wondered whether there was anything he could have done to retain her.

Losing an A player is serious—for you, your team and your bank. Although occasionally it’s about money, more often than not the reason top performing bankers leave is because they’re not getting enough attention from their sales manager.  They might create the impression that they don’t need you, but most actually want you around. Here are 10 things you can do to show some love to your high-performing bankers.

  1. Spend time strategizing with them about big deals in their pipeline

  2. Get in the trenches with them and help close deals

  3. Provide additional resources to help them generate leads—more administrative or credit support, for example

  4. Get your boss (or some other bigwig) to take them out to lunch

  5. Send them to a professional development event in a cool place

  6. Have them mentor a new hire

  7. Create a career development plan for them (and be sure to review it with them)

  8. Recognize them in the way the means the most to them

  9. Take them and their significant others out for a social event, dinner or game

  10. Assign them any plum referrals from Executive Management

In Bill’s case, I don’t know if any of these would have made a difference. If you’re worried about losing a top performer, though, and any of these ideas look promising, what are you waiting for?

Special webinar offer: You can receive a $100 discount when you use coupon code tm5tx8bg31 to sign up for any recorded webinar in the Prospecting Strategies Webinar Series. To register for any webinar go to the recorded webinars section at https://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com.

For more information on the Prospecting Strategies Webinar Series, call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 or email her at susan.lersch@mzbierlyconsulting.com.

Building a Good Prospect List

Leveraging Your Network to Get in the Door

How to Use Your LinkedIn Network in Prospecting

Preparing for First Calls on Prospects

Industry Research as a Differentiator

Business Operations Meetings: Building Strong Relationships with Business Owners

Delving into Financial Operations: Selling to Financial Change

The First 3 Calls on Prospects

Following Up on Proposal – Persistent or Pest? (Live session on June 2, 2014)

Getting the Most Out of Networking Events (Live session on June 16, 2014)

 

 

6 Questions for Bank Sales Leaders About Process

  
  
  
bank sales leaders

 

  1. Are you holding weekly sales meetings with your team?

    Comment: If you’re not running weekly meetings, you’re missing out on a wonderful chance to re-establish priorities, identify opportunities for coaching and recognize performance of team members in front of their peers. You can run the meetings face-to-face or by phone. In our experience, they should last no more than 30 minutes and should be first thing on Monday. Why Monday? To send a clear signal about the importance of sales to your team.

     

  2. Do you have scheduled 1 on 1 coaching sessions with each member of your team every two weeks?

    Comment: This is a cornerstone activity for all sales managers. Each session should be scheduled in advance—a best practice is to lock these in the calendar for the next two quarters. There’s lot to talk about: pipeline, calling activity, upcoming calls, and relationship strategy. Click here for a sample agenda for a biweekly 1 on 1 coaching session.

     

  3. Are you organizing strategy sessions for large opportunities with all appropriate business partners (e.g. Treasury Management, Trust and Investment Management, Credit, etc.)?

    Comment: Strategizing alone is rarely as effective as doing it with team members.

     

  4. Do you have a short list of candidates whom you would like to hire? If yes, are you meeting regularly with them?

    Comment: Top performers may not be ready to jump ship today, but you have to stay close to them if you want to attract them in the future. 

     

  5. Do you invest time in bringing new hires on board?

    Comment: Developing a plan is the first step. If you don’t have a plan, you’re not doing anyone a favor—you, the new RM, or your unit. Here’s an article that might be useful on Onboarding Your Next Star Performer.

     

  6. Do you have development plans in place for each RM who is on your team?

    Comment: If you do, are you making progress? If not, what’s stopping you? 

     

New program for Sales Leaders: Buck Bierly will be offering a fast-paced workshop for community bank sales leaders in San Francisco on June 25-26 under the auspices of the Western Independent Bankers Association. Learn the skills that high-performing leaders use to drive results. For more information go to Leading Sales Teams in Business Markets.

 

Special webinar offer: You can receive a $100 discount when you use coupon code tm5tx8bg31 to sign up for any recorded webinar in the Prospecting Strategies Webinar Series. To register for any webinar go to the recorded webinars section at https://mzbierlyconsulting.webex.com.

For more information on the Prospecting Strategies Webinar Series, call Susan Lersch at 610-296-4771 or email her at susan.lersch@mzbierlyconsulting.com.

Building a Good Prospect List

Leveraging Your Network to Get in the Door

How to Use Your LinkedIn Network in Prospecting

Preparing for First Calls on Prospects

Industry Research as a Differentiator

Business Operations Meetings: Building Strong Relationships with Business Owners

Delving into Financial Operations: Selling to Financial Change

The First 3 Calls on Prospects

Following Up on Proposal – Persistent or Pest? (Live session on June 2, 2014)

Getting the Most Out of Networking Events (Live session on June 16, 2014)

 

 

 

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