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From Service Culture to Sales Culture – Really?

March 11, 2013

My background is in the software world where sales are very competitive and sales teams are focused on closing the deal. Every lead was vetted and followed up and entire companies would rally around the sales team just to help them make and close that big sale.

It was quite a culture shock when I joined Ignite Sales a couple of years ago and began selling into the banking industry.  Although customer service is engrained into the banking culture, I have to ask the question, is it really good service if you are not recommending the best product packages for your customer?  Banks have more than 100+ products and they regularly only sell 8 or 10. Is it a reasonable expectation that customers even know that there is more than free checking and saving or that bank employees learn to sell more than 100 products competitively?

It is no surprise that banks are struggling in this very competitive economy. While growth through acquisition is ongoing, growth through good cross-selling is fundamental in sales cultures.

I was recently reading an article by Andrew Kahr titled Missing from Banks: Sales Culture in American Banker Magazine and Kahr hits the nail on the head….the sales culture and skill sets are mostly missing from banks. It is a combination of skill set and sales enablement tools that are missing in retail banks. And they need to get both…soon… if they are to survive and grow.

What do banks need to know?

  1. Need to understand what the customer needs, not necessarily what they want because chances are they really don’t know what they want at the point-of-sale.
  2. What was sold and what should have been sold.
  3. Understand customer eligibility at the point-of-sale.

The only way to do that it put easy-to-use sales enablement tools that can quickly evaluate the customer and determine eligibility in the hands of the branch and in the hands of customer service representative so that they can recommend in a consultative sale the right product for the customer as well as the most profitable product for the bank.

It is a win-win.

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