Bank Small Business Sales Strategies – 4 Steps to Address Branch Sales Time Challenges

Bethany N. Bookout

“No time to sell to small business” is a killer if you’re intending to expand your business with this segment. Many banks say, “We’re committed” but:

  • Their branch managers can barely make two phone calls a day to existing customers.
  • Their first- and second-level sales managers spend less than 30% of their time coaching the sales and service process in the field and only a small portion of that on small business.
  • Small business bankers’ sales time is < 50% of their time.

Four steps to addressing time challenges that will support your team to retain and grow wallet share are:

  • Change your Scorecard – branch staff will follow their scoreboards. If they don’t have time to call your small business customers, change the scoreboard so it’s worth their while.
  • Minimum Branch Sales Time or Activity – specifying minimum acceptable, manageable amounts of time (e.g. 20 minutes a day, three hours per week, etc.) for branch managers or platform staff to call branch small business customers for “check in” re-boarding conversations.
  • Field Coaching Time – defining, tracking, and holding first- and second-level sales managers accountable for coaching the calling process, even if it means hiring and deploying sales coaches in the field to support them, one per 30-40 branches. Left uncoached, branch small business sales activity will be displaced by operational or retail consumer banking activity.
  • Call Center Support – adding call center “partners” to call customers in specific branches, one for every three to five branches. These resources can be added surgically to focus on branches with the largest small business books or branches with the largest census of target business types. Call center resources partner with specific branch staff to manage and deepen relationships with branch customers.

To increase small business growth in your branches, create more selling time. Demonstrate management’s interest in the effort through more and better coaching. Expand selling time and coaching time with surgical additions of staff.

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