It’s no secret that B2B banking is becoming increasingly commoditized. These days, small- and medium-sized companies are using far more banks than even just a few years ago: according to Gartner’s 2016 Study: “A New Basis for Competitive Advantage,” 53 percent of companies use four or more financial providers. Meanwhile, Fintech competition is also ramping up. In fact, research from the Boston Consulting Group shows that 30 percent of corporate banking revenue is expected to go to new digital platforms over the next five years.

With so much competition in the financial services industry, banks are under tremendous pressure to find ways to differentiate themselves. At Seismic, we hear this every time we talk to prospects and customers. The need for differentiation is also a common theme in banks’ annual reports, where it’s often outlined as a top corporate initiative. And while it’s a major concern for executives, it’s also an issue that relationship managers feel every time they’re out in the marketplace talking to potential customers.

So, what can banks do to differentiate themselves? Fundamentally, they have two main choices. One option is to expand and strengthen their suite of products, which, while important, isn’t always easy to do. The other is to change the way that relationship managers present their products to the market.

It’s All About How You Go to Market

When banks go to market, they rely on their relationship managers to do the heavy lifting for them. They’re the ones who are in the trenches, meeting with prospects and existing clients, building strong relationships, and selling end users on the value of the bank’s offerings.

The problem is that those relationship managers are usually limited in a few key ways. For instance, they’re typically only able to connect with prospects who are already in their rolodex. Plus, when they do finally pitch to those prospects, it’s often with stock standard presentations that look just like everyone else’s. Not only that, but they often miss opportunities to pitch the right products to meet an individual prospect’s needs due to a lack of training, education, and insights. Further, those pitches are often inconsistent and contain information that’s out of date. The result of all of this is lackluster presentations that aren’t personalized to resonate with individual prospects or tailored to address their unique needs.

Fortunately, there’s a better way. With the right sales enablement strategy, you can enable your relationship managers to create personalized pitches that, while consistent in terms of messaging, are tailored to resonate with the individual needs of any given prospect or client.

A few key ways sales enablement will help you tailor those pitches is by:

  • Educating relationship managers on the product set, so they know when and how to best position products
  • Consolidating all educational and client-facing materials in a centralized hub that’s available on any of a relationship manager’s devices
  • Using data to recommend the solutions that are most relevant to prospects’ and clients’ problems, rather than just a laundry list of products that may or may not be appropriate.

Learn how to combat commoditization, improve cross-sell and collaborate

At a time when B2B banking is becoming increasingly commoditized, it’s more important than ever to empower your relationship managers with the tools and resources they need to help differentiate your products from your competitors’. To learn more about how commercial banks are utilizing sales enablement to engage, retain and cross-sell their clients, join us on June 27 at 2 pm ET for a webinar with American Banker entitled The Status of Cross-Selling and Collaboration in Commercial Banks. To learn more or register, please click below.