What does Sales Enablement mean for Bankers?

Banks are one of the biggest buyers of IT on the planet, having long made massive investments to maintain and upgrade their legacy systems. Today, their investment in IT continues to grow, with most banks supporting large in-house IT teams while also partnering with leading FinTechs. Underscoring the point is the fact that in 2019 alone, JPMorgan earmarked a staggering $11.4 billion for its technology budget. Meanwhile Bank of America and Wells Fargo have set their technology budgets at $10 billion and $9 billion, respectively.

The common goal these and other banks share is to use technology to operate more efficiently, develop new products, and comply with regulatory requirements. Practically speaking, however, the vast majority of IT spend is dedicated to creating better customer experiences. Around the world, thousands of FinTech companies are working with banks to deliver the kinds of value-add services that make customers more self-sufficient and empower them to make better choices. To achieve this and more, they’re creating products and services that foster greater engagement, increase financial literacy, and drive greater productivity.

Unfortunately, most banks never make the same investment in technology to help their own relationship managers. More often than not, they fail to give them the tools they need to be more productive and efficient. As we’ll see, that is a problem. To help ensure their long-term success, banks would be wise to rethink this decision and put RM productivity at the forefront.

Time Equals Money

A bank’s relationship managers have two main responsibilities: sell products to new customers and cross-sell and upsell to existing ones. Of course, to do that, they need to be able to invest a considerable amount of time into interacting with prospects and customers. Yet the reality is that most relationship managers — or any type of sales person for that matter — only spend an average of 35 percent of their time engaging with customers. In a world where personal interactions drive business, if your relationship managers can’t carve out more time for this critical activity, then they’re probably missing out on valuable opportunities with clients.

The problem is that most relationship managers are stuck spending the rest of their time — nearly two thirds of it — on administrative work. Among other things, this includes vast amounts of time dedicated to inefficient business processes like creating and accessing the custom presentations, pitchbooks, and proposals that they use to interact with their clients.

Creating these materials is critical, but can also take up huge amounts of time. Simply developing a presentation for a new prospective client can take hours, if not days. That’s because every piece of collateral that they pull together has to be tailored to the specific situation, needs, and circumstances of individual clients. Typically, relationship managers wind up spending their time:

  • Researching the prospects or customers to better understand their situation and specific needs
  • Searching for existing marketing materials on any relevant solutions that your bank offers
  • Ensuring all those materials are up to date and fully compliant
  • Formatting and packaging all information into a professional, attractive presentation that’s in line with your brand standards

Simply finding the right pieces of existing collateral and making sure they have the correct disclosure language and are up to date in terms of branding and pricing can be a time-consuming and frustrating experience. That’s especially true if your bank stores its collateral in disparate files and directories, and you’re frequently dealing with version control issues with your documentation.

Increase Relationship Manager Productivity with Technology

The good news is that with the right technology and strategy in place, you can automate much of the process outlined above. The right tool will help your relationship managers develop the materials they need in a matter of minutes. In fact, companies that use technology like sales enablement can reduce the amount of time they spend on these tasks by as much as 83 percent.

Banks should create a single, interconnected digital repository where all the organization’s collateral lives and automatically gets updated, giving relationship managers a single source of truth to quickly pull materials from. The best sales enablement tools also make the preparation process efficient and collaborative, allowing relationship managers to easily engage with other members of the team, such as marketing, legal, and compliance, allowing them to comment, track changes, and expedite reviews. But where leading banks take it to the next level is in disclosure and presentation automation: automatically pulling in relevant data and client information, ensuring a personalized and compliant experience. And, since all these materials are digital, it’s possible to track how they’re being used and how effective they are.

The result is that your relationship managers can still deliver the highly personalized, custom collateral they need to clients, but without investing nearly as much time creating them. By helping them become much more productive, your relationship managers can then dedicate much more of their day to giving prospects and customers the attention they deserve.

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