In the new era of banking, digital disruption is leading to constant changes in customers’ banking needs. With the advent of new technologies and changing work environment there is a transformation in the way customers are engaging with their banks. Recent studies have shown that we have entered an age where customers are not choosing their banks solely on trust. Instead, they are opting for seamless customer experience. Transforming customer experience has become the foremost priority for all banks. For AU Bank, delivering a differentiated customer experience did not just mean redefining experience at customer touchpoints. It also meant redefining and enhancing their sales process and sales teams’ capability to deliver a superior and seamless customer experience.
The bank’s sales force is the first point of contact of most customers. With the ongoing pandemic, their role has become increasingly important as customers started seeking banking services from the comfort of their homes. The need to reskill the sales force and equip them with more capabilities, knowledge and processes was echoed by all business leaders, who were keen to ensure a digital led approach to enablement & capability enhancement.
The bank’s new sales enablement platform was positioned as a one stop shop for all the daily activities of the salesforce and was meant to increase engagement by rewarding them for their daily tasks and efforts using gamification and microlearning.
But what approach to sales enablement & salesforce effectiveness would best work for a fast growing and highly dynamic retail bank?
After several debilitations, the branch banking leaders & senior leadership decided there were five critical pillars of enablement & development that would drive faster capability development & lead to quicker outcomes:
1. Smart Outlook: When interfacing with customers, it was important that employees’ appearance conveyed attention to detail and concern for the bank’s customers. Hence the new platform ensured adherence to dress code by sales executives & rewarded them with points for following basic & customer centric workflows on an everyday basis. The sales force were nudged through a checklist for dress code adherence, and encouraged to upload a selfie whenever at the start of each day.
2. Incentive Tracking: Incentivizing the sales force’s efforts was critical to motivate them to meet more customers and build deeper relationships. At the beginning of every month, the sales force was required to enter their incentive commitment. They were also able to see the actual amount of incentive earned during the month against the committed amount. The actual incentive amount earned was updated in real time, & enabled the sales force to remain focused and motivated towards achieving their sales target.
3. Microlearning & Capability Development: Front line sales teams needed to be constantly updated on the latest innovations in AU Banks’ products, services, processes as well as on regulatory changes. Microlearning enabled sales officers, branch officers & relationship officers to be not only stay up to date, but more confidently position the right financial products & deliver a more consistent customer experience. Gamification & game-based learning made the learning experience more engaging, repetitive and habitual, leading to better retention of information & faster time to apply new skills. Access to bite-sized learning content reduced the hours spent in onboarding & upskilling the bank’s sales teams and increased their speed to market, thereby allowing the sales force to spend more time interacting with prospects and customers.
4. Digital Sales Kit: Most customers preferred assistance to navigate and choose the most appropriate financial product. Hence, focusing on educating customers on the bank’s products and services went a long way in building trust and further delivering a seamless experience. The bank’s sales enablement platform allowed front line sales teams to share engaging product content and videos in real time & improve the quality of conversation. A positive onboarding experience reassured customers that they chose the right product from the right financial services firm.
5. Driving Sales Competitiveness Through Rewards and recognition: Given a very high attrition at the front line, recognition was key for motivating and building sales momentum. Rewarding the sales force and helping them keep a track of their performance and the rewards enhanced their accountability & target orientation. It also motivated them to have better interactions with customers to generate more business. The sales enablement platform offered a comprehensive approach to rewarding & recognizing sales officers. From getting the top score in a game-based assessment, to uploading selfies and utilizing the digital sales kit, the bank created multiple pathways to reward & recognize high performing sales reps. A real time view on reward generation also created a higher level of sales competitiveness as branch managers saw concerted efforts by sales executives to generate more loans, open more savings account, among other things.
As a data focused organization, Au Bank enabled branch managers to make better & more informed decisions on guiding, directing & coaching their sales executives and relationship managers. Utilizing data science and analytics enabled Au Bank to move away from a rear-view mirror approach to a more proactive approach that drove productivity & linked learning to business outcomes. Business heads were able to derive deeper insights on customer behavior and preferences by understanding the skill gaps & state of readiness among sales teams. This assisted the bank to build capabilities to reach and acquire more customers as well as personalize the offer to a specific customer’s requirement.
As a younger generation entered the workforce each year, new sales hires at Au Bank expected newer and more digital learning experiences that provided the same convenient experience expected by the bank’s customers. Microlearning would further reduce the ramp time for new sales hires and enable the bank to enhance coverage, conversion & cross sell faster.
As the bank continues to grow at a fast pace, the speed of adoption & level of engagement & effectiveness has made a revitalized sales enablement core to the long term success of the bank.
This approach to sales enablement was part of a larger, more holistic mindset on digital transformation where the bank’s leaders believed true transformation could not just be limited to digitization of banking services and processes. Digitizing workflows and enablement of customer facing work force were pivotal for how retail banks could gain market share & sustain customer loyalty.