A community bank realized virtually all of their new business was coming from a group of very (very!) senior commercial lenders and branch managers who were within just a few short years of retirement. We were engaged to work with the organization to create the sales infrastructure for the development of a group of (relatively) younger team members including (especially) training.
This organization has about 15 retail branches and 30 commercial lenders based in two primary markets. The “senior” team consisted of 5 commercial lenders and four branch managers. Before we became involved, they had tried several different approaches – one was having the senior folks mentor and “train” the less experienced folks. That model failed for a myriad of reasons including 1) The senior people really didn’t have time to spend on such behaviors and 2) They had been at it so long they were natural competents but couldn’t explain how they were successful 3) They had such strong networks and had been calling in the market so long that when they met with a prospect they already had years (decades) of discovery behind them and the “young folks” would only see the latter portion of the sales process.
Our Approach to the Situation
We started with an organization and staff assessment. We evaluated the sales and service infrastructure and surveyed entire team. We wanted to try to figure out what some of the elements of the “senior folks” success were so we could help translate that to the “young” team. We wanted the senior team to be supportive and to be presenting processes to the young team that were compatible with what they would see in joint calls with the seniors.
We also helped the organization identify and develop the sales manager/coach for this younger team. They needed to be coached by someone closer to them than one of the senior team. That person was identified and enthusiastically took on the challenge. Learn more: Sales Management Discipline and Sales Management Workshop.
The primary training need for the young team was Prospecting and Follow Up Discipline. That was the part they never saw from the senior folks. We conducted our prospecting and follow-up training program for the commercial lenders and a variation of that program for the retail branch managers. The variation for the branch managers focused on getting the “2nd call”. They seemed to be good a making the “stop by and say hi” call but needed help getting to the 2nd call where they engaged in serious discovery with the prospect. The manager/coach started monthly sales meetings, did coaching calls with all of his team and focused on the prospecting activity rather than the actual sales results.
The tangible results are that the sales (even though we focused on prospecting activity) from this team are now about 30% of the organizations total (up from approximately zero). The intangible results include the reality that the organization has a developing team of people that are really being groomed to step in and step up as the “senior team” retires.