4 ways to help your salesforce excel


Published on: January 2023

Written by: Brendan Nash-Beresford

The world of relationship management in financial services is undergoing a fundamental shift.

The great Wealth Transfer and several other shifts in the ultra-high and high net-worth client bases are just beginning to emerge. Amid these massive changes, many financial services firms are wondering what’s next for their organization and industry. The reality is that organizations must transform and perform or prepare to be left behind.

So how can financial services organizations shift to this new way of working? It starts with your customer-facing employees. Your relationship managers are the critical force that will enable your organization to adjust to rapidly changing customer needs, provide next-level service, and spark digital transformation.

So how do you transform your salesforce? Successfully navigating these uncharted waters requires four critical elements:

1. Strategic intent and alignment

It is critical to define your transformation as part of the strategy or align it to the strategy. This ensures that there is a clear line of sight around what each customer-facing employee is doing and how it contributes towards the business’ overall goals.

To do so, inspire your people by defining the following:

  • Alignment – understanding of the desired future state of the organization, why things must change, and how it will happen.
  • Mindset – the belief that the shift is necessary, worthwhile, and beneficial for employees and the organization.
  • Capabilities – the skills employees need to change the way they are working and move into the new way of working.

Alignment, mindset, and capabilities are essential for helping employees buy in to the transformation, internalize the shift, and bring it to life.

2. Business sponsored transformation

Every transformation should be sponsored by a business unit lead or a business unit executive. This ensures that the transformation is taken seriously by all stakeholders and can be kept top of mind as the business moves forward.

Here’s how you can gain the critical buy-in necessary from the following groups:

  • Executive team – responsible for delivering results within the organization. To gain buy-in, consider partnering with an executive sponsor to walk the executive team through the transformation.
  • Human capital team – traditionally sponsors elements of the transformation. They focus on the quality of the journey, alignment to existing processes, and alignment to job profiles. To get buy-in from this group, consider including them as part of the scoping process or on the steering committee.
  • Leadership team – the one group that must buy in to the transformation. These leaders need to feel that they are contributing to shaping the transformation and feel supported in navigating this journey. To do this, focus on two key elements: inclusion and support. Engage this group from the beginning of the journey and consider consulting them to determine the key performance indicators.
  • Your people – the intended audience of the transformation and the largest internal group. If there is no-buy in at this level the transformation will fail. The key question to be answered for this group is simply “What is in it for me?” Leverage communication to gain buy-in from this group. Try drafting a structured internal communication plan that includes key-executives and sponsors as communicators.

Gaining buy-in is a fundamental part of your journey. Maintaining buy-in throughout the transformation is one of the toughest challenges that an organisation will face. Constant check-ins with each stakeholder group will ensure that you not only gain traction, but maintain it as the audience progresses through the journey.

3. Results measurement

To create impact, it is critical to align on which results should be measured as part of the transformation. The audience that will undergo the transformation must have an influence on these results, which creates a sense of ownership.

Start by defining the metrics that matter most to executing your strategy. For example:

  • Workshop elements (NPS, Facilitator score etc.)
  • Impact on confidence
  • Behaviour shift
  • Business results
  • Global awards

As you are designing your program, keep these in mind as they will help you measure and deliver ROI. Regardless of which metrics you choose, kick off the program with an assessment. This will provide you and the employees with a baseline understanding of their current state and enable you to compare their behavior at the start of the journey to the end.

Throughout the program, build in opportunities for participants to track progress. One way to do this is by leveraging your CRM to set and measure progress on goals. This will not only provide your organization with deep data and insights on individual and organizational progress, but will also reinforce CRM use.

After your program, conduct another assessment so that you can compare participants’ baseline against their current state to evaluate their progress.

4. Leader alignment

Transforming a salesforce requires that sales leaders and managers play a role in coaching and aligning the audience. This level of support creates an environment for the audience to excel as they navigate the transformation.

Support from leadership is critical for the execution and application of new skills, behaviours, tools and processes. To ensure your customer-facing employees have the support needed to execute the transformation, set up opportunities for leaders to gain coaching skills.

For example, integrate coaching into the program by setting coaching guidelines for each module of the learning journey. This will ensure that leaders are equipped to help their people embed the new tools and processes.

The world of relationship management in financial services is primed for disruption. Transform your sales organization before it’s too late by starting with your most critical driving force – your customer-facing employees. With strategic intent and alignment, sponsorship from the larger business, results measurement, and support from leaders, you’ll spark lasting change that will enable your organization to get and stay ahead.

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