Case Study

Driving sales transformation

through enabling relationship managers


Client need

One of the segments within a leading bank was undergoing significant structural change. As a result, the segment needed to transform its salesforce and redefine its value proposition.

The organization targeted its relationship managers for the intervention. It sought to create a different kind of relationship manager – one that would enable the organization’s strategic vision by both thinking differently about the role and applying a different approach to internal collaboration and sales processes.

The organization selected BTS as a partner in building the right processes, tools, and capabilities to enable its relationship managers to be successful. The organization’s Head of Sales and Head of the Business Unit served as executive sponsors for the initiative, ensuring buy-in from stakeholders and providing support.


The transformation would reach 450 relationship managers from business units across the bank, spanning 11 countries. To reach this broad audience, the organization needed a scalable, virtually accessible solution.

To enable this shift, BTS created a learning journey using its proprietary GREAT framework. The content was developed through an iterative process and a partnership between BTS and a steering committee made up of stakeholders from the organization. This ensured that the tools, process, and methods were completely aligned to the context of the relationship manager and organization.

To kick off the journey, BTS and the organization hosted structured sessions with executives, sales leadership, and clients to determine the top characteristics that a relationship manager within the organization would be expected to display:

  1. Client acumen: Focuses on client knowledge, insights, and how to leverage them to create solutions that help clients achieve their financial priorities.
  2. Professional: Focuses on how to “show up” during face-to-face and virtual client engagements. Demonstrates the ability to convey executive presence through a thorough understanding of the client and the bank.
  3. Business acumen: Understands the bank’s financials and their role in impacting its overall performance.
  4. Innovative: Innovates when solutioning a client, and creates memorable client experiences.
  5. Solution focused: Focuses on the solution instead of the sale. Holistically creates solutions with the client, as opposed to selling products.
  6. Digitally savvy: Understands a digital-first approach and leverages various digital tools to create memorable client experiences.
  7. High level of urgency: Fosters a mindset of urgency in all matters relating to the client and bank.

These capabilities translated to the following behaviors for relationship managers, which became the red thread connecting all elements within the journey:

  1. Manage themselves and deliver results.
  2. Leverage data to create a memorable client experience.
  3. Use the right tools to add value to sales conversations, by 1) leveraging new language, and 2) providing the correct solution to improve the client’s financial well-being.
  4. Develop a deep understanding of — and how relationship managers can impact and influence — the client’s strategy, which is focused on outcomes.
  5. Use the CRM to guide client-related decision making and apply focused execution.
  6. Act with a high degree of urgency, communicate with a regular cadence, and be highly productive in client-facing situations.

To create the solution, BTS and the organization leveraged the following design principles:

  1. Workshops run in the flow of work, so as not to negatively impact the number of relationship managers’ selling hours.
  2. Content is both impactful yet practical so that tools and principles can be applied immediately after attending the workshop.
  3. Workshops are interactive, featuring a discovery-learning approach that encourages interaction across regions and countries.
  4. The journey spans enough time to provide opportunities for application and feedback.

With these in mind, the relationship manager journey was born. Over a three-month period, relationship managers would attend six sessions per month, each of which lasted two hours. Prior to beginning the journey, participants would go through an assessment that would allow the organization to benchmark progress against an assessment taken after program completion.

The solution centered on a customized simulation that addressed the following eight critical moments. These moments provided relationship managers with the opportunity to practice new behaviors in risk-free situations modeled after those experienced on the job. If mastered, performing in these moments would allow relationship managers to add the most value to the bank and its clients:

  1. Planning, looking at trends impacting clients, targets, collaboration, and sales plays
  2. Prioritizing:
    • Operational cadence
    • Types of opportunities
  3. Preparing for and conducting sales calls in a virtual or face-to-face setting
  4. Conducting discovery conversations under time constraints
  5. Preparing for and pitching to a client
  6. Handling objections
  7. Preparing for and conducting sales calls in a cross-functional team

Following each workshop, relationship managers complete two Go-Do activities, which are actions to be taken back on-the-job to reinforce learning. These are designed to be completed the same day as the workshop and tracked in the organization’s CRM. This enables the organization to not only track the application of learning activities, but also drive adoption of the tool.

Due to participants’ geographical spread, each country unit was informed of the transformation and the changes that would occur. The organization’s leadership requested that each unit not only prioritize activities related to the journey, but also application of lessons learned.

In addition to the relationship-manager journey, the organization’s sales leaders were also taken through a journey of their own that equipped them with new techniques to coach and guide relationship managers. During this experience, the executive sponsor engaged with each sales leader on a regular basis to provide support.

Integrating a series of coaching experiences for the sales leadership team ensured that they were equipped to effectively support the relationship managers during their journey. Leaders received coaching guidelines for each module of the learning journey to ensure that they provided their teams with a consistent approach. This coaching journey was also tracked in the organization’s CRM to both embed the value of CRM use and track any application of the coaching. 


As a result of the program, the organization achieved the following results:

  1. Workshop elements
    • Net Promoter Score of 85
    • Facilitator Score of 9.3/10
  2. Impact on confidence: A majority of relationship managers showed continuous increases in confidence against the learning outcomes.
  3. Behavior shifts
    • Learners had committed to almost 1,000 activities.
    • 52% of these activities were on track or completed.
    • The remaining 48% have yet to be completed or are scheduled to be completed later.
  4. Business Results
    • Increases across all KPIs
    • Average of 80 new customers per relationship manager over a six-month period
    • Relationship managers who had been through the program won twice as much new business as their colleagues who had not.
  5. Global Awards
    • Awarded a silver Brandon Hall award for sales performance

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