For retail banks, cross-selling has been gaining in importance since a few years now. Earlier, digitalization of banking meant that customers didn’t have to visit bank branches very often. And after the Covid-19 pandemic, customers have adapted to the online banking model so well, their physical visits to the bank have reduced even further.
While the online model helped banks slash costs and boost productivity, it has also reduced the opportunity to cross-sell to existing customers in person. With a steep decline in footfalls, physical branches have much fewer opportunities to speak to the customer, understand their needs, and pursue cross-selling opportunities.
Thankfully, banks that use smart platforms to make selling more efficient and accelerate sales processes are still able to ring in more sales.
Why cross selling is important
For retail banks, cross-selling is important for a wide array of reasons. Here’s a few of them:
- It’s both easier and a great deal less expensive to sell to your existing customers than to new ones.
- With cross-selling, banks can help customers consolidate their financial needs in one single place. That enables banks to offer better service through an improved understanding of the customer.
- Cross-selling helps build brand loyalty, something vital in a world where banking services are increasingly becoming commoditized.
- Banks can realize customer lifetime value (CLV) by engaging customers for multiple products.
- Customers are paying much less attention than before to SMS or emails. That makes cross-selling more important, because it’s more personalized and gets attention.
3 top tips for cross-selling for retail banking
Now that we’ve discussed why cross-selling is important, it’s time to share some actionable ideas.
Here is a brief discussion on the top 3 tips for cross-selling in banks.
1. Segment your customers
As any successful sales professional will tell you, old-age tactics like pressure selling no longer work. Because customers are getting busier by the day, they don’t want to waste time learning about products they don’t care about, or being tricked into products that aren’t relevant to them.
One of the best cross-selling strategies is based on customer segmentation. You can segment your customers on criteria like demographic characteristics, age, lifestyle, risk appetite and risk exposure, profession, history of relationship with your bank and more.
By segmenting your customers, you not only better understand their financial goals, but also speak their language. What’s more, you’ll only be talking about products they will find useful. As a result, you have much higher chances of conversion, and basically a higher ROI.
For each of these segments, you can use your smart sales platform to dovetail products with customer relevancy. Have some upwardly-mobile customers in their mid 30’s? They might have a better risk appetite and fewer obligations, so you can offer them aggressive products. A group of senior executives close to retirement? They’ll find safer investment alternatives much more in lines with their requirements, so pitch that accordingly.
Finally, it’s important to remember that because you pitch only relevant products, your customers’ perception about what you offer rises in value. Next time you approach them, they will be even more attentive, because they know you are helping them achieve their financial goals.
2. Use data to understand
Cross-selling should be an extension of how you actually help customers solve their problems. That requires you to understand your customers and understand your products. While your bank will provide you with product training, a smart sales acceleration platform will fetch you valuable insights on your customers.
These insights are important in several layers. For example, they will guide you on where to begin first. Often, sales reps rush in to selling advanced products to customers who haven’t even begun using the primary products in their existing accounts.
Let’s say a customer holds an account with your bank but has engaged little beyond that. Pitching them a personal loan or investment service for their retirement planning is unlikely to resonate, primarily because they don’t even have a regular relationship with you. But the same insights can show you some low-hanging fruits.
Instead of pushing other products, you can help the customer discover the convenience of a debit card tied with that account. Because they already have an account with your bank, using a debit card doesn’t involve much of an additional effort from them. The result: you’ve successfully initiated a relationship. The next time you pitch them, they’ll be more receptive to what you’re saying and willing to try what you are offering.
3. Schedule follow ups at the right time
You might be surprised to know that although 80% of sales require an average of 5 follow-up calls, nearly half (44%) of salespeople don’t follow up more than once (Source). Needless to add, those who didn’t follow up are unlikely to win the business from those customers.
And yet if you dig deeper, it’s not that surprising. Salespeople don’t follow up because they don’t always get leads worth following up. That boils down to bad quality data (or incomplete data) your conventional systems supply to your sales reps. Or it could be the tool was too old-aged to make the follow-up any easier.
It may not sound very obvious, but cross-selling is a lot about follow-ups. Follow-ups occupy a special place in your sales cadence and the right timing of the follow-up can often be the difference between an ignored proposal and a converted lead.
So how do you know when’s the right time to follow up? Or how often should you follow up? Trust your smart sales acceleration platform to answer these questions, as also others. A new age sales solution will have specific interventions and activities laid out for you with a unified calendar. That makes sure you neither skip the follow-up nor the timing of the follow-up.
As a matter of fact, a smart mobile solution can also see, through geo-fencing, the vicinity in which you’re having meetings and prompt you, time permitting, to touch base with other customers in the same neighborhood. That way, this solution makes sure you don’t waste a single opportunity to even say hi to customers, which is what efficient follow-up is often about.
A final word: Selling banking products involves trust because it’s all about money. There’s little to match regular meetings by way of following up and keep building trust.
Cross-selling is about investing in your existing customers in order to help them further. It’s about ‘showing up’ in a way, by constantly anticipating your customer’s requirements ahead of time and taking the initiative to pitch them at the right time. It’s about offering solutions to existing customers and keeping a steady stream of revenue coming in for your bank.
With your SDRs always on the road or on the phone, it’s not difficult for them to miss a follow-up here or a chance to reschedule a meeting there. A smart, digital platform that sits in their smartphones is the answer. It not only makes them highly efficient but also contributes to build brand loyalty among your existing customer base. In a world where customers keep shifting their business from one vendor to another, this is one ROI that your organization should be chasing.