Jump-start your sales efforts for 2017: Begin with the end in mind

Posted by Mark Gibson on Dec 16, 2016 8:54:00 AM


The start of the year is a little like the Twilight Zone. (For those of you too young to remember, you need to check it out!) You’ve taken a week or two off to be with family and friends. You’ve had great meals and celebrated. And you’ve half forgotten what was happening at work before you left!

So, when you return after the first of the year, it’s easy to fall into the routine of focusing on the urgent tactics that confront you. Before you bury yourself in project execution, take a few minutes to remind yourself what the big goals are for marketing and the sales force, and how exactly you are going to measure success. Make sure your internal client is in agreement on what “success” looks like. And be sure to put the measurement process in place before you launch your program.

Take a deep breath and pull out your marketing plan, and the business plans from your key internal clients.  What are the “big kahunas” that need to be accomplished this year? And what does your team need to do each quarter to advance the ball on them? This will help you decide what your team’s priorities are for the first quarter, and will also help you rise above the din of the urgent calls from branch managers and loan officers requesting brochures and charity events.

What does success look like?

Now that you know what those priorities are, have you agreed with your internal clients on what success looks like? Specifically, have you agreed on metrics and goals for your key initiatives? For instance, if your consumer banking partner wants to increase new household growth, have you quantified what the growth rate is, and broken that down into new households per quarter, and a target retention rate of existing households? It’s imperative for you to agree on these types of metrics at the beginning of the year, before you develop and launch programs to achieve them.

This brings up the topic of key performance indicators, or KPIs. When you present your marketing plan to your executive team, you should have specific quantifiable goals that are measured in KPIs. Back to the household example, you should have a net household growth goal of 3%, which is made up of a gross household growth goal of 10% and a retention rate of, say, 94%. This isn’t a “nice to have,” it’s an absolute “need to have”! Why? If you want marketing to be viewed as an investment that contributes to growing bank revenue, rather than an expense to be minimized, you need to educate executive management how marketing contributes to the key performance indicators they care about.  


How do you prove it?

That brings us to measurement. How many times do we set a goal for a campaign, only months later realizing that we have no way of measuring it? This reminds me of a client who said that they wanted each of their commercial clients to own 12 products and services. They talked about this goal at the beginning of the year, and announced it to the sales team. Only then did they try to create a report to measure the results, and they found out their systems didn’t capture the information they needed. 

Don’t make that mistake. It’s embarrassing. Instead, before you announce your KPIs, work with your operations and technology partners to make sure the data are available to measure the KPIs you think are important. And if the data are not available, pick a similar KPI that is measurable, even if it’s not quite as good as the one you ultimately want to measure.

So, now you are crystal clear on what you and your internal clients want to accomplish, you’ve agreed on the KPIs and goals, and you’ve made sure you can measure them. Now you are ready to focus your team on the programs and tactics that will move you in the right direction. Good luck! 

Learn more in our free webinar

For more on this topic and the other ways you can start 2017 on the best note possible, be sure to register for our webinar, "Jump-starting Your Sales Efforts in 2017," on Jan. 26 at 1:00 p.m. CDT. Register below.
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Topics: Financial Services