People excel when they have a clear idea of the plan as articulated by senior management, understand what their specific role is in achieving plan success and receive a personal benefit when success is achieved. Does this sound like your organization?
It is no secret that most FIs are not marketing and sales oriented. However, successful RDC FIs achieve RDC dominance by setting goals for the level of success that they wish to achieve and then measuring and rewarding success. They know how to make success a BIG deal! So how should you approach RDC goal setting?
1) Create an effective strategy and set goals - Setting goals can be as simple as creating a target for the number of RDC implementations that should be sold and installed in a quarter. However, it would be better if financial institutions had more thoughtful strategic planning so that all of the elements related to the FIs overall strategic focus could be examined, yielding appropriate goals. RDC is a strategic product; it deserves to have a strategic focus from management. Rather than being viewed as another operations “tool”, RDC (along with ACH) can cement customer relationships creating strong bonds between customer and FI. Thus, targeting specific types of customers or aggressively going after competitor’s clients with RDC as the lead service are appropriate strategies for RDC. Since most senior managers do not have an operations background, they may not think of the strategic nature of services like RDC. If you would say that you do not have the capability to do this planning within your organization, there are numerous consultants that can engage with your institution to assist you in strategic planning or technology assessments. The fees invested in these professionals will yield benefits in new deposits and accounts.
2) Setting the specific target for RDC – Regardless of whether you have performed strategic planning or just want to set a target for new RDC deployments, the number needs to be reasonable. Putting an unreasonable target that is unlikely to be achieved will de-motivate your team and they are unlikely to perform well chasing a goal that they feel is impossible to achieve. Similarly, setting a target so low such that little effort is needed to achieve it will send the message that senior management is not serious about getting RDC deployments. So how do you determine the number? Start by looking at how many new business accounts you establish per quarter. Is it unreasonable that 10 to 25 percent of those new clients would be RDC users? Next, how many total business accounts do you have? Subtract the number of these that already have RDC and the rest is your prospect list. If you had a targeted plan to identify the key prospects within this group and assigned calling officers to pitch RDC or offered in-bank seminars or webinars to pitch the service, you would be able to bring some number of these to close on getting the RDC service. For example, if you invited 100 business customers to an in-bank seminar and 20 showed up, 10 were interested and you signed up 5, would you do that every month or once a quarter? Come up with a mechanism to determine your number and then be able to articulate it to the whole team.
3) Involve all appropriate staff - Remember that there are multiple staff members that may serve as an integral part of your goal achievement team, including any treasury, cash management or loan officers serving targeted RDC accounts. Often overlooked are the numerous staff members that are customer facing. By training and empowering front-line staff, you can get them to identify potential RDC customers and refer those prospects to the appropriate personnel for follow up. A customer who has just waited in line for 15 minutes is far more prepared to learn of the benefits of RDC than when receiving a cold call or statement stuffer. Branch managers are also critical. These officers serve “own” customer relationships. If they are engaged in setting and achieving goals, then there will be buy-in from the beginning of the process. Last but certainly not least is the person (or persons) that answers the phone. Who knows how many sales opportunities are lost simply due to the fact that the caller did not know exactly what they were asking for and the operator was not trained to identify potential opportunities and get them to the appropriate person in the organization who could assist them?
4) Measure success – Setting goals is good; measuring how well you are achieving those goals is better. Once you have set a goal, setup an appropriate mechanism for all involved to see how they are doing as compared to the goal. This needs to be done in a positive manner. No one will be inspired to achieve success if the feedback they receive is negative (“You’re not making your RDC goals, what’s wrong with you?!!”). A big part of encouraging your team is to make sure that they have the appropriate tools they need to achieve success. That includes an appropriate marketing budget, time assigned to execute the plan, and assistance from operations staff to support RDC sales efforts.
5) Reward success - Finally, to send your RDC service into overdrive, set up an effective rewards system that is tied to RDC goals. When your team achieves the goal, reward them and make it visible to everyone. Some FIs find it hard to set specific bonuses for success such as a sales commission, however, there are other ways to reward success. Have an in-bank party after hours to reward making quarterly numbers. Internal communications such as newsletters should identify and laud personnel that have achieved RDC targets. With a bit more effort, you could do something that would last throughout the whole year. I like the idea of setting up a system of rewarding achievement with play money (ie: monopoly money works or you can buy fake money at any toy store). You give out money for achieving goals as well as use it for spot bonuses based on effort “above and beyond”. This occurs throughout the entire year. At the end of the year, you go out and buy a bunch of nice items, DVD players, iPods, perhaps even a cruise. Then you have an auction and the only currency that can be used at the auction is the money awarded throughout the year. Those that have the most money can use that money to bid for the best items but everyone will get something of value. And it can be fun! Remember that this reward system will only work if you are consistent in how you distribute the bonus money.
It is likely that no one looks forward to goal setting. It is much easier to forge ahead and just set some arbitrary number as a target. And there is work involved in ongoing measurement and executing a fair and meaningful bonus program. But the long-term rewards for setting appropriate goals and then measuring and rewarding success can mean millions of deposits and the associated fee income for your institution. Not planning is like not trying or not caring. RDC is too strategic for it to be just something lying on your operations shelf to be dusted off if someone should happen to ask for it. Get strategic and make RDC payoff for you! I’m just sayin …….