Sparbanken 1826 - The way to becoming a sales-focused bank
By making every employee act like a salesman of the bank's services an already good result got even better for Kristianstad's Savings bank (Sparbanken 1826).
- To get all employees in the organization to act as sellers of the company's key products and services.
- To make each customer interaction into a sales meeting.
- To improve the performance of the Sparbanken Bank in 1826 to 15 million in 900 days.
- The sales of important products, like retirement insurances, have increased with 300%, says Bo Bengtsson, Managing Director.
The background is that Bo Bengtsson realized that even if Kristianstad´s Savings bank had a good result there was a lot left to do. Not at least to strengthen the banks position for the future.
- The professional role for bank clerks has changed and continues to change. The traditional bank services are automatic or the clients perform them by themselves. Therefore we needed a new sale focused organization, he says.
The year was 2004. The process of working with visions and values was already finished, but they needed an effective method of getting the whole organization to sell more. Bo Bengtsson had gotten in contact with the management consultancy Qeep.
Sale goals were formulated
During the summer of 2004 they consulted Mathias Bönnemark from Qeep and in the initiating process they identified areas of improvement. The goal for the coming efforts was formulated as a result improvement of 15 million SEK during the coming 900 days. A couple of tough sale goals were formulated on office level.
- We have never been famous for being a selling organization, so it was a tough challenge to get there. Mathias at Qeep did not give us any prefinished solutions, instead he was a coach for us, says Bo Bengtsson.
The transformation wasn't easy, not all of the employees had a positive attitude during the process.
- At first there was a positive attitude, but after four or five month they started to question things. Were the goals reasonable? Was it necessary to have all these meeting? Says Bo Bengtsson.
Meetings are a must
One year later the critic had stopped. The goals that some of the employees had thought impossible to reach had showed to be realistic and had been reached over and over again. The meetings had now become a part of the working routine. Everyone realize that the meetings are necessary to keep the changing process going.
Every office manager at Kristianstad's Sparbanken bank is now coach to their own organization. An important instrument for the change is the disciplined result meetings that are held every week, one meeting at manager level and one on office level. Every employee report what they have contributed, progress, the deviations that exists, what measures that they need to take, and who's going to realize the measures and when they are going to be realized.
- No excuses are accepted. On the other hand it is allowed to do mistakes. And everybody helps out to find solutions to problems that come up, says Bo Bengtsson.
Often it is about easy solutions such as preparing customer meetings and to ask questions to the customer. To ask questions that can turn into that the customer realizes that he or she can profit from buying retirement insurance for example.
This way of working has been a big transformation for the staff, but almost everybody has accepted it. There have been rewards such as result shares and a realization that the new way of working has been a prerequisite for avoiding cutting down on staff as a result of automation in the bank industry.
- The prerequisites have also been that the managers have functioned as coaches and have supported the employees in the organization. To do this we have coach trained every manager, says Bo Bengtsson.
There have also been fast results. The sales in prioritized areas such as retirement insurances and cash cards have increased a lot. The majority of the employees feel relatively comfortable in the role as salesmen and it shows in the result.
- Even if the result so far is very good we are aware that this is not a quick-fix that will work by itself. If we should start to skip our weekly meetings we would soon be back where we started. It takes hard work and endurance to keep up the success, says Bo Bengtsson.
And he focuses on the future.
- We are a completely different bank than we were 20 years ago and we have to be prepared to be a completely different bank 20 years from now, he says.
Now it is up to the bank
Mathias Bönnemark from Qeep is phasing out his involvement in Kristianstad´s Savings bank, even if he still visits the offices on a regular basis. Now it is up to the managers of the bank to make sure that they reach their sale goals.
- A condition for the good result was that there has been such good chemistry between Mathias and the organization and that he has high credibility. It is important that a changing process like this can be realized not just with hard work but also with a twinkle in the eye, says Bo Bengtsson.
"We have reached the goals 70 weeks in a row"
To open a new bank office with clear result goals and a common working method in new fresh office space is a good prerequisite.
-We have reached our goals 70 weeks in a row, says Fredrik Nilshav, manager of office of Kristianstad´s Savings bank in Näsby.
More obvious for the client
- Before there was a lot of discussions about our fees. Now it has become clearer what we do and that we charge for what we are selling, says Fredrik Nilshav.
A feeling of saturation has yet not occurred and the staff discuses in terms of not letting go for even a second. The minimum is reaching above the goals and that is how they want it to be.
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Co-workers view of the matter
You can find the Näsby office in the outskirts of Kristianstad near the college, industrial areas and residential areas. It is easy to park the car, which contributes to that clients from both densely populated areas and the countryside chose to visit the office. 12 co-workers run counselling and sales towards the clients.
- That the result is so good is because we work with professional counselling that the client profit from, says Fredrik Nilshav.
The co-workers have also seen the advantages with the new working method. They give each other tips and dare to ask the clients if they have services that they believe that the clients can profit from. A big difference is also that it has become natural to charge the clients for the services.
By challenging, inspiring and – critically - by actively participating in the change process Qeep’s consultants give companies the confidence to raise the bar for what is possible to achieve and aspire to.
If you would like to discuss not only the results you're currently achieving, but what results it would be possible for your company to aspire to in the future as well, then please feel free to contact us.
Kristianstad´s Savings Bank
Kristianstad´s Savings bank (Sparbanken 1826) is an independent savings bank, founded in 1826.
- Number of private customers: 82 000.
- Number of corporate customers: 11 000.
- Number of offices: 14.
- Number of employees: 200.
- The result in 2004: 124 million SEK.