Selling in the Financial Services Industry is Tougher Than Ever

By Chuck Sujansky

Managing a high performing sales team in the financial services industry is more challenging than ever. Your top producers have to build strong bonds of trust with customers who’ve been battered by a tough economy and frightened by industry scandals over the past four years. It’s challenging for any sales team to establish themselves as trusted personal advisors with their clients in this type of climate.

To make matters worse, sales managers are expected to recruit, hire and train a sales force that functions smoothly That’s easier said than done when the turnover rate among employees in the banking and finance industries is 16.5%, which is more than 8% higher than the turnover rate for employees overall.* To add to that challenge, the US Department of Labor expects the employment of financial services professionals to increase faster than the average for all occupations through 2014.**

How can managers keep their sales machinery humming in this type of demanding and challenging environment?

Do You Have the Tools to Boost Sales Productivity?

A high-performing sales team is like a well-oiled machine, with all of the parts meshing smoothly and working together to get the job done. Yet even the best sales teams, like the best machines, sometimes break down and begin functioning poorly. Unfortunately, you can’t send your sales team back to the shop to fix what’s broken. In that respect sales teams are far more complex than machines.

Unlike a machine, though, your sales team isn’t composed of interchangeable parts. Each member is an individual with unique needs, varying skills, distinct motivations and critical knowledge. Your job as sales manager is to forge these individuals into a cohesive unit that remains intact and focused upon achieving their goals.

But first you must minimize the risk of losing your key salespeople, a potential problem whether the economy is stagnant or growing. A sales team that begins losing key parts won’t function like any type of machine, well-oiled or not.

The High Cost of Sales Turnover

Sales people are more vulnerable to turnover than most professionals. Their sales skills are often easily transferable to organizations outside your industry. And within your industry you have to be concerned that your competitors aren’t trying to lure them away. According to Profiles International:

  • 50% of organizations are dissatisfied with new sales representative they hire
  • 19% of sales representatives turnover voluntarily each year
  • 16% of sales representatives turnover involuntarily each year

There are three major reasons for this turnover: unclear goals, a lack of communication and poor management. Very often the fundamental problem is simply a poor fit between the requirements of the sales position and the skill, knowledge and motivation of the people hired to fill the position. But replacing key sales people costs money in terms of recruiting, hiring and training expenses. There is also a price to be paid in reduced productivity and poor morale among the remaining sales staff.

Your challenge is to employ the tools necessary to fix the problems. And if you’re like most sales managers you probably don’t have a lot of time to turn things around either. You most likely have to get things back on track quickly!

So how do you quickly get a handle on each sales team member’s knowledge deficiencies, skill gaps, and motivational challenges? How do you establish a plan to develop each sales person and get your team moving in the right direction?

The Right Tool for the Job

The sales manager’s best tool for improving sales performance is the Profiles Sales CheckpointTM. This 180-degree information-generating tool enables sales managers to evaluate each sales representative, pinpoint their development needs, and align their sales priorities with the company. It provides managers with the information critical to improving productivity, increasing employee job satisfaction and reducing turnover. As the team’s manager you’ll learn whether each sales person:

  • Takes an Entrepreneurial Approach
  • Understands Prospects
  • Develops Appropriate Solutions
  • Prospects Proactively
  • Manages Selling Processes
  • Closes Sales
  • Manages Sales Relationships

You will also receive helpful, practical and immediately applicable coaching techniques and suggestions to fit each sales person’s developmental needs.  The Profiles Sales CheckpointTM is a powerful informational tool that can transform a poor-performing team into high-functioning sales machine!

Results that Count

Instruments like the Sales Checkpoint have been used by thousands of organizations to train and motivate their sales teams. The tools proved a validated system for diagnosing issues and creating strategies for improving sales performance. The results speak for themselves: ***

Ciba Vision employed Profiles International assessment tools to build a dynamic sales team of 45 representatives that took a product line with annual sales of $1 million to $2 million within two years.

The Canadian division of a personnel staffing firm reduced turnover among branch sales managers from 600% to less than 9% over several years, the lowest turnover rate in company history.

Cincom Inc. launched an initiative to identify the best traits of successful sales representatives and screened sales team members for their degree of “job fit.” After a two-year period the revenue in one division of Cincom grew by 300%, with a significant reduction in turnover.

Obviously the results of implementing a structured development program are unique to each organization. But without question using validated assessment tools are the most effective way to get results that count.

For a limited time only, we are offering our FREE report.  Click Here to Receive a FREE Sales Checkpoint Management Report (partial)! 

As a sales manager you know you need information to get the most out of your sales team. To learn more visit www.KEYEmployeeAssessments.com.  Our new website provides a detailed look at tools that can transform every work group into a high performance team. As you’ll see we believe in productive, fully engaged workplaces that attract, retain and leverage talent.  It’s time to start getting your sales team back on track!

Click here to learn about the Sales Checkpoint assessment and other assessments that can boost your sales productivity with a healthy return on investment.

* Source: Compensation Force (www.compensationforce.com/2012/09/2012-turnover-rates-by-industry.html)

** Source: — U.S. Department of Labor, Employee Training Administration      (http://www.doleta.gov/brg/indprof/Financial_profile.cfm)

*** Source: Profiles International

Charles-SujanskyChuck Sujanksy is the CEO of KEYGroup, an international training and consulting company. KEYGroup consultants partner with business leaders to find unique solutions to unique people problems while providing a return on investment through assessments, executive coaching, leadership development, and training. For more information on how KEYGroup can help your organization contact Kelly Hanna at Khanna@keygroupconsulting.com.

This article may be reprinted for your use in an organizational newsletter and or e-zine provided that you contact Kelly Hanna, Director of Sales and Marketing at 724-942-7900 to gain permission.

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