Empower senior relationship managers to secure lucrative deals through developing transactional deals into strategic client relationships
Upskilling senior relationship managers to secure more lucrative deals by developing transactional business into longer term strategic relationships.
This case study focuses on one of our global clients; a development bank encouraging investment in less developed countries.
With our client’s change of leadership came a stronger focus on customer relationship management. Relationship Manager (RMs) were asked to deliver more lucrative deals within stringent investment parameters. This meant RMs needed to adapt their approach; away from short-term transactional deals towards longer term trust-based strategic relationship management delivering mutually acceptable solutions. Our brief was to incorporate the following behavioural skills:
- Stakeholder mapping
- Identifying opportunities via account planning
- Building credibility to secure the next meeting; selling the value proposition
- Emphatic listening: asking the right questions at the right time
- Developing trust
- Negotiation skills
- Handling objections and difficult conversations
Our analysis resulted from interviews with key stakeholders including prospective programme attendees who have been doing the RM role at the organisation for multiple decades, adapting their client approach according to often-changing company strategy. We analysed their input, along with that from Regional Divisional Heads, Client Directors and Senior and Junior CRMs and compared the data with client survey results to:
- gauge a true picture of the RMs’ current knowledge, skills and abilities
- determine the appropriate level to pitch behavioural and technical content recognising the vast experience of the majority of participants
Propose and Refine
Our client played a full role in the design and delivery of the programme, hosting a week-long agile workshop to build out the proposed programme and test recommendations. With access to key individuals from the business, we quickly adapted our original thinking to ensure the programme would fill identified skills and knowledge gaps whilst staying true to organisational culture.
Design and Develop
From the first interview it was clear that the learning environment needed to be engaging for a group of experienced individuals with longevity in their role. Our facilitator, experienced in banking sales and relationship management, eschewed delivering content for enabling practical application. Participants entered a hot-house environment, taking part in a simulation designed to test their client relationship skills from initial meeting through to win-back. With access to “client” information, their own products and solutions and key stakeholders, this design meant participants would be able to:
- understand what was being required of them in the new role
- test their existing skills against this requirement
- learn new relationship management approaches
A flipped learning experience, designed to reflect real-life RM organisational and client challenges and develop their skillset via:
- practical application
- social learning
- sharing and testing best practice in simulated situations
Each live interaction was assessed and RMs received feedback from key business stakeholders, many of whom were involved in the programme design. RMs created their own personal development plans to use for ongoing learning.
Return on Investment
Client survey data indicates a positive shift in the way that RMs interact with their clients, and the numbers reflect the desired outcomes from the change to corporate strategy. In particular:
Feedback has so far been extremely positive; where past experience shows us RMs veer away from engaging in activities that take away from sales, this programme has a waiting list.
There is still work to do as long-standing employees adapt to the change, however this programme is acting as a much-needed catalyst.
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