by Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional
Last year, Fortune magazine asked entrepreneurs worldwide about shared aims in entrepreneurial organizations. Surprisingly, the majority of responses were not focused on revenue, profits, or initial public offerings. The common thread? Entrepreneurs believe every prospective customer should have his or her company’s product or service.
What about your institution? Do you believe it offers the best prices, service, and experiences? Do you wake every morning looking for added ways to take your products to your customers? Should every current and prospective customer buy what you sell? If so, outbound marketing, an entrepreneurial approach to growth, may be appropriate for your institution.
Regardless of the size or resources of your institution, outbound marketing is designed to build trust, awareness, relationships, and business. It can range from one person for several hours per week to one department with full time outbound marketers. It can range from reviewing credit reports and outgoing ACH payments to making use of Big Data and predictive analytics. Regardless of how your institution goes about outbound marketing, business often flows to those who seek it first and finest. Here’s a framework to get you started and expand upon applicably.
Get your culture focused on growth. A message to customers about making the most of their relationship is essential. For staff members, it’s as simple as committing to reaching out to your customers rather than relying on inbound inquiries. By focusing on creating financial success for each customer, your institution can grow, primarily with new and recaptured loans.
Far and away from hard sales, outbound marketing relies on welcome introductions, relevant and desirable offers, and a focus on a long-term relationship with each customer. It also makes for greater acceptance from customers and employees. It’s an enterprise-wide effort to build value for the institution by building value for each customer.
Establish a formal system. Outbound marketing carries great strategic merit and requires an ordered process that is hands-on, maintainable, and continuous. Begin with:
- Calling every new customer with a warm welcome to your institution. Let them know your goals are to help them save money, earn money, and make their financial lives easier.
- Get to work on the goals for your new customers. With the data you have, begin a consultative assessment and determine if your institution can offer a better solution. Negotiate where it makes sense with an eye toward more business and a strategic relationship with each customer.
- Contact every customer who expresses interest in, applies for, or is approved for a loan. Don’t forget the indirect loans that are approved, but unfunded.
- Mine your data to recapture every loan your customers hold elsewhere. Present a side-by-side comparison showing the financial benefit your customer receives with your institution.
- Mine more data to discover loans approaching maturity or recently paid off. Your customers may be shopping again and it’s wise to be a leader in your customers’ buying process.
- Administer your pipeline and close loans. New and recaptured loan opportunities can get lost in the shuffle if not tracked and managed. Each day, examine the status of outstanding loan opportunities and applications. Lead the process of moving each opportunity to its next step – “Interested” to “Applied,” “Applied” to “In Underwriting,” “In Underwriting” to “Approved,” and “Approved to Funded.”
Measure strategic progress. If the goal is growth, loyalty, and profits, then measures must support the objectives. Many institutions keep it simple, but effective, by seeking to:
- Increase the number of products per customer.
- Decrease the percentage of single service customers.
- Increase the approved-to-funded loan ratio.
- Increase the profitability of each customer.
Some of these measures can be improved during new account opening and onboarding, especially on the transaction side (debit card, online banking, e-statements, mobile access), but the bulk of top line growth comes from targeted, outbound efforts to increase loans.
Let sales people sell. Not everyone is cut out for outbound marketing, and that’s good. Taking orders is much different from asking for business. Those leading outbound marketing are very sociable, gung ho, self-reliant, and optimistic. They are credible, resolute, bold, and eager to earn more pay for bringing in new business. They would rather build a business than manage one. Free them up to grow your enterprise.
Compensation is always a conversation starter – salary only, salary plus commission, commission only, “It’s part of your job” – and it’s central to outbound marketing. For most institutions, success comes from offering a strong salary (with stout responsibilities and performance expectations) and financial incentives for exceeding goals that support said strong salary.
Still, i’s need dotting and t’s need crossing, and a support team is vital for outbound marketing success. With the new business coming in, satisfying the support team is just as important as keeping the hunters happy. In many cases, a quarterly bonus (based on total institution goals) is a trouble-free way to reward those “behind the scenes” for their roles in your institution’s growth.
Outbound marketing is a straightforward, successful way to strengthen the entrepreneurial essence of your institution. It’s an instrument that builds value for customers and yield for your institution. Most important, it’s a statement of your institution’s commitment to and leadership for your customers.
© 2014 by Jeff Rendel. All rights reserved.
Jeff Rendel, Certified Speaking Professional, and President of Rising Above Enterprises works with financial services providers that want elite results in leadership, sales, and strategy. Each year, he addresses and facilitates for more than 100 banks and their business partners.