Relationship managers are some of the most important employees in a commercial bank. Their job is to answer business clients questions, advise them on some of their thorniest business problems, show them the value of the bank’s products, and also drum up business from new clients.
Today, even the average relationship managers (RMs) are highly impressive. Most must manage an increasing volume of clients, adapt to new regulatory requirements, and master new systems and processes to keep up with the constant stream of client and industry information.
So it’s no wonder that many executives also expect their RMs to be able to create powerful “commercial insights.” These insights teach clients about new challenges they are facing, and then lead back to a unique capability that the bank has to solve those challenges. Commercial insights are an incredibly powerful way to produce more revenue. Clients whose RMs deliver commercial insights during the sales process have greater wallet shares with their banks compared with RMs who don’t share insights, resulting in revenue growth of up to 16.5%, according to CEB data.
The Wrong Question: “How Do I Hire More RMs Who Can Create Insights?”
Many commercial banking executives looking to increase revenue by sharing this kind of insight with clients understandably look for RMs with the capability to create these insights.
The types of RMs who can create commercial insights and share them effectively with customers are called “challengers”. While it is possible to identify and hire them, they only make up about 23% of commercial banking RMs, according to CEB data.
The Right Question: “How Can I Help My RMs to Create Insights?”
Instead of simply waiting to find RMs with the natural ability to create commercial insight, the more forward-thinking banks are providing their full sales force with tools and other support to help them learn how to create commercial insight themselves.
Helping RMs create commercial insight is incredibly important: in fact, recent CEB analysis showed that, out of 20 different types of support that banks provide to boost sales, help with creating commercial insights led to the largest increase in the revenue RMs bring in.
The Next Question: “How Do You Help RMs Create Insights?”
According to CEB analysis, the best way to help RMs is not necessarily to train them but to give them access to a team of people who are specialists at creating insight (see chart 1).
One bank that CEB, now Gartner has worked with understood this well. The bank created a team known as the “Commercial Insight SEAL Team” to help RMs craft insights for high-value and complex deals. The bank also created a centralized resource center to give RMs access to the tools and information necessary to begin creating their own insights, along with access to library scientists who could help with research and reframing.
Chart 1: RM perceptions of availability and effectiveness of bank-provided resources to assist in delivering commercial insight to customers Source: 2017 CEB RM Sales Environment Readiness Assessment