It’s easy to build a case for cross-selling additional products and services to customers. The hard part is developing a program that’s measurable and effective.
Cross-selling is essential to developing strong, lasting customer relationships. Therefore, the first phase of creating a successfully cross-sell program should be a series of value-focused touch points that provides information about your bank and encourages customers to provide feedback.
First: Make your initial messages service oriented. They should highlight the value delivered by your bank and products—and highlight messages that stress the specific benefits of having a relationship with your bank.
These initial communications set expectations and educate your customers about your products and fees. It’s important at this stage to provide customers with opportunities to provide feedback, ask questions and clarify information about your bank and its products.
Active, satisfied engagement leads to long-term cross-sell success much more effectively than pushing products and services. Why? It shows your customers you care more about them, not what you sell.
The second phase of an effective cross-sell program focuses on identifying and meeting the needs of your customers. Only by learning what your customers need can you provide them with appropriate offers. And the more insight about your customer needs, the more successful your cross-sell program.
This stage requires two-way communication with your customers. The best way to find out what a customer needs is simply to ask them via a personal needs assessment. To be effective, ask customers if and when they plan on experiencing specific life events in the next 12 months—such as graduating from college, becoming a parent, getting married, buying or selling a home.
The customer’s responses allow you to send relevant offers at the specific time the customer expressed a need. If the customer doesn’t express a need on the assessment, you can use analytics (next-best, or predictive, modeling) to determine the offer.
The third, and last, step: Make the offer. It makes sense for front-line staff to handle this job when the customer makes a branch transaction or calls the bank. However, many times employees hired for front-line positions don’t have the sales skills and product knowledge to complete a successful cross-sell. In addition, customers don’t want to be “sold” when they’re making a transaction or calling with a question. They’re often in a hurry and don’t want to take time to open a new account or service.
Direct marketing programs offer a more effective, measurable alternative. These campaigns let you personalize the message and offer based on the customer’s need. To generate higher close rates, include more than one offer in your mail or email communication. Multiple offers increase the likelihood the customer will have a need for one of your bank’s products or services.
Sending targeted offers provides your staff an opportunity to follow up with customers. This makes the sales process easier for the front-line staff and can increase close rates as much as fivefold. Your staff will feel more comfortable calling customers when they know the offers were based on needs expressed by customers or predictive analytics that indicates next-best product(s).
When you develop a value-focused approach to your cross-sell program, you cultivate need-based relationships with your customers—and improve cross-sell ratios for your bank.