Case Study: How a global bank increased cross-selling effectiveness and realized a significant increase on commercial performance

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cross-selling effectiveness

Data analysis, strategic digital tools, and nudges can enhance the commercial effectiveness of bank relationship managers when up-selling and cross-selling high value products and services.

Cross-selling is a critical component of growth in banking. Cross-selling and upselling increases customer lifetime value, generates revenues at low incremental cost, and deepens the customer relationship and loyalty to the institution.

However, the ability to cross-sell effectively and efficiently can be challenging especially with new regulations, tighter controls, and fewer in-person interactions after the COVID-19 pandemic.

A leading global bank was startled to see a steady decline in performance from efforts to cross-sell high-value products like funds, investments, and life insurance to clients after the pandemic.

High-value financial products can be especially hard to sell as they are usually complex, come with a lot of technicalities, and require specialized financial knowledge. Its a buying process that requires effort and focus, and people tend to put it off. Communications of such products on digital channels have to be accessible, and the customer journey simple and barrier-free. Additionally, the role of a knowledgeable and trusted advisor is pivotal to help clients navigate some of these barriers.

How can the bank improve the way it cross-sells and up-sells high-value, complex financial products in an increasingly digital, post-pandemic world?

Leveraging data, analytics and behavioral science, Simon-Kucher introduced a modern, systematic approach to help this bank optimize sales interactions, improve the client experience, and empower its sales and relationship managers.

Identifying buying barriers - There are a number of psychological barriers that are particularly relevant when it comes to derailing a buying decision in financial products and services. These include decision-fatigue, it-can-wait thinking, status-quo bias, and more. As an important first step, Simon-Kucher conducted market tests to validate hypotheses on the most relevant cognitive barriers impacting the high-value financial products offered by the bank.

Sales process audit - To determine if the bank's sales team and sales processes are properly aligned with the buying decisioning process, Simon-Kucher conducted a thorough assessment, audit, and analysis. This methodological process to identify areas for improvement included observing how digital journeys were structured, how information was communicated on digital channels, and how sales were typically conducted paying close attention to the relationship manager's selling speech, what marketing material were available as aids and which ones were used during interactions with clients.

Optimizing sales performance - Another critical element to improve the performance of cross-selling efforts is to leverage optimized digital journeys, selling tools, nudges, and other strategies to enhance sales interactions. For example, working closely with Simon-Kucher, the bank developed pre-defined, interactive scripts to train and guide communications with the client. Communications on digital channels and tools for relationship managers were supported with nudging elements to ensure they help clients progress through the buying journey with recalling mechanisms, anchoring, and default options. There were also mechanisms to ensure the managers followed-up with clients, used approachable language to replace jargon when explaining concepts, and employed examples and simple logics to reduce complexity.

Testing and validation - Testing and validation is an important step in any product development lifecycle to evaluate if the new sales processes are functioning as intended and to ensure quality. Simon-Kucher's rigorous validation testing protocols ensures only the most effective solutions are implemented, and critical business elements are performing. 

Optimized communication, new behavioral tools and an improved sales process were able to improve the client experience while increasing their commercial effectiveness, to realize a 50 percent increase on conversion rate.

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