Pandemic Exposed Digital Bank Sales' Half-Empty Glass, according to Simon-Kucher & Partners Study

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NEW YORK, December 15, 2020 – Global strategy and marketing consultancy Simon-Kucher & Partners today released insights from their North American Bank Sales Study 2020* examining the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on banks' sales operations.

The pandemic has put digital front and center, and bankers expect digital channels to become more important for sales. Yet, only 16 percent of banks’ sales during the pandemic were completed online from start to finish via banks' website or mobile app, according to senior banks executives surveyed. Respondents said their bank's digital sales capabilities were inadequate and digital initiatives did not meet expectations.

"The study exposed significant gaps in the bank digital and omnichannel customer journey," said Wei Ke, PhD. a managing partner at Simon-Kucher & Partners. "Many bank products still require a touchpoint involving a traditional channel like the bank branch either to originate or complete the sale, at a time when the digital sales journey should be convenient and accessible across all products if that’s what the customer wants."

Bankers felt they need to improve in three areas:

Digital Sales Journey

  • Respondents overwhelmingly said online and omnichannel sales are becoming more important (86 percent and 83 percent respectively). However, a majority felt their banks have not made enough progress offering omnichannel sales experiences and providing digital support tools to relationship managers and sales specialists.

Customer Insight

  • Banks expect growth to come from stronger customer relationships. When asked about their plans for future growth, 79 percent of respondents said cross-selling or upselling, while 88 percent of respondents said new customer acquisition. Despite the pivotal role of the customer, respondents reported infrastructure, skills and data issues prevented them from capturing and managing the data necessary to understand, segment and respond to customers.

Third Party Platforms

  • Marketplaces, brokers and aggregators are growing in importance and will account for a greater percentage of sales moving forward, according to respondents. Yet, a majority (76 percent) of bankers felt they are unprepared to manage these emerging sales channels.

This is a global phenomenon as banks outside of North America reported similar challenges. As banks contract physical footprints, we expect them to redouble efforts to drive digital sales growth. When customers change how they to want to buy, banks have to change how they sell.

Full study report available upon request

*About the Study: Simon-Kucher & Partners interviewed US and Canada-based senior bank executives from retail banking, private banking, corporate banking and other financial services lines of business in October 2020.

Simon-Kucher & Partners, Strategy & Marketing Consultants:
Simon-Kucher & Partners is a global consulting firm with more than 1,400 professionals in 40 offices worldwide focusing on TopLine Power®. Founded in 1985, the company has 35 years of experience providing strategy and marketing consulting and is regarded as the world’s leading pricing advisor.