In the second part of our interview, Frank Casale, Regional Vice President for Rhode Island and Southeastern Massachusetts for TD Bank, discusses how he approaches managing a commercial sales team. (To read the first part go here.)
Ned Miller: Do you have a structure to a typical week?
Frank Casale: My week starts off very formally on Sunday night. I will get our sales reports from the prior week and go over the sales activities recorded in our sales tool. Monday is really just coming in and seeing what the week will be like for the RMs. Tuesday and Wednesday we look at the pipeline and the priorities. Then Thursday and Friday is execution and planning for the next week.
Ned: What do you do to keep your team focused and motivated?
Frank: There is a lot more to motivation than simply being paid. Do your high-performers feel that they have autonomy? Is their level of mastery periodically assessed and recognized? Do they have a healthy working relationship with their sales manager and their fellow RMs? Do they feel they contribute to the organization’s mission and purpose?
Ned: What advice would you give to someone who has to manage a remote team?
Frank: The best way is to create a schedule. Then people know where you’re going to be on a day-to-day basis. Then when RMs schedule meetings with customers or COIs they know that you will be there on that day. I wouldn’t want to take RMs out their market more than once a month.
Ned: How would you help an RM come up with a plan for a major relationship?
Frank: Generally speaking the discussion starts with credit. If you get the credit, then you get the deposits and everything else that comes along with that. Hopefully, the RM has gotten the financial package to look at beforehand to see what type of products they have. We will discuss what we think their financial needs are on the credit side and then talk about the cash cycle.
Ned: Are there reasons to get the credit partners involved early on in the prospecting strategy?
Frank: We usually get them involved when we have a financial package. It is very important to get the credit people on board right away because we want to be both effective and efficient in getting a proposal to the client.
Ned: What is your approach to pre-call planning?
Frank: Most of our commercial RMs have been on the job for a long time and have been on hundreds of calls. It is standard practice for RMs to discuss the objectives of an upcoming call with their manager. Pre-call preparation for RMs includes visiting the company website, formulating questions, identifying key partners in the bank whot might assist on the call, and debriefing after the call.
Ned: Are there any expectations that you have before a call that you will be in on?
Frank: I expect the pre-call discussion to be strategic. We identify the best questions for the company. We want the clients to talk more than we talk and we want to listen more. Knowing how money goes into the company and how money comes out of the company is how we are going to formulate our value proposition. Does it create efficiency for the company? Is there an economic advantage or all of the above? It really comes down to the basics and I think that is understanding their cash cycle.
Ned: Do you think the bar is being raised for RMs to be more conversant in non-credit products in addition to understanding the business?
Frank: Yes. We invest in a lot of training for our people. We have a program called Star Training that all RMs go through on things like Treasury Management and how to identify and recommend the right products for clients. RMs need to be able to talk about products and services without having to rely on the partners being there.
Ned: Do you encourage new RMs to call on former customers?
Frank: I have new RMs spend a lot time using our sales tools to research the top 10 clients at their last institution. We then check to see if the prospects are in our system and who they are assigned to. A new RM will then work with folks internally who have called on those prospects and figure out the best way to get the prospect in the bank.
Ned: Have your RMs been successful in developing expertise in niches (e.g. health care, manufacturing, exporters, etc.)?
Frank: Relationship Managers are able to identify niches by knowing which CPAs in the marketplace have that specialty. Niche lenders can be very successful.
Ned: Is there anything you do to help people stay accountable to what they are trying to accomplish?
Frank: Accountability goes back to whether or not the RM understands the organization’s values and mission. Does the RM understand the culture? Our culture demands certain activities and behaviors as far as accountability is concerned. We measure those activities and behaviors weekly. Accountability is really the brand, model, and the culture of TD Bank. Sales tools are part of our culture, but those sales tools and ongoing sales training provides RMs with recommendations not mandates. The RMs can really thrive in that type of culture.
Ned: So it is really non-negotiable when it comes to utilizing the sales tools that support your culture?
Frank: Exactly. Sales tools and the sales process are non-negotiables. If you commit to recording your actions and behaviors and get coached to that, you will produce results.
Ned: Can Producing Managers who are managing a team and a portfolio be successful?
Frank: I have found that being a manager without a portfolio is better because I can commit myself to spending a lot of time looking at sales tools and activities and then incorporating that into a strategy rather than worrying about my own portfolio. Being a player coach is very time-consuming and I think it skews the accountability to the team. At the end of the day you have your own portfolio and that usually takes precedence over spending more time on the sales process with the team.
Ned: Do you have any final comments on sales management?
Frank: Sales management is all about being committed to activities and behaviors. It starts with putting together the right team and really knowing your marketplace. A manager’s number one job is to recruit and knowing how to recruit before the need is there so that it doesn’t become crisis management.
To read the first part of this interview on “Inside Sales Management” go here.
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Bank Sales Managers: If you’d like to arrange a 30 minute conversation to discuss how we can help you improve your team’s sales results, call Ned Miller at 484-433-2378 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.