Prvi kvartal 2010
SAS Adriatic Region Newsletter

Ferenc Joó

Selling through CRM

Ferenc Joó | Vice President Retail CRM
Raiffeisen International Bank-Holding AG


We have to sell – all eyes are on CRM

2010 is the best time to work in the field of CRM. Banks will rely more on existing clients as branch expansion is slowed down or stopped, marketing budgets are reduced, and lending to new customers is severely restricted. At the same time, bank clients are also more careful to try new institutions. After the financial crisis most clients tend to stick to established and trusted banks.

As a consequence, many bank executives have already realized that they need to do more CRM. Obviously, what they mostly (in reality) mean is to sell more products to the banks current customers. Accepting that this expectation is massively simplifying the role of CRM, the push from the boardroom should help CRM leaders in getting the required organizational, procedural and technology changes.

Our challenge is that CRM is expected to produce sales results quickly – in parallel with building the organization and infrastructure and, somehow changing the business culture too. CRM leaders who want to succeed in the next years will have to balance these two conflicting objectives.

Also in Raiffeisen all eyes are on CRM. Sales people realized that it’s much harder to sell loans to people who just walk in. Product managers know that some of their projects were delayed to provide resources for CRM projects. Most departments are cutting headcount while CRM as a function is growing. This means that CRM has to produce successful campaigns (measured in hard currency) real fast.

Our plan is to generate many campaigns to learn what works and what does not work in 2010. If we have no CRM data mart we pull the data and use IT tools at hand. If we have no campaign automation, we filter the campaign lists manually every month and so on. But we will do it because we have to do it as our bank depends on CRM deals in 2010 more than ever.

Obviously, in parallel with pushing out campaigns, we will be working on tools and data infrastructure. We can not sustain this activity level with manual processes very long. Our teams would burn out from the repetitive tasks and our customer base would be saturated with the relatively untargeted offerings. In addition, we need process automation to free up the capacity of our best talents to work on deepening our customer understanding and to develop more sophisticated programs (like event triggered offers).

It’s important though that we improve our technology gradually. As we keep on pushing out campaigns manually, we develop sustainable CRM practices that can be standardized and automated. We will also learn the limitations of our current tools and processes that help us select the right tools for our needs and implement them successfully.  

Still, in 2010 our focus is on running campaigns and producing strong results. We do it to strengthen our relationship with our core customers and keep on learning about their needs. Even more importantly, our campaigns will drive our bank’s business results in a difficult period and keep earning management trust and support for further CRM investments.

In short CRM has to sell. Luckily, 2010 is a perfect year for that.



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