|No. 3 / 2010
SAS Adriatic Region Newsletter
As a marketer, almost everything I do revolves around being aware of current company activities, which is why it shouldn’t be surprising that I am pleased about our open-space seating arrangement. It increases the flow of information, and as result I mostly have no need to ask specific questions to gain deeper understanding of ongoing initiatives and projects. However, and being of curious personality, I find the main benefit in such seating arrangement in ability to see the full perspective of each activity through observing the associated buzz and human dimension. Knowing that our team is best described as passionate and easily excitable lot, one should understand that there aren’t many situations that would make their pulses race even quicker and shoot their enthusiasm through the roof, so when I spotted one such situations - I simply had to know more … and from the start of this learning journey I knew that I had to share it with you.
The workshop from which I will try to share my personal experiences is called Executive CRM Discovery. It is aimed at Banking Executives and their teams. Its primary purpose is to establish if and how more business can be generated through optimising areas of cross-sell, up-sell and customer retention. The workshop has three parts and usually takes 3 days. The program consists of an initial Discovery Workshop (Day 1) where discussion are held without any technical constrains or limitations, second Discovery Workshop (Day 2) where technical feasibility of topics from the initial day is established, and a closing session (Day 3) where findings and summaries are presented and recommendations are made. Not being a very technical person, I decided to join the team at initial and closing workshops.
Looking at the agenda for the initial workshop (Day 1) where first session is in essence more educational and entails a standard material delivered by a SAS consultant, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that depending on interaction with each attendee group - the actual presentation and topics that are discussed can differ to quite an extent. Since PowerPoint slides for this session remained the same though each workshop, I attributed this change to having different consultants and different styles of presentation delivery. How wrong I was! The very first time that I joined a consultant that I previously heard at another bank, the educational session was presented in a completely different manner. In this instance, as I learned later, the focus shifted from delivering campaigns and tracking responses (where this particular bank exceled) to analytical segmentation and aligning strategy with selection of campaign target groups (area where there was room for improvement). Another strong impression from educational session is most banker’s acceptance of certain suggestions made by our consultants and envisioning of changes that will be applied based on such pointers.
On the back of this interaction momentum, we would progress to a point when bank’s practises and existing business processes are discussed in detail. The ease in asking questions such as ‘What percentage of your total sales is attributed to CRM? What is your annual target for consumer lending? …’ to which direct answers were provided made me feel as if I joined a meeting between long-term partners, while actually only one of these workshops took place with an existing client. At this session I also found my personal highlight, which is in alignment across different sectors within the bank once an outside-in view is provided. Sometimes one needs somebody without the operational detail to help in providing the big picture, and I am proud that I have witnessed few cases where this somebody was our consultant.
The second discovery workshop (Day 2) where discussion and its resulting sessions are based on findings and priority roadmap which were discussed during the initial session. The best description of this process would be a Feasibility Study: i.e. we agreed what should be done and in which order, now let’s see if it can be done and how long would this take.
Finally, we arrive to my first Day 3 presentation, where it all should come together. Our consultant takes the stage and delivers a business case which is based on findings from both workshops.To my surprise he follows up with a recommendation that initiating a project does not appear to be financially viable. What? This bank has needs, are we are not capable of meeting these needs? The explanation quickly follows: ‘Yes, it can be done, but the numbers in potential improvements probably do not justify your investment’. After the initial shock, I begin to understand the concept where a ‘fit’ between what we can offer and what the bank can achieve has to exist, it has to create value for both parties and this value has to be expressed in real currency.
Not knowing what to expect, I went to another Day 3 presentation. Again, a business case comes out, but this time it is followed by a development road map, time and financial estimates. I am happy to notice approving nods around the room, no one is surprised and all appear to be in agreement. Was it really this easy? Yes. Thinking back to my previous Day 3 encounter, I start to understand why. Unlike the last time this makes financial sense, it is a win-win situation, and ‘Yes, we are both confident that it can be done.’
Eventually, I come to a new understanding of value that exists even in opposite decisions like: to act or not to act. The simple beauty of Executive CRM Discovery workshop is that that value can be quantified.