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The carrot or the stick…or perhaps both?

All financial service organizations want to deepen their relationship with clients to grab a greater share of wallet. However, many struggle with how to motivate their sales professionals to work successfully as a team, particularly across lines of business.

The primary challenge is developing a cross-sell strategy that motivates employees to identify attractive sales opportunities within their own client base, even if they risk sharing their client with another business unit of the firm in the process.

Organizations have traditionally used either a “carrot” or a “stick” strategy – they reward an employee for making a referral or sale, or, they incorporate cross-selling into overall performance goals and punish the employee if those goals are not met. While both strategies can work, we’ve found that a combination of the two has proven to be the most successful. Setting cross-sell goals establishes collaborative selling as a job requirement and makes it part of the business culture. Rewarding the individual for accomplishing the objective acknowledges that individual efforts to meet broader, cross-silo client needs are valued by the organization.

For those organizations that have built cross-silo teams, a similar dual approach to compensation is advised. Team incentives motivate cross-silo communication and referrals, but individual incentives drive broader participation by team members in the sales process. By offering a combination of team and individual incentives, an organization can establish a culture of cooperation, build teamwork and motivate individual effort.