We’ve addressed the issue of origination for those juniors who are looking to break into sourcing work, but what about the seasoned coverage professional?
For those who have more experience under their belt, it’s about being more focused and strategic:
- Thinking about accounts regularly
- Maintaining consistent but targeted coverage
- And giving thought to each client’s unique needs and fresh ways to address them.
Indeed, most opportunities fail, says Horacio Falcão, Senior Affiliate Professor of Decision Sciences at INSEAD, not for lack of perceived value but rather poor communication and paying too little attention to relationship management.
Focus your coverage but be DIFFERENTIATEd in your approach
You need to maintain regular coverage of your clients – you don’t want to be a fair-weather RM – but you also need to focus and differentiate your marketing efforts. Giving indiscriminate attention to every single client will just dilute your effectiveness.
When you’re identifying clients to prioritise for origination, think about the size of the client and quality or potential value of the relationship.
- How actively does this client transact?
- Are they getting significant high value coverage from competitors? Where are the gaps?
- Are there cross-selling opportunities for the firm across different products?
While there may be a lot of internal pressure to cover large clients, if you don’t have any meaningful existing relationship with them, it will likely prove less valuable than focusing on a medium-sized client with whom you do have a connection.
Your high value clients will likely share similar characteristics – so, look for patterns. Sit down and look at your existing high value clients:
- Are they a leader or follower in their market?
- Are they impacted by particular trends that you have a good understanding of?
- What characteristics do key players at each firm share?
- Do they have similar internal decision-making processes?
You’ll likely find they all fit a similar profile. Use this profile to inform the sorts of new clients to target and the existing clients that you should blitz with attention.
Be a team player
Banking is a team sport. Get as many contributors, whether from industry groups or product groups, as you need to help progress the opportunities. If you’re a pure coverage banker, let other people in your client service team develop the relationship directly.
Don’t feel you have to “own the account”. Keep management abreast of the evolving client situation and use seniors judiciously to unlock opportunities when necessary.
Tell me something I don’t know
A common criticism clients make of bankers is that they are all just marketing the same products and same advice on a merry-go-round. Clients are highly likely to have seen it all before.
You need to differentiate your content and offer real insight for each client if you want to build a strategic relationship. Don’t start from general trends and work out how they fit your client’s situation. Instead start with your client’s unique position and identify which issues matter most to them.
Keep your finger on the pulse of each of the clients you’re focusing on and know what’s coming up on their radar. That way you can be sure you’re offering them something timely and relevant.
Work the influencers
Mark the influencers and decision makers on the client side for each sort of mandate – advisory, capital markets products, etc – and engage with them. This means knowing how to communicate with each individual in a way they’ll respond to. Are they email people, mobile or face-to-face? You’ll only connect effectively if you follow their lead.
And don’t forget the client’s junior people; they can be just as influential. This is a good opportunity to develop the skills of your future originators by getting them to cover their counterparts on the client side.
Rebuild burnt bridges
Finally, don’t immediately give up on clients that seem like a lost cause; even relationships with a chequered past can be ripe with origination opportunities.
Maybe the last coverage professional over-promised and under-delivered. Or, the bank wasn’t willing to support the client with balance sheet at an important time. Whatever the problem was, you’re the new coverage officer. Make it clear that you take responsibility for those legacy issues but that you’re there to invest in the relationship and add value.
Certainly, the client will scrutinise the effort you put in, but if you prove you can deliver, you might turn an inert relationship into a strong revenue generator for the franchise.
(Hat tip to Pixabay for the featured image.)