What Business Partners in Financial Services Expect from Headquarters
Whenever you work with your business partner it’s often crucial to set expectations.
You want to be clear about the tasks that they’ll accomplish as a part of the collaboration, but at the same time, you also want to understand what they expect from your business.
Understanding partner expectations is important for those that want to build long-lasting business relationships.
Having said that, we’re going to talk about what business partners in Financial Services expect from their headquarters and principals based on field research. The data we’ll discuss is based on interviews with tied agents, brokers and bank branch directors conducted by Lincelot . We interviewed Christopher van Bael – Managing Director at Lincelot to summarize the insights.
Business Partners in Financial Services
1. Tied agents
In Financial Services, you have tied agents. Tied agents work together with one main office.
According to Christopher, they appreciate building a close relationship with the main headquarters because it helps them create a unified strategy for sales, marketing and communications. In the long-term, these relationships provide them with ample leverage in their market or industry.
Unfortunately, tied agents often have to work with somewhat outdated systems.
Since they have to deal with a corporate bureaucracy there’s a bit of lag. This hampers swift communications and fast delivery of services to their end customers.
Another term in Financial Services is Brokers. Brokers can work with different partners.
They truly appreciate the freedom of working with different businesses. This is something that obviously tied agents can’t do.
Unlike agents, Christopher found that they often felt like they were one of the many people or parties that account managers work with. This phenomenon leads them to value and focus on building close relationships with their account managers.
Communications with headquarters is also important to them because sometimes they need to deal with the sales’ administration.
3. Bank branch manager
Bank branch managers are often responsible for the operations and staff within their respective branch office. This leads them to pursue a coaching relationship or strategic advice from the main branch.
Christopher described the feedback he received from the account manager he interviewed, saying, “He expected strategy and help to implement his strategy together with his team. He was also looking for tools and regular meetings from the main office to help him and the team accomplish the goals of the bank.”
Understanding expectations of sales partners
There are three different types of sales partners – tied agents, brokers and bank managers.
They may have different types of sales relationships with the business, but Christopher believes that they expect similar things.
1. Strategic Vision
David Parrish – a creatives industry speaker – believes that a Strategic Vision refers to a shared Vision that is embraced by everyone in the business or organisation.
Brokers might not be with your business 24/7, but the company’s strategic vision should include all your sales partners, senior management team and key staff. This ensures that the actions that they take are headed to the direction that your company wishes to pursue.
2. Commercial support
Since many business partners earn commissions, they want to achieve quality and fast deliveries to their end customers. Of course, they want to make more sales for your business because they’ll get something in return.
However, the sales process isn’t always smooth.
Sometimes big clients disappear if they have issues with your product or service. They could also lose interest if their queries aren’t addressed or if their purchases aren’t immediately delivered.
Having said that, it’s crucial for businesses to establish a commercial support team to assist business partners whenever they need it.
3. Short communication lines
It’s no secret that company hierarchy and bureaucracy can slow down business processes.
That said, business partners don’t want to deal with long communication lines. They want to receive information fast since they need to sell and convert their end customers quicker.
This means your business should make it easier for business partners to communicate issues and address problems. Overall, this benefits all the parties involved in the sales process.
4. Ideas from the work floor
Interestingly, Christopher believed that tied agents, brokers and bank managers appreciate it when the partners they work with are open to ideas from the workfloor. After all, the best ideas originate from people that directly communicate with your end customers.
If their ideas can reach the main office or the partners, it would be great if they used it to make the business even better.
Now… what do you think business partners expect from your business? What do they want? Let us know in the comments below.
Written by : Frie Pétré