Underwhelmed With Your Online Sales Results? Try Adjusting Your Focus

By Ron Shevlin, Senior Analyst at Aite Group

Many firms have built online application capabilities assuming that it will drive the acquisition of new customers and members; but when the results are less than stellar, some firms question the value of the Web as a sales channel. The problem might not be the channel, but, instead, how firms are selling and whom they are targeting.

As Aite Group talks to banks and credit unions about their online selling efforts, we see several commonly missed growth opportunities:

1. Cross-sell to your existing base. Your best cross-sell prospects can be found within your existing base. Many firms are challenged with a base that owns a single product, a low-balance checking account. Rather than bringing in more single product customers/members, focus on cross-selling deposit and credit products to your current website users.

2. Prioritize demand generation and conversion. Implementing online account opening capabilities ahead of building capabilities around demand generation and demand conversion can produce frustration. If you don’t fill the pipeline, there will be few potential accounts to open. The reverse is true, as well. Filling the pipeline with prospects, and providing landing pages and comparison tools that persuade them to buy a product can produce less-than-satisfactory results if effective online account opening capabilities are lacking.

3. Sense-and-respond to online sales opportunities. When we talk to firms about their online marketing and sales capabilities, their plans often include integrating the online channel with enterprise-wide CRM efforts and using the website to deliver messages that would otherwise have been sent through direct mail and email. While this is good, it misses the key opportunity that the online channel provides: To sense-and-respond to opportunities as they come up. Today, few banks and credit unions mine online bill pay or card (debit or credit) purchase activity to identify marketing opportunities.

What stymies your online sales efforts? Is it channel competition with the branches, lack of targeted online marketing capabilities, the inability to instantly fund and open accounts? To join the conversation visit In:Volve.