Page 3: Change within the business
The Review identified the need to have dedicated sales specialists. Although branch operations and sales were separated, customer service and counter service are all part of the same process and must work hand-in-hand. The increasing focus upon sales meant that Northern Rock needed to develop sales teams which would work inside and alongside customer service teams, with financial planning consultants within the sales teams. In the past this whole process had been reactive. For these changes to work, future plans were needed to establish a structure which would be proactive and which would create a new distribution stance.
Northern Rock’s new strategy to improve growth was to be sales-orientated, particularly in direct sales and Northern Rock Direct. This would help it to provide carefully targeted financial services products which would meet customer needs within an increasingly competitive market. Planning for the future and change is not always an easy process within an organisation. Managers and other staff have current problems and issues to occupy their time and energy, which can distract them from becoming involved in the overall direction of the organisation.
The opportunities identified by the Review that existed in direct sales and Northern Rock Direct could not be achieved without:
- a major attitudinal and cultural change through the business;
- a significant investment in the sales role, both face-to-face and on the telephone, in order to improve sales firepower;
- a company inspired top-down approach to training and development at all levels;
- a programme which would sustain the new pro-active approach to doing business which would ensure that both new and existing personnel would be included.
Having developed a new sales structure which would act as a platform for distributing products for consumers in a much more competitive business environment, the next step for Northern Rock was to initiate a training programme which would:
- be capable of being communicated freely and openly at all levels;
- act as a training programme not just for managers and experienced staff but would also enhance the sales skills and techniques of employees with no previous sales experience.