Making the sales process work in financial services

How to use FCA guidance as a step change for success

Anyone working in or around the financial services sector will be more than aware of the major policy changes that have fundamentally altered the way sales teams work. Following numerous high profile problems, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) create and review these regulations and this process is set to continue for some time yet.

The aim of the FCA is to generate a set of customer-focused guidelines for those selling financial products and services in the UK to follow. As a part of this, there is understandable pressure to ensure that, through strict policy and procedures, long-term culture change is achieved and in particular through the transformation of incentive schemes.

The successful incorporation of these changes continues to present significant issues for businesses, so, the pressing question now is: how do HRDs and managers get involved in the strategic planning of how a salesforce operates and deal with these policies to moderate and drive change for the better? This was one of the key questions we posed as part of a series of round tables undertaken by Resource Management (RM). We spoke with some of the UK’s leading HRDs to understand better what could be done to enable positive change – both for business and the employee.

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We found, when handled badly, a potential problem for FS companies was disaffected sales teams missing opportunities for growth and expansion. This was both on the bottom line and within the fabric of the business through high staff turnover and ‘turned off’ talent. When handled well however, the process truly placed the customer at the heart of the sales process. As per FCA requirements, companies selling financial products and services balanced external regulations whilst utilising interpretive guidance.

On receiving this guidance, HR has brought the sales function and the HR function into alignment to ensure its effective application.

The team at Resource Management (RM) believes a proactive and successful HR department will reconsider the functionality of the following:

  • Well-designed incentive schemes that enable and drive good behaviour through best use of policy in practice.
  • Career paths of the sales team, which will be developed according to skillset rather than “this is how we’ve always done it”.
  • Organisational structure, which will orbit around the customers’ needs and understand how employees work within a trusted environment.
  • HR itself, not only a valuable transactional function, but also a strategic, significant and versatile asset.

If these concepts and actions can be brought to bear, then this sector will no doubt lead the field in creating world-leading workplaces that optimise growth and fundamentally demonstrate that policy can be an enabler of positive change for all.


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