PFIC Corp., the third-party marketing arm of Union Planters Corp. of Memphis, is joining forces with ActionSystems Inc. of Dallas to market a customer and sales management program that could boost investment product sales at banking companies.
The program, called TeamsEnaction, combines two systems, which can be used together or individually.
One is Team, developed by Nashville-based PFIC, which has 80 bank clients. Team uses software coupled with human analysis to track sales and the customer contacts at bank branches required to generate those sales. For example, the program could tell a branch manager how many visits a customer averages before deciding to make an appointment with a financial adviser, or how many appointments a financial adviser needs in order to make a sale.
The other component of the program, ActionSystems' Enact, allows users to generate customer lists -- based on demographics or other criteria -- to target products at those most likely to buy them.
In addition to providing software, PFIC and ActionSystems train bank employees to analyze and use the data generated.
Though both systems are designed to facilitate sales of any bank product or even non-bank products they lend themselves particularly well to investment product sales, said Robert Hall, chief executive officer of ActionSystems.
"It's very much directed at the potential purchase of investment products," Mr. Hall said. The software helps identify customers who might be interested in particular investment products as well as those likely to leave a bank, for example, because they use only one of its products. The bank might use investments as a means of keeping that customer, Mr. Hall said.
Michael J. Kokoleca, a vice president in sales management at Boston-based Fleet Bank, said Enact has increased cross-selling opportunities. "It allows you to look across all your existing customers and make those relationships more profitable," he said.
Using software to identify customers is not new to banks. Credit card issuers in particular have been successful in combining customer information with product use to home in on potential markets, said Dennis Dolego, director of research at Optima Group in Fairfield, Conn.
But Mr. Dolego questioned whether software could track investment product sales in a meaningful way. "There are so many variables," he said. A mutual fund that sells well after reporting good performance, for instance, might require several customer contacts to sell six months later, he said, so ratios of customer contacts to sales would be meaningless.
James R. Arnold, PFIC's chief executive officer, said that would not affect the program's effectiveness. "The most important part of the sales process is information," he said. "Customer relationship management is the key to selling anything." ?