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Banking CRM Adoption Plan for Commercial

Karl Keller

August 11, 2023

Commercial bankers are responsible for selling and closing the largest deposit and loan deals in the institution. The most successful commercial bankers use the CRM to effectively manage their time to focus on sales and relationship building activities.

Commercial loan and deposit gathering are long term sales activities. Bringing a large commercial loan or deposit opportunity to closure is rarely a quick process. The sales process starts from the first call or meeting and can require months or years of relationship building before a buyer is ready to submit an application. This means a successful commercial relationship manager/sales associate must constantly build their sales pipeline with new prospects while at the same time managing their existing book of business.

Four Changes needed to support CRM Adoption for Commercial Bankers

1)  Make Pipeline reporting a mandatory job requirement. The financial institutions’ success is dependent on information provided by the commercial deposit and lending teams. Pipeline status must be accurate and timely for an institution to plan for funding requirements with 30-60-90 day forecasts. Pipelines must be updated on a weekly basis at a minimum. The CRM system takes away excuses and creates accountability by having an easy way to update pipeline status that works every time.

2) Commission statement as a workflow step. Automated loan and deposit workflow tools are an important component of CRM. Automated workflow provides consistency to the sales process and ensures that nothing is missed before the money goes out the door. One step that commercial lenders enjoy is when they get commissions for their hard work. Add an important step to your workflow which includes having the commercial banker complete their sales commission statement in the workflow. Nothing gets paid out unless the step is completed. 

3) Phone/Meeting/Notes Activity Tracking – New commercial business applications don’t just appear from a click on a landing page. Deposits and loan growth is direct outcome of phone and meeting activity. Weekly or bi-weekly sales meetings are key to coaching sales associates to success. Having the phone and meeting logs from the CRM allows managers to see the activities taking place while at the same time commercial bankers have notes to support future meetings. Successful sales team meet regularly to review activity and discuss closing strategies using the notes logged into the CRM. 

4) Meeting Preparation – Good client meetings require preparation. Having a pre-call plan with questions documented in the CRM prior to a meeting yields positive results. Commercial bankers must check the CRM for activity prior to any customer call or on-site meeting. There is nothing more embarrassing than attending a face-to-face business meeting only to find out there was a major problem reported the previous day. This derails business activity and reduces the likelihood of new business. To support adoption, have them log a note in the CRM as “Profile review completed” prior to any on-site visit.


Introducing a new tool into your banking environment requires proper training, on-going support, and management oversight. Banking CRM software is no exception. With a CRM, financial institutions can accelerate growth and reduce expenses by delivering on their customer service pledge.

Read the entire series:

1/5 - Senior Management

2/5 - Retail Adoption

3/5 - Commercial Adoption (this article)

4/5 - Servicing Adoption

5/5 - Operations Adoption

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