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Zions First National Bank

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2012, Click to Enter The 2014 American Business Awards

Company: Zions First National Bank
Company Description: Zions Bank, a subsidiary of Zions Bancorporation (NASDAQ:ZION), operates 133 full-service offices in Utah and Idaho. In addition to offering a wide range of traditional banking services, Zions Bank is also a leader in small business lending and has ranked as the No. 1 lender of U.S. Small Business Administration 7(a) loans in Utah and Idaho for the past 20 and 12 consecutive years, respectively.
Nomination Category: Sales Awards Achievement Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Sales Training or Coaching Program of the Year

Nomination Title: Self-Correcting, not Self-Destructing at Zions Bank

Tell the story about your organization's sales training and/orvcoaching program since the beginning of July 2013 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

Entering 2014, Zions Bank had aggressive growth goals for the large, publicly held financial institution. Growth of 11% was required, with no increase in FTE and with reductions in the expense budgets. The only way to achieve this success would be to get more from the existing team. This required a new approach to Coaching and Training...a new leadership model for 6 lines of business (LOB.) To overcome this daunting challenge, 4 specific steps were followed:


Each LOB was asked "What Does Awesome Look Like?" "Awesome" was never sales was activities that could be modeled and replicated. This created a shift in thinking and created an environment where coaching could be very proactive & specific rather than soft and focused on lagging indicators. Each LOB helped their salespeople have clarity on the impact of key activities like opportunity starts, stage velocity, and team calls. This first step helped every officer believe "Awesomeness" was possible for each one of them as they all initiated the "Pursuit of Awesomeness."


Traditionally, salespeople were hammered with sales results and pipeline reviews. This "Flogging the Forecast," was shown in training sessions and proven to be NOT helpful in creating a performance environment. Instead, tools were created to help each LOB separate outcomes from process. This system enabled officers and directors to "Self-Correct" rather than "Self-Destruct." 5 process elements were implemented and shown to be indisputably predictive. Each could be calculated so the amount required in order to achieve goal was clear. Monthly coaching sessions were focused only on the process...not outcomes. This approach emphasized "If process is strong, success is INEVITABLE. If process is weak, success is UN-ACHIEVABLE." Each salesperson was coached to self-correct their process activities in a predictive way that "demystified" sales outcomes. Nobody was "hammered" about outcomes...results were a direct result of the actions & decisions of each salesperson. This changed the nature of the coach/salesperson relationship.


The tool that calculates process requirements at the individual level also made it possible to pinpoint unique skill gaps for over 300 salespeople. Understanding process at the activity level allowed leaders and salespeople to be on "high alert" for the skills that would make the biggest difference in efficiency. By overlaying activities to loss rates at each sales stage, salespeople and sales leaders became very efficient at improving skill gaps each month. This approach of self-correction created more success each quarter...momentum that was very real. As the capability of each salesperson improved, the combined improvement became massive and intoxicating.


The final step was to have a cadence that could be counted on. Each salesperson had a 1-on-1 "strategy session" each month with their leader. Leaders used the process tools & loss rate tools to identify what to help their reps with throughout the year with no guesswork. These plans were centered on activities and process. In addition, salespeople chose specific skills to work on each quarter with their leaders. This skill gap work led to predictable, repeatable activity improvements that not only led to short-term wins, but led to exponential success as the year went on & salesperson skills improved dramatically in areas related to sales process. These coaching sessions were part of the directors' compensation plan and were the catalyst for ultimate success.


Zions had record performances under the new coaching & leadership model:

-Commercial Banking: 132% of goal (1.733Billion...a new record)
-Private Services: 126%
-Corporate Services: 121%
-Executive Banking: 111%
-Retail Banking: 56% Growth
-Business Banking: 43% Growth
-Commercial Banking: 9/9 regions hit goal & 73% of reps hit goal
-Bankwide 54% of reps hit goal (Natnl Ave=44%) -Nearly $3Billion in sales enterprise-wide

Bringing 6 unique business lines together in 1 common coaching system and toolkit is a difficult challenge. Achieving double-digit success at the BILLION dollar level makes this nomination unique. Please recognize the Zions Self-Correction System as Coaching Program of the Year in 2014.

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