Critical questions to ask

What is cross-selling in banking?

Cross-selling increases customer business and loyalty by building upon established relationships.

Why is cross-selling so important for your bank?

It’s a critical path to growth that many banks are missing or mismanaging. If you miss the opportunity to cross-sell at the right moment or push customers too far with aggressive tactics, customers may jump ship.

The challenge facing the industry is how to find the perfect approach, offering services customers need without a heavy-handed sales pitch. This eBook will outline an approach to cross-selling that will help your bank get it just right


A person with only one checking account at a financial institution has a 50-50 chance of staying. With an added savings account, the chances jump to 10 to 1. A third account boosts the odds to 19 to 1. *

*Frederick Newell, “The New Rules of Marketing” (McGraw-Hill).

If a bank isn't aggressive enough...

In one year, about one-third of banking customers who opened a new banking product purchased it from a bank other than the customer’s primary bank.*

Each time a customer goes outside of your institution for a financial product, their loyalty is lessened and your bottom line shrinks. If your bank isn’t perceived as having a full selection of products that meet customers’ needs, it’s easy for customers to shop around for timelier offers or better rates and terms.

*Bain & Company, “Customer Loyalty in Retail Banking: Global Edition 2013,” November 2013.
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Did you know?

75% of cross-selling occurs within the first few months of a customer’s onboarding.

Source: Onovative, “Why your customer’s first 90 days are critical to your bank’s growth,” January 2014.
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If a bank is too aggressive...

Being too aggressive, however, can lead to lower sales and an increased ethics risk. A one-size-fitsall script that treats every customer the same results in unappealing offers that customers ignore. Bank personnel not trained properly as salespeople can lead to pressuring customers and unethical tactics.

If the bank is too aggressive:

Customers feel smothered with sales pitches.

Branch employees feel pressured – leading to poor decision-making and ethics.

New customers start their relationship with the bank with a negative experience.

The digital approach to cross-selling

Digital cross-selling is the “just right” approach that provides the necessary balance between being too aggressive and being too reticent. It relieves bank employees of selling duties, leverages data to make appropriate offers, and puts the power in the hands of customers.

Why does it work?

It provides value to the customer. Digital cross-selling leverages analytics and data to suggest products that are personalized to each customer.

It’s transparent. The customer can access digital terms and conditions. Only the customer can provide permission to enroll in a new service or product.

It’s low-pressure. Customers can save their applications and return to complete the transaction later.

Best-in-class banks sell 1.7 additional products per customer for every account opened digitally.

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4 Best Practices for Digital Cross-selling in Banking

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Make fewer offers

Providing too much choice can overwhelm customers. Limit the number of cross-sell offers to what the customer needs, using data to select the right offers at the right time. A laundry list of products makes it difficult for applicants to determine which offers are best for them — and you might end up selling high-service products to unprofitable customers. The right number of offers? Two or three.

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Make it easy

Let current customers use a single sign-on (SSO) to respond to tailored offers. This pre-fills form data already on file — and lets customers skip annoying data entry and rigorous identity verification procedures required by Know-Your-Customer regulations.

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Cross-selling from mobile banking

Responsive web design or apps that leverage smartphone or tablet cameras and touchscreens can make applying for accounts from a mobile device as painless as possible. Younger users are more likely to use mobile banking: 67% of those ages 18-29 with smartphones use mobile banking.* It’s a prime opportunity to cross-sell to and build loyalty with a new generation of consumers.

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Bundle products smartly

Most new customers want both checking and savings accounts. Offer a package right out of the gate that bundles the two so you can focus on cross-selling higher margin products, like credit cards or home and auto loans.

*Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2016, March 2016.

Why Cross-selling in banking matters?

Over 40% of applications processed by Bottomline banks are on mobile devices.


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1. BAI Research, “The New Dynamics of Consumer Banking Relationships,” 2012.
2. Frederick Newell, “The New Rules of Marketing” (McGraw-Hill).
3. Onovative, “Why your customer’s first 90 days are critical to your bank’s growth,” January 2014.
4. Bain & Company, “Customer Loyalty in Retail Banking: Global Edition 2013,” November 2013.
5. USA Today, “Wells Fargo fined $185M for fake accounts; 5,300 were fired,” September 8, 2016.
6. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Consumers and Mobile Financial Services 2016, March 2016.
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