Achieving Competitive Advantage through Fact-based management in SME Banking


Olena Gryniuk talked to Adam Jano, Head of Business Support & Sales Development at Budapest Bank (Hungary), about Fact-based management implemented in the Bank.

OG: What is the business model of Budapest Bank Business? How many RMs do you have around the country?

AJ: Budapest Bank was established in 1987. Toay, it is one of the top 8 major commercial banks and a well-established brand on the Hungarian market. We provide financial services to both consumer and commercial clients. Budapest Bank Business is the bank division that deals mainly with small and medium sized enterprises (SME). Together with our leasing subsidiary – one of the country’s leading asset leasing companies – we provide a full range of SME products for our clients. The bank’s nationwide network consists of some 100 branches for consumer clients and 21 SME hubs with more than 130 Relationship Managers (RMs) across the country. Our strengths are personalized services and deep knowledge of the Hungarian SME market. Thanks to a stable relationship with our partners, and our predictable and consistent business policy toward clients, Budapest Bank Business has been continuously increasing its stock of SME loans – even during the shrinking commercial lending market some years ago.d

OG: The digitization of the Customer Relationship is one of the pillars of digital transformation. What do you think about that? And what is your model for working with SME customers?

AJ: As for consumer clients and micro enterprises products and services are mostly standardized and processes can be easily digitalized. With respect to commercial lending, we believe that personal interactions will not be devalued in the near future, as SME products and services must remain customized in order to meet client needs. There are some simple services that can also be digitalized, but the main processes are based on strong relationship management and a deep understanding of the client’s business model with the aim of providing the best and most suitable banking solutions. A company, for example, that is planning to expand its sales to a foreign market or build a new factory unit requires huge and complex transactions with a great deal of negotiation and analysis that needs to be done highly competently, as well as close partnership between the client and bank.

OG: So digitalization and artificial intelligence will not replace SME bankers in the near future. Where can it help then?

AJ: Digital channels play a very important role in client relationship management. Alternative channels are acting as the lengthened arm of the RM in order to help target and contact new clients, and maintain contacts with existing clients. Transformation not only has an effect on banking product and services but also on internal processes. When it comes to digitalization, we believe that large sales oriented organizations can only be managed effectively with a successfully applied ‘fact based’ and data driven management approach.

OG: What are the key steps to becoming fact-based in sales management?

AJ: “Without data, you are simply another person with an opinion” (Edwards Deming) but at most companies decisions are still based on intuition or senior experience. Transformation and data driven decision-making is not only a question of technology. It also requires cultural and organizational change on all levels. There is no point in gathering and visualizing data on fancy dashboards and tons of reports until the company applies them to transform processes and business strategies.

OG: What is your fact-based approach at Budapest Bank Business?

AJ: Our approach is very similar to modern sport analytics as most of the concepts they use can be applied to modern sales management too. We invested heavily into modern data processing and analytics tools to capture and visualize all the available data across our business. This enables us to monitor customer journeys and sales force productivity through the whole business process so we can step in if necessary.

Our services are constantly monitored in line with rigorous Critical to Quality (CTQ) requirements in order to deliver high-quality products and services. Player (RM) profiling helps us to identify what our top 10 percent is doing differently so that we can increase sales force effectiveness among the other 90 percent. In depth analysis of client transactional habits and predictive analytics help us ‘feed’ our RMs with valuable client insights, e.g. potential next best offers, disloyalty alerts or suitable entry points for prospects.

Our ‘one-screen’ method allows us to follow all important data through one platform with a pyramid design. The most important data can be viewed on informative dashboards for each specific business role, and one can always dig down to the next layer, all the way down to detailed analytics. This way we can reduce the time spent reading data to a minimum. Automating by designing a self-service reporting tool enabling every function to reach the required data allows our data scientists to deal only with complex questions.

Last but not least, we are working hard at all levels of the organization to define how we interpret and use information, so that our co-workers speak the same language. This is a critical element in our corporate culture.


This interview is published in the latest SBB Magazine. Read full magazine here