Accenture Banking Blog

When I started as a commercial banking relationship manager (RM) in the early ‘90s, a big part of my job was prospecting for new customers. This was an era when public information on privately held, mid-sized companies was extremely limited.  

The filings book I used to search for information—a thick paperback known as the Uniform Commercial Code—had some valuable information, but waiting for updated publications and extracting information was laborious and frustrating. Then, around the year 2000, prospecting data aggregation emerged, and companies began providing detailed data leveraged through APIs. This was an improvement, but while the prospecting information was more plentiful, the quality of the data varied widely and was still difficult to discern.

This remained the case for much of the next two decades. But slowly, as technology evolved and became more dynamic, the prospects for intelligent prospecting improved.

What once was wishful thinking for RMs is now an exciting reality. Using the power of data and AI, commercial banks can quickly transform the role of relationship managers, digitally enabling them with rich insights and innovative engagement tools to understand, relate to and support clients in more personal ways—at a time when their customers need it most.

In their struggle to stay afloat and emerge stronger after COVID-19, small and mid-size companies want, and desperately need, attention from their banks relationship managers right now – along with competent advice, hyper-relevant ideas, actions and solutions.

– Jared Rorrer, Managing Director – Global Commercial Banking Lead

Our report, The Empowered Commercial Banking Relationship Manager, outlines meaningful steps for elevating the role of RMs to deliver truly exceptional customer experiences.

The empowered Relationship Manager (RM)

As we slowly settle into what many are calling the ‘new normal’, relationship managers are looking for ways to be more strategic in how they relate to and support their customers.

Today, customers expect a hyper-personalized experience—which they can achieve in most aspects of their lives outside of banking. While perhaps a little daunting, this expectation in fact represents a huge opportunity for banks and relationship managers. If they can rise to the occasion and show their understanding and empathy as well as their lending expertise, they will be able to create, deepen and maintain relationships that will last.

Every customer that encounters this level of personalized experience will likely be a customer for life. Those that don’t, might leave and never come back. RMs are key to making the customer-for-life approach an important cornerstone of commercial banking.

To properly serve customers, we anticipate leading commercial banks will take three key actions to empower their RMs and elevate them to strategic advisors:

  1. Create adaptive capacity: streamline, digitize and automate core workflows and supporting processes to scale and redeploy capacity to higher-value customer engagements.
  2. Equip with insights: give front-line resources the data-driven insights to more effectively prioritize leads, identify cross- and up-sell opportunities, and personalize their interactions with customers.
  3. Transform the service model: use sophisticated customer segmentation techniques to reshape the coverage model, account loading and interaction strategy, resulting in solutions that meet customer needs more effectively.

Streamlined and automated workflows, coupled with innovative communications and analytics tools, free up RMs to be more present for their customers. These advances enable them to be more customer-oriented, productive and flexible in delivering a high-value experience, giving customers the tailored advice they need while differentiating the bank’s value proposition. In doing so, banks and RMs will be laying the foundation for future growth that is likely to deliver value for years to come.

Delivering on the promise of the empowered RM

The time for commercial banks to transform the role of the RM is now. But delivering a hyper-personalized customer experience is easier said than done and has been elusive for many banks. As we outline in our report, The Empowered Commercial Banking Relationship Manager, the challenge is two-fold: creating the capacity and then equipping the freed-up RMs with the new skillsets, insights and tools to use the new capacity in high-value ways. Our experience and analysis indicate that the benefits of such enablement include a 10% to 15% lift in revenue, up to 20% more time for RMs to spend on high-value activities, and up to 20% improved retention of high-performing RMs.

Click/tap on image to enlarge. Source: Accenture, The Empowered Commercial Banking Relationship Manager


Banks that proactively transform the role of RMs into strategic advisors, enabling them with intelligent automation, digital sales processes and tools and rich insights, will have the advantage over those that hesitate. Doing so will help cultivate lasting relationships with customers, while happier and higher-performing RMs will be free to focus on highest-value activities.

Accenture understands the path forward and can help commercial banks navigate their journey to the empowered RM. We have deep experience and capabilities—including workforce change, advanced analytics, digital tools and more—to assist banks in getting started and making it happen.

To learn more, register to read the full report The Empowered Commercial Banking Relationship Manager. Or to discuss how Accenture is enabling intelligent prospecting for RMs in commercial banking, please to reach out to me.
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Disclaimer: This content is provided for general information purposes and is not intended to be used in place of consultation with our professional advisors. Copyright© 2022 Accenture. All rights reserved. Accenture and its logo are registered trademarks of Accenture.