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Improving the sales efficiency of a Southeast Asian financial services provider

July 12, 2023 | Organisational Effectiveness

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Financial services in Southeast Asia is dominated by local banks, but also includes international banks operating in major financial centres. It is dynamic and rapidly evolving, driven by factors such as technological advancements, changing consumer preferences, and a favourable business environment. The region’s financial industry continues to grow, offering diverse services that cater to the needs of individuals, businesses, and the expanding middle class. 

Our client is a Southeast Asian financial services company that provides loans for individuals and corporations, mainly in financing motor vehicles. Established in 1995, it is now a leading player in the regional new car and used car markets. The client was at a stage where its sales grew quickly — but, for various reasons, so did its defaulters.

Because of our experience both in the region and in the financial sector, we were brought in to investigate the client’s marketing and collections divisions. As a first step, we went to many branches to understand the normal ways of working. The initial findings indicated that there were four underlying issues:

  1. Management systems had inadequate mechanisms in place for planning, performance monitoring, and follow-up.
  2. Management discipline was weak; even where management systems existed, compliance was poor.
  3. Lack of sharing of best practices and professional standards in sales and collections.
  4. A ‘blind’ attention to top-line sales targets.

Project Approach

As a result of our investigation, the client worked together with us on a 20-week transformation project to design and implement a fit-for-purpose management control system (MCS) for marketing and collections. This served the dual purposes of increasing ‘good’ revenue and reducing ‘bad’ collections.

Two Management Action Teams (MATs) were set up to cover the marketing and collections divisions respectively. The main responsibility of the MATs were to design new ways of working which covered both new and used car branches that would be implemented initially in 20 pilot branches.

Weekly MATs meetings were attended by our consultants, who provided advice and guidance in the change effort. Several workshops with branch staff were organized to test the new ways of working. This ensured their acceptance and commitment during the implementation stage.

Project Implementation

Next, we set up a task force consisting of six client-side staff to drive and sustain the implementation. We also held training in the new ways of working to ensure all branch staff were ready for the installation. Training also allowed any issues or concerns to be addressed before they could become problematic during implementation.

The new ways of working were designed and embodied in MCS that ensured branches had the right number of resources and executed their plans within the right time frame. Credit marketing officers (CMOs) and account officers (AOs) followed daily plans derived from their monthly plans and targets.

The MCS forced every layer of management to function through short interval controls and daily performance reviews. Supervisors or managers moved away from passively waiting for reports or plans submitted by their subordinates, moving towards actively knowing what is happening in the field and how their subordinates are performing.

Each installation was followed up by an audit to drive sustainability of the new processes. These audits were conducted periodically to ensure the new ways of working were properly utilised by branch staff so that they could achieve their performance targets.

“A one-time investment resulted in impact that will last much longer. They have
established a system that enables our supervisors and managers to have control over what’s going on in the branches and take necessary actions to improve performance.”

— President Commissioner

Key Results


Reduction in overall staffing


Reduction in sales staff


Increase in sales targets


Reduction in collections staff


Increase in visits by accounts officers


Average in compliance to management best practice

The MCS ensured the branches operated in the most efficient way. Through a systematic manpower plan that was based on target and performance levels, the number of resources needed could be determined and managed accordingly. This led to the realised benefit of US$1.03 million.

In addition to the above measurable results, the improvement in discipline and leadership among supervisors and managers in the branches led to a national average score of 88% for the behavioural audits. In short, the project had achieved its objectives in a sustainable way.

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