SunTrust Bank

Acquiring Business Clients with Thought Leadership

SunTrust Bank

Acquiring Business Clients with Thought Leadership

The Challenge

SunTrust Business Banking needed to help their sales organization sell the value of SunTrust solutions and services to deepen relationships with business owners that perceive banking as a commodity. Their top challenge was finding ways to differentiate SunTrust in the eyes of busy business owners using original education, advice, and insights that address the top challenges they face. In addition, the bank needed to support door opening and sustained calling by giving relationship managers compelling reasons to call, create sales meetings, and cross-sell new payments and cash management solutions.

Our Approach

Our team worked closely with a cross-functional team made up of marketing, sales and product managers to co-create a fully integrated marketing and sales program to drive engagement, qualified leads, and face-to-face meetings with business owners in all of SunTrust’s primary markets. Our team conceived, created, and executed a thought leadership selling program based on proprietary best practices research to differentiate the company in a commoditized segment and supported sustained calling by giving relationship managers compelling reasons to call, create sales meetings, and drive cross-sell.

Understanding Business Owner Needs & Pain Points

Our team directly engaged business owners in SunTrust’s high priority segments to identify their greatest unmet needs and develop original best practices research and insights on critical issues of cash flow, growth, and time management.

Selling Events

Business Over Breakfast Regional Education Events

To actively engage business owners, we teamed with the sales leadership in 24 regional markets to plan, promote, execute, and follow-up on local business owner education events twice a year. Each event was hosted by the regional sales team, and included: local influencer and media development, on-site sales training, networking breakfasts, follow-up calling programs, and lead nurturing streams. To improve sales acumen and effectiveness, every SunTrust relationship manager was provided with tools and training to help facilitate proactive contact, invitations, and deeper conversations with business owners before, during — and most importantly — after the events.

Thought Leadership Selling

Best practices to help owners improve their #1 issue — improving cash flow

To create compelling reasons for sales and marketing to engage busy business owners, our team developed proprietary best practices research to give SunTrust a differentiated way to create compelling communications, direct marketing and direct response advertising, and social media. The program was anchored by a comprehensive education program – The Financial Fitness Program – which addressed the top challenge facing business owners: managing and accelerating cash flow.


Supporting Every Step of the Customer Journey

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integrated slide - digital surgeons, sales engagement, original advisory content
integrated slide - digital surgeons


Suntrust Results - 500

Weekly inquiries from business owners in digital channels

Suntrust Results - #1

Market Share in Event Markets

Suntrust Results - 12,500

Face-to-face meetings with business owners

The SunTrust thought leadership selling program generated inbound prospect engagement and proactive customer contact across the full range of media, digital marketing and sales channels. Paid, digital, and social media drove hundreds of white paper downloads from qualified business owners weekly, and over 11,000 event registrations, with an average of 150 business owners attending each Business Over Breakfast sales event. Within the sale territories supporting the program, each relationship manager was able to make and track high quality touches, meetings and follow-up sales calls with the top 50 highest value clients as well as influencers and referrals within their territory. The experiential events allowed 24 sales regions to grow market share within their regional markets, with several regions attaining top share according to Greenwich Associates, and increased prospects across the bank's footprint.

"The best continuing education event I have ever attended, (it) far surpassed my expectations... the information made me really think outside of my normal financial box... this is the type of financial partnership that I have been looking for." —CPA, Raleigh

Think thought leadership is for you?