How banks can leverage internal referrals to drive growth

Ryan Plourde
| 8/23/2021
Increase referrals

To keep growing, banks, like most customer-facing organizations, need referrals. When a satisfied customer recommends your bank to their friends, that’s a win. But that’s not the only kind of referral that can increase a bank’s revenue.

Referrals can also come from within the organization. Interdepartmental referrals such as a teller referring a valued customer to an investment adviser or a wealth management director can also drive increased business.

It’s a good policy to sell additional products and services to existing customers because:

  • Their information is in-house
  • Team members have worked with them
  • It’s easier and more cost-effective than locating new clients

Team members often use their bank’s CRM system to track internal referrals and set team or individual goals for selling new services. Those who meet goals receive rewards while also increasing the bank’s revenue.

Although this approach sounds good, what roadblocks might hinder its success?

Awareness roadblock

Some team members might be more cross-sell savvy and aware than others. Some just focus on matters at hand and overlook opportunities to upsell or cross-sell.

Management roadblock

Department managers must support referral initiatives. At one financial institution we worked with, the commercial lending team accepted referrals but never reciprocated. Why? The department manager regularly told the team to “just focus on lending” and chose not to emphasize the opportunities and incentives for making internal referrals to other departments.

Technology roadblock

Technology comes easier to some employees than to others. For example, some team members might be so busy with other tasks that they forget to enter information into the bank’s CRM system. Or they might make a verbal referral to a fellow team member but decide that entering it into the CRM system seems too difficult. If a bank’s CRM system is not user-friendly, the bank may be at risk for technology roadblock.

How can banks overcome these roadblocks and generate internal referrals?

To be most effective, internal referrals must be tracked in a full-service, user-friendly CRM system that employees will adopt. Crowe CRM for Banking, powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365™, is built specifically for the banking industry and provides a modern, user-friendly interface.

With just a little training, teams that already work with Microsoft products should be able to enter internal referrals quickly and easily and avoid technology roadblock.

Here are a few strategies that have worked for banks to increase internal referrals.


Banks that pay commissions should make them contingent on the internal referral being entered upfront into the CRM system. A strong “no commission if it’s not in CRM” policy should motivate reluctant employees to use the system.

Reward effort

With Crowe CRM for Banking, managers can easily pull reports showing successful leads as well as attempted referrals. By tracking attempted referrals and closed deals, management can identify team members who make a good effort but need extra coaching to identify opportunities that more likely will result in a successful sale.

Highlight wins

Employees want to be recognized. One financial institution we work with shares referral success stories in a monthly internal email and also sponsors a special program for employees who have excelled at referring leads that result in new business. Each year, the institution hosts a dinner and presents awards to top referring employees.

With smart strategies, supported by the right CRM system, banks can maximize internal referrals and stimulate growth.

Have a question or interested in evaluating the CRM functionality in Dynamics 365? 

About Crowe CRM for Banking

Crowe CRM for Banking provides an accurate, 360-degree view of customers – with a single view into all communications, interactions, operations, and relationships. The solution gives bank staff the tools and information for delivering efficient, high-quality, personalized service across all channels. It empowers managers and team members to meet banking challenges, reach business goals, and thrive in a changing marketplace.

Visit for more information about Crowe CRM solutions and services for Microsoft Dynamics 365 software.

Microsoft and Microsoft Dynamics 365 are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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Ryan Plourde
Ryan Plourde
Principal, Microsoft CRM Leader