WILLIAMSBURG, Va. (9/19/08)--Credit unions looking to advance the effectiveness of their sales should retain and focus on 5% of the “right” members to generate substantial revenue increases, according to a CUNA Operations, Sales and Service (OpSS) Council presentation at the OpSS Council Conference in Williamsburg, Va. The conference started Thursday and continues through Saturday. During her presentation, “Advancing the Sales Effectiveness of Your Credit Union,” Angela Prestil, director of sales culture development, Creating Member Loyalty programs at the Credit Union National Association, said credit unions need to know that creating a “value experience” for the right members requires proactivity at the front line and back office, and that consistent and proactive sales management drives results and continuous improvement. Credit unions should know that staff and managers have limited time, which requires effective planning for high-gain activities. Consistent and proactive sales management drives results and continuous improvement. About 60% of credit unions don’t know what their members’ needs are. As a result, members won’t know about or use the credit union’s products. They will migrate to another provider, Prestil said. The “top” 20% of members account for 100% to 200% of credit unions’ profits. The rest have a neutral or negative impact. Credit unions should move top members from a “satisfied” position to a “loyal” position to generate revenue, she said. Other critical success factors to enhancing sales effectiveness are relationship management, sales management and organizational alignment. Relationship management involves getting members to use products instead of buy them, and retaining members instead of just selling to them. More attention should be placed on a member’s financial situation, instead of the product or service. This can be tough, because sales managers often have to spend time on non-sales activities. “Sales managers seldom perform the activities that will ensure a strong sales culture,” she said. “Sales managers understand their role but are prevented from doing it. Organizational discipline and support for managers is essential.” To realign branch manager activities, credit unions should:
* Delegate operations and administrative duties to assistant managers; * Centralize lending--manager no longer needs to approve loans; * Eliminate reports and meetings that don’t add value; * Add a new position dedicated to sales management and coaching; and * Offer coaching for managers by senior managers.