The Right Product at the Right Time

Cross-selling to current members is a vital retention strategy. One credit union is using an integrated cross-selling solution to manage customer relationships.


Like many of its peers, First Alliance Credit Union ( Rochester, MN, $82M, 11,300 members) recognizes that increasing the number of products per household is essential to building loyalty and retention in a competitive market. With the help of an integrated cross-selling solution, the credit union is now consistently selling the right product to the right member at the right time – a key tenet of CRM (customer relationship management).

Driving the Business
First Alliance management believed it was critical to generate more referrals for its highest priority products – but wasn’t convinced that more mailings or print ads were the answer. “We felt a personal sales approach would be more effective and less expensive,” says Mark Hettinger, VP of operations. The credit union had already taken several key steps in the right direction, such as developing sales objectives for all front-line staff, but knew that wouldn’t be enough.

“Some tellers and MSRs are uncomfortable selling, so we knew they’d need prompts and other help,” Hettinger says. “We also needed a good tracking mechanism to check each person’s efforts and identify those who needed coaching.”

For the technology to support this vital initiative, First Alliance turned to its core system provider. “One of the reasons we chose our core processor was the strength of its Cross-Selling Manager software,” says Hettinger. Eager to take its sales initiative to the next level, the credit union went live with the Cross-Selling Manager in September.

Prompting the Sale
The browser-based Cross-Selling Manager automates one-to-one, targeted cross-selling across multiple channels. Used on the front line, it enables First Alliance’s staff to sell the right product to the right member at the right time, based on real-time data. Through the teller and lending platforms already in use, the staff automatically receives “prompts,” indicating which products to offer a specific member during a transaction.

An implementation team first met to choose the top priority products to promote and to define the criteria for matching members with those products. The first cross-selling campaign, launched November 1, focused on promoting an overdraft line of credit to all members with a checking account and no late fees or delinquencies. When a teller or MSR entered an account number for a member during normal member servicing, if the member met the criteria, a prompt immediately popped up on the screen advising the staff to cross-sell the line of credit. By clicking on an icon, the staff could access talking points to guide them through the sales process and record their referral. To encourage participation, First Alliance ran an incentive campaign that paid staff $1 for each referral above a minimum threshold, with the funds applicable toward credit union logo apparel or spending at the holiday party.

With the promotion still in progress, over 1,000 referrals have been logged for the overdraft line of credit, with 62 loans closed to date. “The software is definitely boosting the success of the program,” Hettinger says. “Our staff is now more focused on noticing when the member doesn’t have a product with us, but should.”

The software is also helping First Alliance to track the sales efforts of its staff. “You always have people who are reluctant, so you need a way to track their progress and know when to intervene with coaching or training,” Hettinger says. Branch managers can track the results of each staff member, individuals can access their own results, and marketing employees can easily calculate staff incentives.

Best of all, the program was easy to set up. “The software already included many of the filters we’ll need for selecting products and members, but it’s also easy to set up our own using SQL,” says Lisett Comai, marketing coordinator. Building on its early success, First Alliance will move ahead in 2006 with more product promotions and a rollout of the campaign to the internet environment. Members who use the credit union’s internet banking will see banner ads for products uniquely suited to their needs.

“We know that cross-selling to current members is critical to our growth and our ability to build member loyalty, so we’re looking forward to what USERS’ software can do for our business in 2006,” Hettinger says.

For more information about USERS’ Cross-Selling Manager or other technology solutions for credit unions, visit or call 1-800-523-7282.




Dec. 19, 2005


  • It seems to be an effective way to get staff involved in referrals, that would not otherwise feel comfortable offering products to members. I'll be interested to see the success of the program in the lon run.