How To Sell To Today’s Credit Unions (Part 2)

Tips, tricks, and insights from Callahan & Associates on how to successfully sell to credit unions.

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Credit unions are a breed apart, and Callahan has been serving them for more than 30 years. These tips, tricks, and insights draw on what we’ve learned about the movement and what you need to know to drive adoption of products and services within this growing niche.

Learning From Prospect Data

Four times a year, each federally insured credit union in America and that’s nearly all of them submits detailed financial and operational data to the National Credit Union Administration.

Called 5300 Call Reports, they’re a digital treasure trove of data that you can use to gather insights on your credit union prospects, from how rapidly they are growing to the efficiency of their operations.

There is prospecting gold in that data, if you know how to mine it. The NCUA can’t help. The regulator makes the massive raw data files public, but that’s about it. That’s where Callahan’s data software proves so handy in aggregating and organizing the data in a way that cuts down the time it takes to gather useful insights from hours to minutes.

Here are a few ways to leverage the available data when researching individual credit union prospects:

Identify Trends With Historical Data

Almost as important as how a credit union is currently performing is how it got there. For example, take two similar credit unions with an average member relationship of $15,000. One credit union has trended upward toward that number for five years while the other slid downward over that timeframe. One credit union will be satisfied while the other might be looking at solutions for its growing problem.

That makes it important to go beyond the current figure for whichever metrics you’re interested in. At the very least, look at the previous year’s performance as well. Ideally, go five years back for a short timeline showing how a credit union reached its current standing. You’ll discover when pitfalls or gains occurred; perhaps it was after a new loan or deposit type was added to the product lineup.

Add Context By Creating Comparisons

A number that when isolated might seem healthy, may not look so great in comparison to other credit unions.

For a quick comparison, compare your target credit union with all others in the U.S. This highlights strengths and weaknesses by showing whether it is keeping up with industry-wide averages. Also consider looking at a credit union against local peers, those of a similar size, or those with similar business models (i.e. large branch footprint, SEG based membership, high concentration of auto loans etc.)

Gain more insight and more ammo for the actual sales conversation by comparing a credit union’s performance to that of your current clients. If they aren’t performing as well as your clients, you just discovered an area where you can help. Callahan’s data software makes this easy, since you can upload a list of your clients and use their averages for comparisons.

Gain Perspective With Relevant Metrics

Credit unions report on hundreds of different metrics each quarter, from number of employees to yield on short-term loans. You name it, and you can probably find it buried somewhere in the 5300.

All these details are significant to some roles and departments at the credit union and not to others. You want to hone in on what’s relevant to the decision-makers you’ll be working with.

For instance, if you’re going to need buy-in from the CLO, then lending ratios should be a focus. Likewise, if you’ll need the CMO’s approval, deep dive on growth and penetration metrics. Tools like CUTarget provide packets of metrics for each major department and explains what they mean, showing you what the key decision-makers are looking at, and why.

Many organizations now live by the mantra work smarter, not harder. With the data that’s made available, you can do just that. Leverage the data properly and you should be able to gain the insights you need to bring in more credit union clients.

Start Prospecting Smarter

Access to Callahan’s data gives you the inside edge when selling to credit unions. Dive into a credit union’s current performance, find key contacts, and more.

February 23, 2018

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