Originally published on CUInsight.com
Hooray! Your credit union finalized another service partnership! It’s been a long road of due diligence, contracts, negotiations, board meetings, and conference calls, but you’re done.
The time has arrived for implementation!
“I get the feeling Joe is going to say the hard part is just starting.” How do you always know what I’m thinking?
While it doesn’t have to be the “hard part”, making a strategy work is always more than set-and-forget.
Let’s start with building a marketing plan. Unless you don’t want anyone to know about it. Which is…odd, but your choice.
For everyone else, it’s time to decide the target audience for your new service. Is it every member? Possibly, but more likely, there’s something that makes some better prospects. Figure that out, and tailor your messaging and outreach to them.
We call it a “buyer persona” and it will help you focus your efforts most efficiently.
What about staff? Do they have any role in the success of this new service? Maybe just a tiny bit. Or a lot. Even staff who don’t regularly meet with members can play a massive part in making or breaking a launch.
So how do you educate them while building buy-in, excitement, and support? Great question.
Staff Need To Love It
There are a lot of systems that keep your credit union operating. From your core to the LOS to cash counters, it’s a lot of tech. But you and I know what really keeps the credit union running: Your dedicated staff.
Which means that new service needs them to love it, too, if you want it to succeed. What is your strategy to build this relationship?
Seems simple enough: Distribute a staff FAQ to ensure they’re aware. Then hold branch manager trainings. It’s a golden recipe for success, right? I mean, who doesn’t love training sessions?
Your Staff Are Members
Let’s back up a bit. When your credit union first approached this program, there was a clear member benefit, right? Of course. And your staff? Many of them are members, too.
What does that mean? Well, treat them as extra-lucky members! How cool they get to use this awesome new program before anyone else!
Soft-launch your new service with them. Not only is this an engaging way to educate them about the service and its benefits, but it also connects them to it. (Plus, it lets you work out any kinks without the risk of customer service crises.)
Now, when your members have questions, they’ll feel comfortable talking about it (and possibly even excitedly recommending).
Remember, staff are members.
Let Them Play
I run training sessions for our own services, and always conclude with this statement:
“We encourage you to use this system on your own; in test mode, you can play all you want. Get comfortable, because what’s comfortable for you becomes easy to recommend to your members. You’re helping, not selling, and isn’t that why you’re at a credit union in the first place?”
Your staff is the front line to your members. As trusted advisors, they can make or break any initiative. Understanding that unique relationship, we bring them into our launch and ongoing promotion efforts.
For example, over the holidays, we run campaigns which raise money for their foundation. It may not directly educate about the service, but it definitely helps associate it positively with your team.
Through the year, we encourage our clients to give staff ownership in the programs. If it fits your culture, staff incentives, giveaways, and other rewards are fun ways to ensure the service stays top of mind.
In Sight. In Mind.
Over the long-term, we aim for in-sight, in mind. This can mean different things at your institution, and also depending on what the new service is.
One option is having a physical marketing piece of functional value. That way, each staff member can refer to it when speaking with members.
Marketing is an essential way to reach your members. But it’s evolving. Inbound marketing strategies let you address their challenges without intrusive pieces. Staff also play an important role.
Their engagement and training is crucial to build trust and ensure consistent growth. Together, you have a solid plan for success.
Disclosure: My company works with credit unions and their staff for promoting services to their membership. When our partners use these strategies, they improve their results, thereby causing me to benefit financially. Looking back, this seems like the most obvious disclosure I’ve ever written.