2014-2015_Credit_Union_Environmental_Scan_(E-Scan)_ReportIn a recent post, we mentioned that the Credit Union National Association’s 2014-2015 Environment Scan offered several marketing insights. One of the bonuses to this year’s publication is that it also offers a mini-section on improving your business development efforts.

As the section noted, business development extends your credit union’s reach. But not automatically. Just having a business development person, staff or department does not guarantee success. Sean McDonald, president of Your Full Potential and author of the business development section, offers four best practices for credit unions to implement.

According to McDonald and the E-Scan, successful credit union business development programs share these characteristics:

(1)    Structure

Business development doesn’t start with sales; it starts with structure. The biggest key with how you structure your business development area is authority and responsibility. Make sure you give your business development people plenty of both.

(2)    At the table

“Business development should be represented at executive meetings and strategic planning sessions,” McDonald notes. One of the plusses with a “seat at the table” is the feedback business development provides executives. Having heavy interaction with non-members and the community, business development often serves as the eyes and ears for key products and issues important to consumers.

(3)    Compensation

If you want the best business development for your credit union then you’re going to have to pay for the best business development professionals. But with that compensation comes several key traits of your BD people: forward-thinking, self-motivated, innovative, strategic dedicated and relationship-building.

(4)    Respect and communication

Business development is not a silo position. It often takes teamwork from multiple layers within the organization, all the way from the CEO to the tellers. With this broad role, communication among peers is critical. It’s especially important to make sure there are strong lines of communication between business development and the branches. Many times, business development brings in the business while the branch serves the business.

These are a few keys regarding business development best practices. For a complete review of additional business development insights, make sure you purchase your copy of the E-Scan. Of course, you won’t just receive the business development content. The E-Scan also offers tons of information regarding the economy, regulations, technology, H.R., operating ratios and other key areas. When it comes to strategic planning, there is no better resource or tool your credit union can use than CUNA’s Environmental Scan.