Captain’s log, stardate 20170815
CU Outreach: Down the rabbit hole!
Sent by Jonathan Stark on August 15th, 2017
Well, I’m back from a week long family reunion in a remote location in Maine.
The place we stayed was super remote - literally off the electrical grid. There wasn’t a cell phone signal (or a gas station or a paved road) within a ten mile radius of the place.
There was a weak satellite wifi available sporadically, BUT it was so slow and unreliable that it wasn’t worth bothering with for anything other than an occasional text message.
I haven’t been that disconnected since the 90s.
It was amazing.
I’m also recharged and happy to be back!
When we last spoke, I was sharing my credit union outreach plans. So far:
- I had identified two target cities (i.e. Atlanta and Chicago) that are an easy direct flight from my local airport. Bonus points: I have tons of friends, family, and colleagues in both cities.
- I created a list of 87 credit unions within the city limits of my two target cities. I added all of them to a spreadsheet and fill in columns for amount of assets under management, number of members, etc.
Today I began the next step, which is to do a bit of research on each CU to:
- Find current contact info for senior leadership (preferably CMO, but other CxOs or board members would work, too)
- Do a quick review of their website for “mobile friendliness”
- Find out if they have a mobile app in the app stores for iOS and Android, and if so, what the ratings and reviews say, and who built the app
- Recent news, press releases, etc from senior leadership about strategic direction for the CU
This is a fair amount of work for each CU and as is so often the case, I was pretty slammed with catch up work on my first day back after a week of vacation. But still, I did find about 45 minutes to go deep on one credit union in Atlanta. In that short time, l learned so much about the organization and the CEO that I had to stop because it started to feel creepy.
Here’s what I know about this one CU:
- The CEO is new. She’s only been there since June. Previously she was a VP at one of the biggest CU’s in the country (billions in assets). She had been there for 19 years before making the jump to CEO of a much smaller CU. There’s probably a very interesting story behind that decision. She’s a 2nd level connection of mine on LinkedIn, so I can probably get an introduction or just send her InMail directly.
- Their website is severely out of date. It is aggressively desktop-only. Even on a desktop/laptop it is difficult to navigate, poorly organized, and quite dated design-wise. The only way I could find to join the CU required that I download, print, complete, and snail-mail an application to them. That said, the content on the site is relatively fresh. This seems to indicate that they care about keeping the site content updated but for some reason have not done the same with the structure, functionality, or design. There’s certainly an interesting conversation we could have about that. Perhaps the new CEO is considering an overhaul to make the site more mobile friendly?
- They do have an iOS app. It hasn’t been updated in over a year. It has exactly one review, which pans the app (1-star and says things like “THE WORST!” and “only worked for me once!” It was built by an outside iOS dev shop who has built dozens of other credit unions apps. The dev shop was acquired last month by a big up-and-coming tech player in the financial services industry. There is a very interesting conversation to have based on all of this. Furthermore, I now have a list of every CU app that was built by this dev shop. I betcha most or all of these legacy apps are going to be abandoned by the new ownership. Potential opportunity to segment my research in a new way - i.e. look for CU’s in my target cities who hired this dev shop to build their app and base my outreach on that situation.
I could keep going but I’ll stop there. Hopefully, this illustrates how quickly you can educate yourself about a prospect prior to having any direct contact with them at all.
Having this info makes me highly confident that I can help this organization. I almost feel like I owe it to them to reach out to the CEO. If I do get a meeting, I’ll have a more smart questions than I’ll have time to ask. I’m willing to bet that this will differentiate me from anybody else they’re talking to.
And once I have differentiated myself from all of my competitors, I will have leverage in the pricing conversation. In a sense, I become a monopoly.
P.S. Have I mentioned lately that Hourly Billing Is Nuts?