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Oregon Community CU goes WILD on sales
EUGENE, Ore. (11/29/11)--Oregon Community CU, Eugene, Ore., motivated its work force in the third quarter with sales contest that gave everyone employees at all levels of the organization a clear target for success.

The WILD contest was an acronym for goals that every team member could track: worth, income, loans and deposits. The letters represented excellence in company pride, referrals for loans and loan protection products, internal service and dollars--either deposits brought in or expense reduction.

The competition was based on increasing sales of profitable ancillary products. Operations staff had achieved measurable results through sales incentives, but the WILD contest gave the back office an opportunity to get involved.

"We wanted to create an entire organization of sales people," said Breanna Cline, branch manager and WILD contest leader. "We wanted everyone to know that they had a role and the ability to help our team be successful as we pursued our sales goals."

Employees were split into groups that combined the customer-service-driven operations area with the internal-service-driven back office. Teams were assigned an animal-themed name.

The creative team behind the scenes set aggressive but attainable goals for the teams. Management kept their teams focused by monitoring, tracking, and sharing results regularly. Oregon Community CU partnered with its ancillary product vendors, Route 66 and State National, to fund prizes weekly.

Operations staff were rewarded for certain benchmarks. WILD cards were awarded if employees sold a particular product, so it was important to build a connection with the back office staff to earn more referrals.

Employees also built relationships with teammates from other branches--a change that differed from previous contests that measured success by branch. Employees who were usually divided by 10 branch locations in the cities of Eugene, Springfield, and Salem became allies.

Support staff could win "WILD" cards if they recognized a fellow co-worker for outstanding internal service. Both team members would receive a card. If back-office staff shared something that made Oregon Community CU great they would receive a card. This showed Oregon Community CU's employees that "sales" didn't have to be a dirty word, but could simply mean taking pride in the organization.

The chances for success were improved by training back-office employees on the benefits of the products and services, which empowered the staff to become more comfortable selling the credit union's value to others.

Senior management also joined the cause. The executive team was divided among different groups, which spurred involvement from the top down. Tellers regularly received encouragement from the Oregon Community executive team.

Managers from different departments also were divided up throughout the teams. They traced their department's progress while cheering on their "animal." While this was commonplace for branch management, it was new to most back-office managers. It became another opportunity for back-office employees to step out of their comfort zone for their team's best interests.

The WILD contest achieved results. Ancillary product sales increased 25% during the quarter. Non-real estate loans reached $27 million, a 23% increase over previous month, and the highest level year to date.

WILD organizers were so pleased with the results that they extended the contest to mid-September.


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