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Building a world-class sales culture at your CU

By Summer Naomi Interior

Culture. It’s a word we throw around a lot, but creating precisely the kind that cultivates ALL the good stuff at your CU? That’s not an easy ask.

Luckily, we got to sit down with an expert on the subject. Ali Migaki, Chief Retail Officer at iQ Credit Unionhelped to build a world-class sales culture there. And she shares top tips—this week on CRMNEXT’s Banking on Experience.

What’s covered?

Sales Culture at your CU: a taboo topic? 

While sales culture may seem a tricky subject, Ali doesn’t feel it’s necessarily avoided. The root of the problem, in her opinion? Not having the voice of the staff as the foundation for building the right type of culture.

She’s big on incorporating what she calls “rewarding relationships” into the sales culture at iQ. “We’re rewarding our staff by having conversations,” she says, “and by knowing and meeting the member where they’re at. We utilize our staff first, and then what is the business need, and then build the sales culture from there.”

Biggest mistakes made in developing culture. 

First things first: Before going crazy collecting tools and resources, Ali suggests you first build what you want your sales culture to be. As she puts it, “The tools and resources will make things more efficient, will make you look more intelligent, will create a platform for data—but it’s really about the staff.”

Second, don’t underestimate the value of finding the right sales culture partner – one that’s going to “embrace the same values that you embrace.” For iQ CU, that’s Integrity Solutions. They’ve helped in a number of ways- not the least of which is in proactively finding solutions to potential future problems.

iQ CU’s Reward System (and why it rocks).

Ali shares so much fantastic info here about the rewards system they’ve established, and you’ll definitely want to listen in. But suffice it to say, the words “gamification,” “real-time,” and “recognition” come up a LOT here.

Ultimately, what it all comes down to is “rewarding the behaviors that you’re looking for,” says Ali. “So, while we are an integrity-based, needs-based credit union, we’re driving the behavior that we’re looking for from the staff. And that’s really about creating a relationship with the member and placing a product or service that’s going to make their lives much easier.”

Some of Ali’s success stories. 

Our expert is particularly proud of the in-house CRM program at iQ. It’s been decades in the making, but—whether it’s building tech or culture—she’s quick to emphasize that it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

Ali credits much of her culture’s success to a huge emphasis on recognition. It’s all about “making sure that the staff feel valued and that we have buy-in, because that creates the sales culture that we embrace every day.”

First Steps: where to start in creating the culture you want

Ali’s top recommendation for getting started? Create a “task force” from across your team who can help you gather the voice of the employee.

“As an executive team, you have to have executive buy-in. And, if your culture is really about the people and people helping people, you’ll go and create mini task forces and committees to really dive in and see—what do you want to be known for? What is your brand?… Building a really strong foundation and creating the voice of the employee and creating that buy-in is huge.”

Start there, and you’ll be well on your way to creating your credit union’s ideal sales culture.

Want to contact our expert?

You can reach Ali via email at, or on her cell at (360) 901-3323.

Find this interview, and many more by subscribing to Banking on Experience Podcast on iTunes. You can also find us on SpotifyGoogle Podcasts, or visit our page on Casted.

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