"Chicken Scratches" Responsible for Lost Sales?

Tom Hanks scribbled on a cave wall in Castaway and tic-tac-toe players use them too. But why do credit unions still use chicken scratches to track sales?


Actor Tom Hanks scribbled them on a cave wall in the movie Castaway to count up the days he’d been stuck on that tiny, South Pacific island. Tic-tac-toe players use them to record how many games have been won or lost. And, amazingly, many credit unions today still use them to track their sales efforts.

What are we talking about? Chicken scratches.

Chicken scratches? Yes, chicken scratches are those funny little marks you make while counting something up — you know: slash, slash, slash, slash, and cross. Surprisingly, especially in this day of rampant technology innovation, many credit unions still apply this rusty, old “chicken scratches” approach to tracking their sales.

Still Counting the Old Fashioned and Often Unreliable Way

Many organizations today are still searching for a good way to keep track of sales referrals and bookings — and unable to find any. As a result, staffers are forced to scour through reports and make chicken scratches to manually count what they have produced. Manually counting and reporting performance against goals takes valuable time away from working with your credit union members. It can also lead to a “looseness” in your tracking capabilities. For instance, how do you really know that everybody counts the same way?

The number of credit unions that employ fairly rudimentary tracking of referrals and sales is not known, but some sizeable organizations still struggle with manual tracking methods. And if they still are, then much of the industry is still creating makeshift tracking systems that capture referrals and use their host-generated reports for sales closings/bookings.

Utilizing manual tracking methods make keeping tabs on your credit union’s sales efforts harder than it should be. Certainly, the important thing is to have a tracking system — manual or otherwise. But much of the data you need to have in a sales performance monitoring system is captured in one system or another. You just need a way to unlock the data and easily use it.

Your Sales Tracking Solution

One company has created an automated sales tracking and reporting module that makes it easy for staff and management to monitor performance against goals and to “close the loop” between referrals and bookings.

For example, you can “close the loop” from referral to booking: Who’s doing a better job, the person who makes 200 referrals a month — of which five turn into new business — or the person who makes 50 referrals a month and 10 of them turn into business? How about having the ability throughout the month for an individual staff member or a branch manager to see how they’re progressing on this month's goals? All you have to do now is just pull a cohesive report and take a look.

The end results from using technology instead of sticking with chicken scratches or some other archaic, makeshift method include:

  • Easier access to the information that should be available.
  • Decreased time to assemble and distribute the information.
  • Up-to-date performance information.
  • Easier distribution of goals throughout the organization.

CRM developer, fiVISION, has a sales tracking and reporting module that allows users to identify which products/services they want to track and set goals for these items at the institution, branch, and individual level. It works by letting credit union staffers use the system to record when referrals have occurred and collects information from other systems about when those referrals turn into business. This innovative process provides the credit union with a simple, complete, and accurate view of its organization's sales performance.

So break free from your cave wall or tic-tac-toe game of chicken scratches and implement an automated sales tracking and reporting module that makes it easy to monitor performance against goals and to close the loop between referrals and bookings. The constant confusion, lost time, and wasted energy using old tracking methods will cease and your credit union can start spending more time with members building relationships to provide them with the financial services they need to easily manage their accounts.

fiVISION will be releasing its automated Sales Tracking & Reporting module in late May 2006. Please contact us for more information or visit www.fiVISION.com.



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May 8, 2006



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