A conversation with Adam Birenbaum, sales enablement manager, at CUNA Mutual Group

By Corporate Visions

August 27, 2014

adamb-fullAdam Birenbaum, sales enablement manager at CUNA Mutual Group, recently shared some insight with us into his upcoming presentation, Creating Insights: Turning Research, Facts and Stats into Provocative Messaging, for our annual Marketing & Sales Alignment Conference in September.

Q. How is your sales and marketing organization structured at CUNA Mutual Group?

We have a decentralized sales organization with about 200 sales folks in the field. We serve three credit union segments – small, medium and large – and have a disciplined and formalized sales process. Most importantly, we now have sales and marketing under one roof, but accomplishing that has definitely been a journey over the past few years.

Q. What does CUNA Mutual Group do well in terms of aligning your sales and marketing organizations, and what still needs some work?

Culturally we’re such a collaborative organization that our sales, sales ops and marketing leaders have a unified vision of what we need to accomplish. We’re all focused on becoming a customer-centric organization, and we’ve done a lot over the past six/seven years to get there. We use Salesforce.com, partnered with Corporate Visions both on the messaging and positioning side and invested in SAVO to help us house all of our information. We’re not where we want to be yet, but we’re on our way.

Q. As you look at the credit union industry today, what problems are you most concerned about?

The credit union industry is constantly shrinking due to consolidation, etc. There are three major things we need to accomplish in order to support this changing marketplace. First, we need to protect our core business. Credit unions are our lifeblood, and we need to bring value to credit unions. Second, we need to reach credit union members more effectively and in unique ways. Finally, we need to really know our customers. We need to make sure we bring the right insights to them to demonstrate that we understand the challenges they face.

Q. What will attendees learn from your presentation?

I was recently at a BMA conference, and there was so much talk about insights. But the truth is, developing insights is not easy. It has to be part of your overall strategy. My presentation will share the process that we’re using to build our insight development machine, including the criteria that defines an insight and the different roles that marketing, sales, sales ops, sales enablement, competitive intelligence, VOC and product people play in coming together in our insight jam sessions. It takes a tremendous commitment to move a company from data to insights, and I will share our experience, as well as our vision for long-term sustainability.

Q. What’s your advice to other organizations for evolving from data-focused to insight-focused?

To start praying. Seriously, a clear commitment and strategy from the top down. You need commitment from all areas of the company – product, sales, marketing, sales enablement, VOC and training. Management needs to coach to it every day with their staff. They need to model the way. To be successful, everyone needs to check their egos at the door, silos need to be eliminated, and everyone needs to be held accountable.

Q. What are you looking forward to most about our conference?

There are so many good people who attend Corporate Visions’ conference, and everyone is willing to share their ideas and thoughts. It’s a first-class conference and a great networking