One of the greatest benefits of being part of a group or network is the ability to gain and share knowledge amongst your peers. It is important to understand the businesses of your peers and their relevance to you, both through common customers as well as your most active or worrisome accounts. Get to know the backgrounds and roles of the members, their extended support teams and how they do business.
Use smart technology tools or request your group administrator to use a process that identifies the common problem accounts and review them consistently. This can be done by analyzing your group’s individual payment experiences, as well as integrating any alerts on those accounts from other sources (e.g., public filings). Peer-to-peer alerts on a live system are a growing trend in our industry, so the time to adapt and use it to your advantage is now.
Create comparative benchmarks between you and your credit group across major credit metrics like scores, days slow and percent past due. Then develop an internal plan to match or improve your own performance versus these benchmarks. You should do this at the portfolio level and at the individual customer account level. The great truth is that technology now allows you to do this in real time so you no longer have to waste time gathering data manually!
Assign resource(s) from your organization to all parts of the process, including preparing for meetings, attending meetings and following through from meetings. Create an opportunity for junior members of your team to learn and grow from this experience. The more members you can get involved and the better prepared you are, the more you and your company will gain from the meeting. You can once again try using new resources, such as a technology-enabled system that enables you to create or form these trade connections more seamlessly and to then pull in the experiences of your peers. Once again this requires assigning a resource on your team who is responsible for leveraging the system and delivering direct value from it.
Identify other potential members that are relevant to your credit group or network of professionals and define a process for bringing them in as new members. Focus on complimentary programs, which would include bringing their problem accounts for discussion or highlighting the value of your group’s collective trade data experience in order to show the value provided in the group setting. Be flexible by providing different ways for them to participate. Each new member brings unique experiences and insight, so as the group grows and becomes more diverse, the value of the group rises significantly. Take the example of one of our clients who made a new connection with a peer and that very connection helped with a credit decision on a very important but complex account. This individual broke boundaries to make a better decision for his company.
Leverage a tool or platform that allows you to communicate between meetings on important events, alerts and issues related to your portfolio of customers. Communication allows for problems to be solved outside of meetings, and lets you highlight accounts or issues that you want to make sure are thoroughly covered at your next meeting.
Poll the group consistently on best practices topics for discussion. Also, bringing in external speakers, both customers and subject matter experts, can greatly help expand that knowledge and provide further insight. Reach outside your credit group to learn from other industry credit groups or partner with organizations that provide access to professionals outside your industry. Use webinar formats to allow for a wider sharing of such experiences – a major speaker benefits from addressing the needs of multiple groups or participants on a common topic at the same time even if they are not physically present.
Appoint officers that have a significant passion for the success of the group and consistently rotate those officers so other members of the group are given a chance to lead. Ensure that the officers of the group work with the members to create a set of targets for the group over a planning year. Empower your facilitators to play more of a leadership role in this regard – even if this means educating them on your business and needs or replacing them with better ones!
Train your group on anti-trust and fair trade practice rules and codes of conduct to ensure that no firm or individual is putting the entire group at risk. Use a system that can restrict, monitor and track risky comments. Several leading law firms in our industry provide this capability. Demand it!
Review group’s activities with the members by seeking continuous feedback on improvement opportunities, including surveys. To get the most value out of a group, it has to be constantly evolving and growing to meet the needs of its expanding member population. Never settle for the status quo when there is always room for improvement.
Using patent-pending technology, Credit2B is a platform that empowers organizations and their credit teams to seamlessly exchange real-time trade credit data and share experiences on commons customers. Built as a scalable, cloud-based application, Credit2B delivers remarkably high quality and timely credit information, including fully-integrated and detailed public filings and business credit bureau data. Credit2B is simple to join, create peer and data connections and access huge amounts of information on common customers through a highly interactive and user-friendly experience. Several major independent credit groups across diverse industries leverage Credit2B’s technology and process to gain better business insights.
Bob Carbonell, Chief Credit Officer, Credit2B
As the Chief Credit Officer, Bob is responsible for providing credit opinions and critical financial risk information in real-time to the Credit2B community. Prior to his current role at Credit2B, Bob held positions with Dun & Bradstreet, including: Director of Credit-Credit Clearing House, Director-Credit Interchange and Senior Industry Consultant-National Credit Office. Over a 30 year period, Bob has spent time leading and directing credit groups at D&B and then at Credit2B, providing unparalleled insights to his clients and his high level of engagement with the trade credit community helps drive Credit2B’s innovation.