Best CRM

— November 01, 2007

>WINNER
ING Investment Management
A FINANCIAL SERVICES COMPANY BETS ITS MONEY ON MOBILIZING SALES REPS.
As one of the Top 20 asset managers worldwide, ING Investment Management needed a mobile CRM solution in sync with its stellar reputation. Real-time access to customer and market data was crucial, but the company's field sales force was bogged down by clunky laptops and slow synchronization times. And when other reps tried to access the same client data, they often experienced a lag in reporting time.

To help sales reps save time and close deals sooner, ING introduced Apresta and Apresta Studio, a Windows-like design environment, from CDC Software (formerly Saratoga Systems). Apresta provides a single interface with access to all enterprise databases. The company also lightened the field reps' load by migrating from laptops to BlackBerrys.

The firm had been using CDC Software's CRM technology for 14 years, so extending it to encompass the CRM system, Sybase database, and various homegrown data systems was simple. In fact, it took ING's I.T. team less than half a day to configure reports for delivery to BlackBerry users.

Today, 52 reps in three business groups-the institutional sales group, the managed accounts group and the business development team-are using the wireless solution on BlackBerrys. "Sales reps are able to access data from the central database quickly without carrying heavy equipment around," says Pete Hantzos, applications analyst. "The BlackBerrys are lightweight, the system is easy to use, and [reps] have all the information they need at their fingertips. If they're at the airport waiting for a flight, they can log in, bring up a company and input their notes while it's still fresh in their minds. It's immediately available for all other users to look at."

Market data is downloaded and disseminated to the ING field sales force every morning at 6 a.m. Users also have access to current client information, sales records for the past quarter or past year and other relevant data. Each group has access to its own customized reports, which can be updated with additional information at any time.

The biggest metric for success has been time savings. By migrating to the BlackBerry, information is available immediately, both to field personnel and senior management. In the financial services sector, the ability to place an order in real time can translate into substantial additional revenue. Laptop use has also been reduced, resulting in a substantial savings in hardware costs. In addition, the I.T. department has reduced its workload by 70 percent, while maintenance and development costs to centrally manage the BlackBerry infrastructure have been reduced by 50 percent.

ING has been expanding its Apresta deployment starting with a new Scottsdale initiative to support the managed accounts group. The firm is also looking to expand its deployment in Mexico, Hong Kong, Europe and Australia later this year.

-KASSANDRA KANIA

>WINNER
Primerica Financial Services
AUTOMATED LIFE INSURANCE APPLICATIONS REDUCE PAPERWORK AND ERRORS.
With a highly mobile sales force of more than 100,000 members, Primerica Financial Services faced mountains of paperwork: The insurance and asset management company--which serves about 6 million customers--processes about 30,000 life insurance applications a month.

"Our sales agents do their business across the kitchen table with clients," explains Tom Swift, EVP of field technology. "There's a lot of paperwork involved," which brings with it all the requisite scanning, faxing and storage issues. Manual data entry left room for errors and incomplete forms, further delaying the application process.

Primerica knew it was time to automate but had certain key criteria to meet. The solution needed to be easily adoptable by agents of all ages, incomes, demographics and relative levels of comfort with technology. It also needed to be relatively inexpensive for field reps to implement.

The solution was TurboApps, a custom- built Palm OS application. Primerica already had about 13,000 PDA users, 95 percent of whom used a Palm OS device versus Windows Mobile. By choosing to continue in the Palm environment, the learning curve for Primerica's existing user base was nearly flat. It's also fairly low-cost; new field representatives can get up and running in TurboApps for as little as $175.

Today, 39,000 agents use TurboApps on PDAs and smartphones to electronically complete applications and submit them to the home office. "All the business rules are built into the application, so you can't submit an incomplete application," says Swift. Manual processes, such as mailing, scanning and data entry, also have been eliminated. In addition, TurboApps requires just one signature, while paper applications required many.

To date, more than 250,000 electronic life insurance applications have been processed, representing more than 55 percent of the company's life insurance applications received.

The deployment was so successful that in May 2007 Primerica extended the project to its loan business, which generates about 20,000 loan applications a month. The old paper-based process was arduous for both the customers and the field reps. Customers had to provide up to 10 individual signatures as they parsed through the application and corresponding disclosure acknowledgement process. Reps had to make and store physical copies of all applications, and scan and fax them to a processing center, as well as to their direct Upline to satisfy regulatory record-keeping requirements.

In addition, if field reps fail to collect certain regulatory information, the loan is deemed non-commissionable. With TurboApps $.M.A.R.T. Loan, business edit features ensure complete applications, thereby preventing sales reps from losing sales commissions for simply not checking a box.

SOLUTION: TurboApps $.M.A.R.T. Loan, Palm PDAs and smartphones

The application was designed not only to automate tasks and eliminate errors whenever possible, but also to drastically reduce the volume of paper generated with each loan application. The efficiencies inherent in the new system frees field representatives to focus more of their time on positive business-building activities that ultimately benefit the bottom line. These include:

  • Strengthening customer relationships.
  • Teaching people how money works so they can make informed decisions about how to manage their finances.
  • Recruiting, training and motivating new and existing representatives in their base shop.

The company is in the process of migrating from a Palm to a Windows Mobile operating system and launching TuboApps $.M.A.R.T. Loan nationwide. "It's revolutionized the way our agents do business," says Swift. "Simplification of the workflow allows our representatives to focus on their clients and building their business, versus pushing paper through the process." //

>HONORABLE MENTION
DirectTV
Mobile CRM solution helps sales reps manage dealer networks.
Satellite service provider DIRECTV delivers some of the world's most advanced technologies to homes and businesses.The company's area sales managers (ASM) support more than 5,000 dealer networks, helping them to sell this technology to end users.To improve sales and service information, DIRECTV implemented an internal Siebel CRM On Demand system several years ago, but sales reps still relied on paper reports when meeting with dealers. Often, information was outdated or inaccurate, leading to wasted time and money.

The need to disseminate pertinent sales information to ASMs led DIRECTV to mobilize its Siebel CRM system with Antenna Software. ASMs can now access timely data on BlackBerry 8700 devices operating on the AT&T network.

"The sales managers were excited to use the product," says Erik Walters, manager of technical operations. "They almost fell out of their chairs when they realized they could get truly relevant, current information at their fingertips."

The time savings has been exponential. "Our sales reps don't have to spend several hours a day pulling together reports," says Walters. "They now have all the information set up and ready to roll." The number of dealer calls they make has also increased, he says. ASMs are better equipped to solve problems in real time as well as communicate the company's value proposition to dealers.

"Sales reps are coming up with ideas on the fly now," says Walters. "They're reinvigorated because they realize their job doesn't have to be so hard. This isn't an old, crusty hard-coded system that never gets updated. This is a viable, malleable solution that helps them across the board."

SOLUTION: BlackBerry 8700; Antenna Software; Siebel CRM On Demand

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