Before computers started appearing in the offices, sellers/insurance agents would be armed with a digital rolodex, a desk phone and their car! With mainframes getting mainstream and computers rapidly scaling ‘down’ to a desktop, some form of data capture began to happen – Rolodex, documents, spreadsheets, and if lucky a sales person or agent got to use ACT – considered one of the very first CRMs used. The Internet allowed sellers and agents to communicate via email and the phone and CRM systems started evolving in the 1990s allowing agents to gather information of customers before selling to them and acting as a repository of all information on the customer.
As CRM solutions experienced explosive growth in the 2000s and became a ubiquitous sales tool, In the decade that followed, organizations realized that sales effectiveness was sluggish , and a tool packed with a multitude of features was hardly being utilized by the agent or seller. As little as 20%. And studies confirmed that sellers were hardly spending even half of their time selling. CRMs had become a complex tool that was difficult to use and clunky and definitely not an agent’s friend.
Time to Change
Cut to the pandemic, online adoption skyrocketed. Customers, mostly millennials and digital natives, who already were Gen Z, embraced hyper automated digital experiences on B2C applications. Enterprises, financial and any other B2B had to take note, and accelerate the ‘already underway’ digital transformation to create rich experiences for their customers.
A CRM was not going to cut it.
According to Gartner, By 2026, 85% of B2B sales interactions between suppliers and buyers will occur in digital channels, up from 55% in 2021. And by 2028, 85% of all companies with B2B go-to-market will employ some AI to augment at least one of their primary sales processes, up from nearly 40% in 2021.
The writing on the wall is clear – it is time for the Intelligent CRM.
Financial enterprises should, urgently, invest in their sales technology stack to ‘up the curve’ of their CRM into a mobile-first, intuitive tool that can automate, plan and predict sales outcomes for the seller/agent.
A New Seller/Agent Experience Results In A Whole New Customer Experience
What do our agents and salespersons expect today?
- They need simple daily workflows and an intuitive technology that can take away the burden of repetitive and time consuming tasks
- They need smarter technology with a simple and intuitive interfaces that is mobile-first and deskless
- They need personalized suggestions, nudges and recommendations that can help them plan their day, reach out to the right prospects at the right time and engage with the optimally
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning enabled CRMs can bring this rich experience into the workday of sellers/agents helping them create rich engagement experiences with the customer and reach their revenue goals faster. Intelligent CRMs can help in,
- Improved pipeline development with deeper lead allocation, and product recommendations to the right buyers at the right time
- Increased forecasting accuracy through decision support to stakeholders to take the next best actions, for example, reallocate resources, pivot campaigns etc. to meet business goals
- Positively fostering collaboration within selling teams, provide insights into next best actions and coach scattered sales teams stay aligned to best practices and reach goals faster
Bringing in an extra ‘Shine’ at SunLife India
Sun Life India Service Center planned to expand its wholesaler team 10x in 12 months to capture a massive gain of wallet share from its third-party seller network. To achieve this, not only did they need to expand their team, they needed to:
- Increase agent-advisor engagement to a regular frequency and enhance partner engagement to grow awareness on their suite of products
- Set seamless digital workflows between partners and its sellers to pass on leads and applications and get back reports on engagements, challenges and outcomes
- Create workflows and transparencies to understand what their top wholesalers are doing and cascade these best practices to the rest of the team.
Partnering with Vymo, the sales engagement platform for financial enterprises, they implemented an intelligent, mobile CRM solution to help them achieve these objectives. With this Sun Life sellers were able to,
- Integrate workflows, foster collaboration between sales personnel to collaborate with colleagues and customers.
- Accelerate opportunities for sellers to engage at the right time and use more situationally aware, relevant messaging.
- Choreograph sales execution better with activity playbooks
- View team performance with real-time reports leading to contextual interventions
With an intelligent, mobile CRM, Sun Life India noted:
- 95% increase in daily active users (DAUs)
- 2.5x increase in engagement activities from Sun Life partners
- 65% reduction in “time to win” a new customer
- 14% increase in deals per Sun Life seller
Leveraging AI and ML based sales engagement technology has been yielding significant improvements as compared to existing CRM systems. The ability to automate workflows creates a huge opportunity for sellers and agents to engage at the right time and craft smart, relevant messaging. The automation logic used can help orchestrate data between systems, doing away with the need for sellers and agents to manually search through complex data assets.
A game-changer for future selling.
You can read the full report here – Emerging Tech: Tech Innovators for Intelligent CRM Applications