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Dissecting Sales Analytics in Insurance


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For the insurance industry, the trove of data collected in their customer relationship management (CRM) systems can yield an array of key analytics insights, when the right key performance indicators (KPIs) are captured.

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Dissecting Sales Analytics in Insurance

  1. 1. • Cognizant 20-20 InsightsDissecting Sales Analytics in InsuranceSalesforce ineffectiveness is often blamed on the CRM system; however,the problem typically resides in the way data is captured and interpreted.Measuring the means of sales is as important as measuring the ends,which often requires a change in organizational culture. Executive Summary This white paper reveals how CRM data capture in the personal and casualty (P&C) insurance “If you cannot measure it, you cannot improve it.” industry is a key lever for transforming the sales — Lord William Thomson Kelvin force, leveraging the successful experience of a This axiom can be applied to all projects, IT and leading global insurance provider. It also highlights beyond. Take the case of CRM, where oftentimes KPIs that can be created to better understand system implementations are considered unsuc- the performance of account executives to help cessful if senior leaders can’t see the impact of managers and executives fine-tune their sales their investment on revenue or in an improvement strategies. in sales force effectiveness. Although quality leads are being generated and well-thought-out Account Executive/Agency Interaction campaigns are in force as CRM systems replace In the P&C insurance industry, the account execu- spreadsheets, the fact that the sales force now tive’s main objective is to recruit agencies and to has more time and ammunition to create healthy provide guidance to enable them to quote policies client relationships does not appear to bring the to prospects and convert these quotes into new desired dividends. business. They perform various activities to train agency partners, guide them, motivate them, However, a sales force’s ineffectiveness or inef- provide sales aids, etc. to help them achieve ficiency cannot be blamed on the CRM system. their objectives. They may go on joint sales calls, Managers need more intelligence to assess the conduct sales planning for the year ahead, offer activities of their sales forces to set performance pricing schedules, provide marketing collateral, standards that must be met or exceeded to keep furnish customer analytics and business intelli- the business meeting the expectations of all gence, offer discount details, provide new product stakeholders. For instance, sales analytics can training, progress reviews and motivation through process sales activity data and deliver insights for rewards and recognition, as well as maintain a the sales organization. It provides a level playing steady and effective relationship. Most sales calls field for the sales force, since all metrics — right are conducted with the idea of improving new from simple KPIs such as number of client visits business prospects and the number of policies per week to complex patterns that highlight in force. All data required to measure the effec- what really makes the visit successful — provide tiveness of an account executive’s time depend accurate information to management. cognizant 20-20 insights | march 2013
  2. 2. on the details associated with a typical sales call. one agency will prevent the sales executive from The sales call serves as the single source of infor- achieving his overall objective. mation for all that an account executive accom- plishes during routine interactions with his/her Recording the Interaction agencies. When an account executive meets with his agencies, there are numerous parameters or Assessing Account Executive attributes associated with the sales call. The Time Spend sales organization’s goals will determine which To record the details of a sales call, sales activity attributes are most important, whereas others may should be logged into the CRM system, including be insignificant. Whenever a sales call is recorded, attributes such as agencies, employees, products, the account executive should enter the important etc. that form the informational underpinning values. For example, an executive who wants to to qualify sales call effectiveness. Logging the coach the agency on cross-selling will capture attributes of agencies, such as their type or status, data about how much time he spends talking can provide deeper insights into how the account about each product. Another executive who visits executive spends his/her time. For example, if an agency to review sales progress may not need the focus of the executive is to spend time on a to capture that information. Common attributes particular segment of agencies, agency attributes include: duration of visit, agency/agencies visited can be used. Without a report specifying how or called, person responsible for the call, medium many agencies of a given of call or visit, time and day of call or visit, the The large global segment are targeted, activity type, activity objective, activity category, each account executive etc. The amount of information that can be packedinsurance provider we has to manually track his into this sales call record is vast, and almost all worked with created sales activities. This eats CRM systems available can capture these inputs. a “call-in” feature for into time that the account Manually entering these values at the end of the executive could better sales executives who spend working with his work day might be overwhelming for an account do not need access agencies. This is not the executive, especially if he/she makes many phone calls or visits in a day. The sales call entry can be to a system. This only area of focus. For automated in a number of ways, depending on the the account executive, enables them to have priorities often change. infrastructure available: an individual located For example, one month • Partially prefilled templates can be used to fill in a low-cost location or quarter the emphasis in missing details about a routine call or visit. could be on promoting a enter in their activity particular product rather • Integration with a contact center solution auto- matically generates activity records when a call information for them. than targeting a particular is placed. segment of agencies. If the account executive needs to again track this • Mobile apps allow executives to key in sales manually, it will reduce his productivity and can call details through a smartphone or tablet, even lead to a loss of revenue for the whole offering increased flexibility and reducing company. dependency on terrestrial Internet connectiv- ity. For example, an account executive can key While the CRM system can record all this informa- in an activity after finishing an agency visit. tion, it cannot be held responsible if the account executive spends too much time on one agency • Scheduling a meeting with an agency can auto- matically create a sales activity record, which visit or does not plan his visits properly. All the will require integration with an e-mail client account executive’s best intentions notwithstand- (such as Outlook) beforehand. ing, there is only one way to find out whether he is spending his time effectively. Interpretation • A call planning tool can automatically schedule of sales activities is paramount in determining activities as well as meetings with agencies. how the account executive is performing. Once The large global insurance provider we worked the account executive knows that everyone is with created a “call-in” feature for sales execu- expected to visit eight agencies in a day, there tives who do not need access to a system. This is no way he is going to waste time at any one enables them to have an individual located in a agency. If there are any delays, management low-cost location enter in their activity informa- will surely hear about it as time spent at any tion for them. cognizant 20-20 insights 2
  3. 3. CRM Data Capture Awards & Promote the Rewards Agencies Product Ac t Products Ac t i v i t i es Progress Review i v i ty Q u a l i fi e rs Quotes Agent Training Sales Joint Sales Sales Account executive enters Calls all activity details in CRM Employee system….. …..along with relevant information that qualifies Sales the activity. Geography Planning Reports & Dashboards Date and TimeFigure 1In the ways described above, only certain variables Making Sense of CRM Dataneed to be entered manually while others are Key questions on the minds of senior leaders are:prefilled. This will significantly cut down the time Which account executives are not meeting theirneeded for entering the data. daily activities goal, and what issues are plaguingA typical sales call might have the following infor- them?mational parameters (see Figure 1), some of which An overall assessment can be made using thecan be recorded in out-of-the-box fields provided simple KPI “number of activities per day.” Forin many CRM systems: this value, phone executives will likely show• Planned start date and time. higher numbers than field executives will. This KPI will provide productivity insights for each• Planned end date and time. account executive. If the “activities per day” is six• Actual start date and time. weekly visits to the office of agencies for a field• Actual end date and time. executive and if an executive averages only four a week, that discrepancy could automatically raise• Planned duration. a flag. If nothing else, this data will be helpful in• Actual duration. triggering an analysis into what is going on with• Created by. the executive. There could be various reasons – the average duration per visit to the agency might• Created date. be more than the usual 60 minutes. If so, the• Owner. executive might require training to plan his agency• Agency contacted. visits and to achieve the maximum result in the specific time period. Or, the executive might need• Objective. to optimize the time spent travelling to different• Sub-objective. offices in his territory. This is a classic travelling• Channel. salesperson problem. Many solutions or apps can provide the executive with the shortest route to• Category. cover all agencies. A third problem could be thatFilling in the above fields can answer many planning is taking up an inordinate amount of thequestions if organizations create a basic data executive’s time, such as generating printouts,warehousing model for analysis and reporting. making handwritten talking point notes, collecting cognizant 20-20 insights 3
  4. 4. information from various IT systems or obtaining In certain organizations, there may not be much sales data from the finance system, past activity differentiation between field and phone or “inside” info from the CRM system, rewards info from the sales executives. This can give rise to many other rewards master, campaign responses from the performance indicators that compare the contact legacy campaign system, etc. If many executives channel over a period of time, and determine are suffering from time management issues, whether an executive is able to balance his phone then it is more likely a department- or company- calls and office visits. There are also situations wide problem that could be when an executive is tasked with conducting addressed by automating group trainings or Webinars involving multiple The “number of certain business processes agencies that could be tracked and measured inactivities per day” KPI through system enhance- a different way (see Figure 2). played a significant ments or through another solution. Next Steps: Multidimensional KPIs role for the insurance Now the next stage is to extend and link activity provider we worked The “number of activities per day” KPI played a signifi- data with various other modules such as products with to increase cant role for the insurance or agencies. Doing so offers many measurements that can provide invaluable insight into how adoption of its CRM provider we worked with executives are spending their time relative to system by account to increase adoption of its CRM system by account corporate strategy or their individual targets. The executives. executives. Since there was following questions should be asked, based on the type of agencies or the segment of agencies no measurement methodol- contacted. ogy, sales executives were lackadaisical when it came to entering data in the system. Once they • Which established agencies were contacted realized management expected a certain number more than once in a span of 20 days — taking of activities from them, and they saw how they into account the “actual end date” as the date could help inform higher-ups on their productivity, for the activity? This provides insight into they readily embraced the system, resulting in a which established and self-reliant agencies are win-win for all. being contacted more than necessary, particu- larly when that time could have been better The aforementioned example provides an insight spent elsewhere. into how data can help unearth root causes of problems either at the individual or organizational • Which new agencies were contacted less than five times in their first three months with the level. Additional examples of questions that can be company? This reinforces the fact that new answered by meaningful sales analytics include: agencies require more attention in their early • How many performed activities were based days. on a campaign response? If the activity type • Which day of the week yields the most or category is marked as campaign response activities? This offers insights into agencies’ through system-generated activities, the preferences on when they would like to be executive could be tasked with making a certain contacted. number of calls falling under this category. • What percentage of activities is being conducted • What drives the executive who has made more on high-net-worth agencies? Depending on the than 10 office visits in a day? While quantity is product or state or the corporate strategy, good, quality of the interaction should be con- focus is expected to be high on agencies in a sistently high and yield strong results, which prized segment. makes it important to identify such anomalies. This could help determine the optimum number • How much was the agency producing before the visit compared to after the visit? Sales call of visits. effectiveness can be measured based on how • What requires an executive to visit the same much business the agency brings, before and agency twice on the same day? Here, the KPI after. Furthermore, patterns can be delineated being measured is the thoroughness of the to understand why certain sales activities bring interaction. Sales organizations can’t afford to more revenue. Is it the person making the sales have an incomplete interaction that must be calls, the time of call, the location of the agency rectified by a follow-up visit. or a combination of multiple factors? cognizant 20-20 insights 4
  5. 5. Making Sense of CRM Data Agencies Analyze Simple Performance Indicators. Products Develop Insights from Quotes Complex Patterns. Sales Help Plan Future Sales Activities. Employee Get Day-to-Day Operational Help. Transactional data is moved Geography from CRM system to the reporting tool to… Provide Summary Date and Time Information for Mgmt.Figure 2Apart from type and segment, there are many account executive dashboard to disclose howagency parameters that can be reported on, many additional activities — and of what type —such as the agency’s geography, specialization, were needed for an agent to meet his targets,maturity, lifecycle stage, etc. Other examples of scheduled to be updated every day. The companymeasurements involve the various attributes later realized significant increases in agent pro-associated with a product. Yet other useful ductivity since the dashboard revealed activitiesactivity attributes, or associated dimensions, that individual agents did not have to focus on,include geography, employee hierarchy, time and while providing insights on where they stood andtrending of the activity performance, activities what they needed to cover.performed on opportunities or leads and, veryimportantly, the financial data associated with Last but not least, the gathered data offers aagencies. historical record that can be used for data mining activities to calculate the ideal measures. ForThe list of attributes discussed above both for example, based on the last three years of data,the activity and the agency merely scratches the the “number of activities per day” KPI embracedsurface. If so many relevant KPIs can be generated by our client revealed the ideal number of sixand so many significant business questions can activities for a field executive working in the statebe answered with this limited set of attributes, a of California. This number can be refined due tomore exhaustive list could dramatically expand regulatory changes or the cost of field visits orthe number of scenarios possible and the infor- any other parameter, and hence a year from nowmation available for decision-making — ultimately this number could be reduced to four. So fromcovering all aspects of a sales organization. time to time, such thresholds and ideal numbers could be altered based on the vast history of dataOther Data Uses available for mining.Apart from the analytical intelligence providedby these reports and dashboards, the afore- Looking Forwardmentioned data capture and measurement This white paper offers examples of activity per-techniques can also provide valuable informa- formance measures used at one of the world’stion for operational excellence. For example, the leading insurance providers. The company realizedinsurance provider we worked with set up an huge benefits from implementing an analytics cognizant 20-20 insights 5
  6. 6. solution. Progress was slow, but as momentum provide the best customer as well as employee grew the company built on its strengths. From experience. While there are various ways to add measuring sales activities, activity details in a CRM system, what mattersWhile there are various it graduatedactivities that marketing to measuring is what kind of details are captured with each activity — and this will depend on what senior ways to add activity involved recruiting new management deems important to measure. details in a CRM agencies and converting With only a limited set of agency attributes, it system, what matters opportunities. More about these measurement areas is clear how many pertinent questions can be is what kind of details will be detailed in subse- answered. Not only can our approach answerare captured with each quent white papers. crucial questions, but dashboards can be built to provide managers and directors with a full activity — and this will The bottom line of all decision-support system. The resulting data candepend on what senior this is how much power be used in many ways, from helping manage- management deems is inherent in measuring ment-generated analytical intelligence, through account executive work providing assistance to individual executives dayimportant to measure. that was previously thought to day. Another option is to mine the data contin- to be immeasurable. Given uously to explore patterns that evolve and then the various types of sales calls or sales activities, refine the KPIs that are published in the reports or typical activities that the account executives and used to measure sales executive perfor- perform, it becomes very important to measure mance. This allows the reports to stay meaningful and improve the productivity and thereby over the long term. About the Author Pradeep Baptist is a Senior Consultant within Cognizant Business Consulting. He is a seasoned advisor with over nine years of experience in business intelligence strategy, transformational initiatives and program management consulting in the CRM and business intelligence spaces. Pradeep has worked with leading Fortune 500 clients to help them address key reporting problems and align their strategies. He can be reached at About Cognizant Cognizant (NASDAQ: CTSH) is a leading provider of information technology, consulting, and business process out- sourcing services, dedicated to helping the world’s leading companies build stronger businesses. Headquartered in Teaneck, New Jersey (U.S.), Cognizant combines a passion for client satisfaction, technology innovation, deep industry and business process expertise, and a global, collaborative workforce that embodies the future of work. With over 50 delivery centers worldwide and approximately 156,700 employees as of December 31, 2012, Cognizant is a member of the NASDAQ-100, the S&P 500, the Forbes Global 2000, and the Fortune 500 and is ranked among the top performing and fastest growing companies in the world. Visit us online at or follow us on Twitter: Cognizant. World Headquarters European Headquarters India Operations Headquarters 500 Frank W. Burr Blvd. 1 Kingdom Street #5/535, Old Mahabalipuram Road Teaneck, NJ 07666 USA Paddington Central Okkiyam Pettai, Thoraipakkam Phone: +1 201 801 0233 London W2 6BD Chennai, 600 096 India Fax: +1 201 801 0243 Phone: +44 (0) 20 7297 7600 Phone: +91 (0) 44 4209 6000 Toll Free: +1 888 937 3277 Fax: +44 (0) 20 7121 0102 Fax: +91 (0) 44 4209 6060 Email: Email: Email: © ­­ Copyright 2013, Cognizant. All rights reserved. No part of this document may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without the express written permission from Cognizant. The information contained herein is subject to change without notice. All other trademarks mentioned herein are the property of their respective owners.