User Buy-In Makes All the Difference

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Michael DeSimone knows that buy-in is crucial when implementing a CRM solution. DeSimone, vice president of operations and business solutions at Travelex, saw the first of its CRM solutions fail because employees refused to use the system with any regularity. Travelex, which provides foreign exchange and international payment solutions, has offices in 31 countries, corporate relationships in 97 countries, and serves more than 29 million customers a year. But surprisingly the company's most profitable division, the Corporate Foreign Exchange (CFX) team, had no universal, consistently used system for reliably tracking and sharing account information. In addition, Travelex was regionally managed but globally coordinated, making it difficult to implement CRM on a global scale. DeSimone, who is based in Omaha, joined the company in the midst of a huge Siebel 7 CRM project, but an acquisition managed to derail the project. He says that after that point nothing really happened, and "the SFA and CRM pieces were not integrated with our processing system, so the sales group refused to use it." According to DeSimone, the company decided to "trash the system" in favor of another solution, and set out to evaluate FrontRange's GoldMine and Salesforce.com. Travelex opted for Salesforce.com, because it is far less expensive than the $470,000 the company had spent to upgrade to Siebel 7. DeSimone says that Salesforce.com will cost the company approximately $50,000 per year. In addition, Travelex could deploy Salesforce.com without much modification in a short period of time, DeSimone says. "Salesforce is customized with businesspeople in mind, and you don't need to be a propeller head to use it. The system is designed by people who know how to sell," he says. DeSimone claims that the biggest benefit is that 310 users are on the system--with the previous system only 3 out of 100 users were in the system on a semiregular basis. Additionally, better pipeline information has led to better forecasting, which has saved money. The company has also saved money because sales reps and traders are now able to identify customer risks through trading patterns, according to DeSimone. The company has also reduced its defection rates by a third, and has used the system to track customers that were not being charged appropriately. That resulted in $100,000 that went directly to the bottom line. Travelex estimates a $250,000 impact to the bottom line by the end of 2003.
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