The 2017 CRM Market Elite Customers: Elements Financial
Elements Financial, a $1.3 billion credit union with 80,000 members in all 50 U.S. states and 40 countries, knew the winds were shifting. On the operational side, an emphasis on mobility was driving much of its development efforts, as was the need for a more robust and better-informed approach to customer data.
When new integration projects popped up on the radar, the organization—an established Salesforce.com user—decided to examine its options. Brad Kelley, assistant vice president of information technology, was poised to tackle a variety of development tasks and saw the Salesforce Lightning solution as a way to move things even further ahead.
In September 2016, the credit union moved all 165 of its Salesforce users to Sales Cloud Lightning in just six months. “It’s very mobile-friendly and very modern,” Kelley says of the new Lightning interface.
Mobility and ease of access are increasingly important in a business world that relies on real-time data and consumers who expect to receive support no matter where they are. “We know things are moving that way, so we thought, ‘Why do it twice?’” Kelley says.
Several enhancements available through the Lightning platform grabbed Kelley’s interest. The first was improved mobile integration. Though the company is based in Indianapolis, team members frequently work at partner sites, so mobility is a tremendous asset. With the switch to Lightning, employees were able to ditch laptops for lighter, smaller iPads. “They can quickly get in, add notes, log opportunities, and help that member, all while they’re standing right in front of them,” Kelley says.
That level of mobility has enabled Elements Financial to save its members more than $16.4 million.
The potential to leverage additional features down the road also drew Elements Financial to the Lightning platform. The availability of more powerful analytics through Salesforce Einstein, an artificial intelligence–based data visualization platform, was also compelling.
Since making the move to Salesforce Lightning, Elements Financial has saved 43 percent in development costs. “Before, we had to develop once for desktops and once for our road warriors,” Kelley explains.
And it isn’t just the business development staff who are seeing an increased need for mobility. “In the financial industry, a lot of the tellers are getting away from the teller counter,” Kelley says. “They’re talking to people in line and helping them right there.” He says his team knew that’s where operational efficiencies were heading, and the deployment of Lightning helped “to speed up some of that and make it more mobile-friendly.”
Lightning enabled Elements Financial to more easily meet development needs, and Kelley says Salesforce also helped eliminate the silos of information that existed previously. “Before, a member could call in and we wouldn’t know everything about them,” he explains. “We wouldn’t even know how many times they had called that day.” With everyone now on Lightning, he says, “we can see all of that information. It helps us connect more with members than we could before.” Staff members, from tellers to loan officers, can now leverage the same data across the entire member services spectrum. The institution’s executives also have access to better information through the dashboards available on their mobile devices.
As shown by the transition at Elements Financial, a successful CRM system deployment begins with a good foundation, and a comprehensive knowledge of what the organization is trying to accomplish is key. “You need to really understand what your goals are, who your end users are, and what their needs are,” says Lynne Zaledonis, vice president of product marketing for Salesforce Sales Cloud. Regardless of the technology involved—whether moving from another system or simply upgrading from the conventional spreadsheets—the best productivity gains are found when everyone is working toward the same results.
- Elements Financial’s development costs were cut by 43 percent.
- Its members saved more than $16.4 million.