Dain Rauscher Wessels knows the value of a second. Yet up until a few months ago, the billion-dollar securities firm had inefficient means to deliver valuable customer information to its 400 institutional-investment clients.
Every morning Dain Rauscher employees have an investment call with their sales personnel to discuss stock performance and potential sales. After the meeting, sales professionals place calls to their most profitable customer base and pitch investments. Oftentimes, the customer asks to speak with a financial research analyst. "Our research analysts have a brutal travel schedule, which makes it difficult for sales professionals to reach them," says Dan Callahan, a Dain spokesman. The sales personnel would send E-mails and leave voice mails for the research analysts, who would check the messages during the day. "The problem is that the research analysts didn't get the information immediately, so by the time they checked E-mail or voice mail, they had about 40 calls to make," Callahan says. "And in this business, every second counts. If you can't get back to the customer within minutes, your chances of making the sale are diminished."
Three months ago, Dain was able to find a solution to its problem from customer relationship management company Pivotal Corp. The vendor has been piloting its new Instant Action technology, which lets sales and customer service professionals send customer data to a BlackBerry wireless E-mail pager. Dain signed up for the pilot program. Now sales associates at Dain are able to instantly send customer inquiries, a synopsis of the current situation, and customer purchasing history to research analysts. The program has been so successful, Callahan says, that sales for the first quarter have increased 29% compared with the same period last year. Those results let Dain beat a record first quarter 2000 this year, he added.
Ted Mortonson, Dain's senior managing director, customized the Pivotal software so he can view sales and use of the Pivotal applications. "If you factor in the increased sales, and response time to our customers, we were able to recoup costs in a couple of month's time," Mortonson says. Getting employees to use the system wasn't a problem, either, he says, since technology is a strong component of the company's culture.
Dain is moving into its second phase of implementation with Pivotal, which includes peer-to-peer technology for advanced content distribution.
Pivotal will ship the Instant Action wireless application next week. Pricing has not been announced. The app will integrate with other Pivotal applications and other CRM packages.