Business is Booming with Sugar

Sugar Powers Expert Lead Management System (ELMS) For Bank Of Marin

Bank of Marin and Sugar partner W-Systems created a robust system for relationship management and sales accountability using Sugar as the development platform. The Expert Lead Management System (ELMS) has eliminated information silos, delivered comprehensive visibility into customer relationships, improved communication between customer relationship stakeholders, and made prospecting more efficient. 

Business Challenges

Banking often requires a long sales cycle. So, as a premium provider of financial services to northern California businesses, Bank of Marin needed a system to manage opportunities and leads through the sales process and to capture all the information associated with those efforts. “I’ve always seen the need for the ability to record what we’re doing with a customer, prospect or referral source,” notes Peter Pelham, Executive Vice President for Bank of Marin. “With my own client base, I could use a standalone system. But when I got into administration, I realized we needed something that everyone could share.”

“With my own client base, I could use a standalone system. But when I got into administration, I realized we needed something that everyone could share.”


The bank tried unsuccessfully to use an extension of its core processing platform (FIS), but it lacked a calendar function and note taking capability. Plus, it could not provide a unified view of customers with multiple accounts. Instead, Pelham turned to Sugar partner W-Systems, a firm that provided targeted professional calling services to the bank. In response to client demand, W-Systems was in the process of developing a lead management and sales tracking system for banks to be based on either the Sugar or Salesforce CRM platform.



The Solution: Sugar Professional

W-Systems ultimately chose Sugar for ELMS due to its flexibility and cost effectiveness, and Bank of Marin elected to work with W-Systems as the first bank to deploy the system. “The W-Systems team was very responsive to us and helped us distil what we wanted, Pelham says. “As the system was implemented, its flexibility allowed us to move ahead faster. W-Systems’s extensive knowledge of the banking industry hastened the development time and brought industry best practices to the process. We didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

Sugar as the basis for ELMS also provided the functionality Bank of Marin required, coupled with ease of use. “Your least technical employee needs to be able to use it so we wanted something that was easy and intuitive,” Pelham says. Bank of Marin CEO Russ Colombo set the tone in terms of user adoption. “Russ Colombo basically said, ‘If we’re going to put this in, everyone’s going to use it.’ But on the flip side, the deployment team made a very serious effort to make the system as friendly and easy to use as possible.”

“You don’t have to segregate people who are not as computer savvy and give them separate training. It’s so easy to get started, which is beneficial to us.”
 

In fact, the system is so friendly that a training session can support a mixed group of experienced sales people with relatively new bankers and, after only two hours, everyone can use the system. “That’s a huge benefit,” points out Barbara Dalmau, Bank of Marin’s Senior Vice President. “You don’t have to segregate people who are not as computer savvy and give them separate training. It’s so easy to get started, which is beneficial to us.”

In addition, ELMS delivers the ability to seamlessly manage long-term relationships regardless of staff changes. “I’ve banked some people for 15 or 20 years,” continues Pelham. “When employees leave, you want to have a record of their interactions with customers, what was said and what was promised. With ELMS, we can always provide a consistent customer experience.”

Business Benefits

Powered by Sugar, ELMS has increased accountability within the sales team and improved communication between the various departments that touch a customer relationship. The solution has also delivered greater visibility for relationship planning. Relationship managers are aware of key customer events, such as when a company needs equipment financing or is buying a building. Similarly, ELMS made prospecting more efficient. “Now we’re not duplicating effort,” says Pelham. “I can find out if somebody else has been calling on a company.”

“We have a whole new package of features that we want to put into the system. That’s a very attractive part of ELMS powered by Sugar, the ability to make enhancements or changes.”

In addition, Bank of Marin likes the ELMS campaign management feature, which enables targeted customer outreach and close tracking of results. It also places knowledge transfer high on the list of improvements conveyed by Sugar and ELMS. Once information is in ELMS, the bank controls it and can make it accessible to everyone. “ELMS is very customized to banking and to our account types,” Dalmau notes. “This has increased accountability of our sales process,” elaborates Pelham. “We also drive commission and credit for sales through ELMS. So, it gets buy-in from everybody. And, we’ve integrated ELMS with Outlook. So we can create a call in ELMS and it shows up in the Outlook calendar of everyone invited.”



Bank of Marin plans to continue development of its solution with W-Systems. “We have a whole new package of features that we want to put into the system,” concludes Pelham. “That’s a very attractive part of ELMS powered by Sugar, the ability to make enhancements or changes.”

“The W-Systems team was very responsive to us and helped us distil what we wanted. As the system was implemented, its flexibility allowed us to move ahead faster. W-Systems’s extensive knowledge of the banking industry hastened the development time and brought industry best practices to the process. We didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.” 

Peter Pelham,
Executive VP,
Bank of Marin