Summary:Insurance is a tough game. And when you have 20,000 leads a month sitting in disparate systems across the country, it only gets tougher. With an efficient lead management system, HDFC Ergo collected all its leads in one repository, allowing it a 30 percent lead conversion rate.Highlights:The problem at HDFC Ergo was that 20,000 leads were being generated across the country every a month nd they were updated in disparate, asynchronous systems.Mansoori began the process of re-designing the company's lead management system. But before that, he needed to find an efficient CRM system.Mansoori began the process of re-designing the company's lead management system. But before that, he needed to find an efficient CRM system.Reader ROI:How a CRM system can help marketingThe multiple benefits of consolidationWhy IT should initiate business solutionsWe live in a world of uncertainty. The escalating number of road accidents, plane crashes, or just the growing wrath of nature manifested in cyclones or freak incidents involving volcanic ash spew, will turn even the biggest optimist into a skeptic. Unless you're a soothsayer, there is nothing much you can do to avoid accidents. There is a way, however, to limit your damage: insurance.One of the key players of the burgeoning Indian insurance industry that many believe is in its Golden Age of growth is HDFC Ergo General Insurance. It was born out of an initiative by HDFC Bank to enter into the general insurance sector. The company has had an eventful start. It began operations back in 2002 as HDFC Chubb General Insurance Company, a partnership with the bank and Chubb, an American insurance company. After Chubb exited, it operated as HDFC General Insurance till the end of 2008, after which it partnered with Munich-based insurance company ERGO International AG and came to be known as HDFC Ergo. With a little over eight years in the industry, it is already the fifth largest private insurer in the country. For a company that has gone through multiple management changes, it has a robust IT system supporting it. That\u2019s because it takes its IT seriously. For example, its campaigns like \u2018mobile enrolment technology' that helps the rural masses to buy insurance policies with a mobile phone. Or even its RFID-enabled cattle insurance offers. Technology has been instrumental in placing the company among the best in the country.But it wasn\u2019t enough.\nAll Over the PlaceHDFC Ergo, like any other insurance company, reaches out to its\u00a0 customers through a network of agents, direct sales force, brokers, dealerships and bank employees. Traditionally, the leads generated by field executives would be manually entered in excel sheets and communicated to a branch office or an area sales manager through e-mails. The problem was about 20,000 leads were being generated across the country every a month. And they were updated in disparate, asynchronous systems."Because each employee would report leads only to his immediate officer, data was fragmented and it was almost impossible to get a holistic view of all the leads that were being generated across the country," says Mehmood Mansoori, head-IT, HDFC Ergo. The sales team was struggling to generate reports, calculate their conversion rate, or figure out which deals were getting closed- and which were not. This was beginning to trouble Mansoori. "It was undermining our efficiency. It was difficult to figure out where the gaps lay and what we could do to close them," says Mansoori. These challenges came at a time when the company had started pursuing an aggressive growth strategy. In the past\u00a0 two years, HDFC Ergo has grown from 15 branches to 70. This meant it needed a faster turnaround time, more successful ad campaigns and a higher conversion rate.Mansoori knew he could help and the answer lay in a consolidated CRM system. When HDFC Ergo's head of IT approached management with his proposal for a centralized lead management system, it wasn\u2019t a hard battle to fight, he remebers. They were thrilled that someone could help them with their problems. With that settled, Mansoori began the process of re-designing the company's lead management system. But before that, he needed to find an efficient CRM system. Mansoori settled with the Sales Force Automation module of Talisma 7.1.A single repository of data enables us to closely track the sales pipeline and figure out where the gaps are, and how to close them out. My users were thrilled with the solution.Leading EdgeMansoori wanted a data upload tool by which the 450 field executives could directly upload lead data into the Talisma server. The vendor's implementation team came out with a tool that periodically picks data from a specified folder and uploads it to the server.\nWith the new system in place, field executives can now upload leads generated from the market, third-party databases, and existing customers into a central repository. The sales team can use the Lead Tracking and Reporting Mechanism tool to manage leads and track these leads across the customer lifecycle, and generate various reports for top management. The system also gives the flexibility to customize according the user's needs. "A single repository of data enables us to closely track the sales pipeline and figure out where the gaps are, and how to close them out. My users were thrilled with the solution, because it makes their lives so much easier," says Mansoori. Akhil Dhamija, national manager, HDFC Ergo, (he is part of the retail team responsible for customizing the system) agrees with Mansoori. "We have a team which takes care of leads. Now, it is important that all these leads and prospects are brought into a refined tunnel which helps us attend to them. This way we can extract maximum potential in conversion of the leads," he says. And that's clearly visible from the lead conversion rate which today stands at 30 percent. A 30 percent coversion rate of 20,000 leads equals 6,000 policies. That's not the only thing that makes Dhamija a happy man. The system has also enabled the company to run a lot of marketing campaigns to attract more customers into buying insurance. "With the new system, I can tag each campaign with specific attributes, be it location, size or type of market into the Talisma software. By further customizing the software, I can compare the effectiveness of one campaign with that of the other. This helps us improve with each campaign," he says. What's more, the system is also a boon for call center employees. With simplecustomizations they can now closely track all the policies the company has issued and service customers according to their needs.For example, they can alert customers if their policies are about to mature or offer them new policies. With so many benefits crowdingMansoori, what would be the ultimate benchmark to the success of the project? "The system has helped our sales agent enhance their relationship with their current and potential customers. This will essentially help improve traction with our customers."And that's what every company in the competitive insurance sector aims for, isn't it?