The database at Wolters Kluwer Polska contains more than 300 thousand records. Customers are classified according to hundreds of criteria – from more obvious ones such as headcount or industry to more specific ones such as e.g. user interests or preferred contact hours. SAP CRM is a demanding system – every day it is fed with information from sales representatives, call centers and help desk consultants who contact customers on a daily basis.
The effort put into detailing and updating the customer and contact history database that is available in one place, pays off while creating target groups for further sales and marketing activities.
How to address a new product? Which customers buy the most? How to increase the sales of the selected publications? Why do customers choose the competition? – At WKP answers to these questions are available at hand without having to order costly marketing research or the use of a crystal ball.
From consultants and sales persons, through managers responsible for sales and customer service, to the company’s management board – SAP CRM is a different set of tasks and benefits. For some it means more duties, but also a higher personal effectiveness, for others it increases the comfort of work and allows them to better control subordinates and budgets. At even higher organisation levels, it facilitates analytical tasks and helps make strategic decisions.
On an enterprise scale, SAP CRM means better sales results, higher profitability of marketing activities and business security due to diversification in the business offer as well as more effective market penetration.
Single Customer View in Wolters Kluwer Polska
Besides SAP CRM and SAP ERP, Wolters Kluwer Polska uses the Single Customer View solution. SCV is a proprietary BCC (since 2018 SNP) solution which makes all the most important customer information from different SAP areas available on one screen – address data, contacts, offers, invoices, and complaints.
Use of SCV is intuitive. With a clear Customer Sheet layout and information grouped by thematic tabs, the work with this solution is simplified. The access to each required piece of information needs only one mouse-click to open a new tab.
The Customer Card view is adjusted to the company’s specificity and information needs and to the requirements and authorizations of the individual user groups. The data made available by Single Customer View can come from SAP ERP or/and SAP CRM solutions used by the company. Single Customer View is delivered as a ready-to-use product.
The following people give an account of working with SAP CRM in Wolters Kluwer Polska from the perspective of their positions:
- Grzegorz Olszewski, Sales and Marketing Director
- Adam Jaczyński, Sales Director in the North-Western Region company segment
- Iwona Horbaj, Renewals Manager
- Artur Chodkowski, HelpDesk Manager
- Damian Zajkowski, Financial Director
From information to strategy
After nearly two years of using the SAP CRM system, I can say that as the sales and marketing director I currently have better control over the whole sales process in all channels. Our marketing campaigns are more accurately addressed and are more efficient, and the total cost of sales is lower. However, the main, and the most important concern, is the customer database.
Good database – a sales pillar
Wolters Kluwer Polska offers over 2000 book titles addressed to people from different industries, often experts in very narrow fields. With such a diverse offering and sales in all available channels, a marketing success depends mostly on addressing a product properly and efficiently reaching the customer. This in turn requires precisely adjusting the offer to the recipients’ needs, and these we can define only when we know clearly what their expectations are.
The easily accessible address data, gathered in one place, is only the tip of the iceberg. In the central database in SAP CRM, we gather any and all information on customers and users of our products.
In SAP CRM, we have already defined several dozen criteria used to describe the characteristics, preferences, and interests of the customers and individual users of our products. We gather information on the legal status of the company, industry, employment structure, revenue etc. For users we record their education, competence, professional position, scope of duties and professional interests. We also record the information on a preferred form and term of contract, subscription to newsletters we offer on our Web sites and a lot of other information.
We obtain the information from different sources, mainly from people who stay in direct contact with customers, i.e. call centre consultants or sales people. They are the main, but not the only, information providers. In WKP, the logistics and marketing department employees are also SAP CRM users. Each customer contact and the related marketing activity (e.g. mailing, offers), purchase history, opting out of from subscriptions – all that is recorded in CRM.
Beside the volume of data, the second important characteristic which decides the database’s value is its quality. In the previously used application, it was difficult to avoid duplicates – the company was recorded under many names, contact people were recorded in different organisational units of the same company etc. Keeping the information consistent was virtually impossible.
In SAP CRM, we have data cleaning and duplicate elimination tools. We have also introduced a data buffer model which prevents the duplication of entities and contacts. Additionally, the authorization system – defined depending on the user’s role in the organisation – guarantees database security and data control.
With such an efficient tool for storing and processing information, we decided to purchase external databases and link them with the system. In less than two years, the database has grown from nearly 200 thousand to over 300 thousand records of cleaned data. I estimate that we currently have in our CRM information on 80-90% entities from our target group that are present on the market.
Attributes and what results from them
For us, such a broad customer and contact history database is the value in and of itself. However, even more valuable is the practically unrestricted possibility to process data and analyse it in a variety of views and according to different criteria.
Analytics in SAP CRM, in particular the functionality of the segment editor tool, have introduced a completely new quality in creating target groups for any marketing activity in WKP.
Previously, target groups were chosen in huge, constantly updated, merged and split MS Excel sheets. Today, a database department specialist is able to prepare a target group of several thousand customers in 10 minutes based on specific and precise attributes.
The number of criteria according to which we can create marketing lists is continuously growing. Now, there are several hundred of them. We can divide the customers into segments based on their purchase history, contact history, marketing characteristics, interests, competition products they have, our products, industries, employment level, legal status and many other criteria. The resultant list may be freely narrowed down or expanded, according to the needs.
To illustrate how it works, I will use an example. We have the book “Large panel construction systems in Poland in the 70s” as part of our offer. Question: Who to address a niche publication such as this to? In CRM, we have featured construction engineers, people who take on renovations, e.g. in residential cooperatives, or deal with real estate management. Based on this criterion we have created a marketing list – an accurate target group for which the book is useful and in which it sells well. In this case, we have reduced the cost of reaching the customer and significantly improved the publication profitability.
Target groups, marketing lists
Segment editor in SAP CRM is a powerful marketing tool thanks to which effectiveness has improved. Our return on investment is also higher, in particular as regards telemarketing campaigns and direct marketing campaigns. Better selected target groups allow us to limit the operational costs (call centre, the logistic costs incurred with sales people). This benefit is the biggest one in the process of acquiring a new customer where costs are considerable and profit is gained only in the second year of support.
The marketing planner is used not only to generate databases for specific sales activities. Now, all marketing campaigns are executed in this tool, from the activity and budget planning stage, through the execution with effectiveness and financial control at each stage, down to the effects analysis.
Each project or marketing plan is marked with a unique identification number, which allows the tracking of the actual costs and revenues assigned to individual campaigns. If a given campaign is related to sales, all invoices effected within it are marked with its identification number and therefore we can track the effectiveness of sales actions that we run, e.g. in a call centre, on an ongoing basis.
Yearly we execute about 100 such telemarketing projects. Now we know exactly which actions are profitable and how much profit they generate, which require improvement, and which to add on to. It is very valuable knowledge with a marketing budget of several million zlotys annually. Previously, we only had the global data on campaign management costs and revenues, without the breakdown into individual campaigns and without the analytical capabilities.
In SAP CRM, the analytical capabilities are practically unlimited. We use them to analyse consumer behaviour, plan marketing actions, correct the product or the pricing of an offer when we introduce a new product on the market. Sometimes the conclusions are surprising, yet they allow us to better address our offer to the appropriate customer.
We found that, for example, around 30% of Lex users, i.e. a product targeted at lawyers, are accountants, whereas we have a very well-evaluated Chief Accountant Manual, also in a version with a comprehensive database of legal acts. This means that our product is either unknown to this target group or is not attractive enough for accountants. We will learn the exact reasons after the completion of some marketing research. Based on these results we will further plan our promotional activities as well.
Campaigns aimed at the diversification of our product offer for customers and the introduction of new products on the market are also based on marketing lists from CRM. The starting point in these processes is the customer’s purchase history as a breakdown into product groups, industries, series, customer groups etc.
Around 300 people in Wolters Kluwer Polska are SAP CRM users, which makes up over half of the employees, plus third party consultants providing telemarketing services for us. Each piece of customer information, each contact and every activity is recorded in the system. At the managerial level, CRM is a tool for controlling sales and financial activities in a variety of possible views and for different organisation levels, as well as for strategic and financial planning.
Old and new customers
SAP CRM supports two basic sales processes in WKP: acquiring new customers, servicing regular customers and sales of subscription renewals. The latter process is the pillar of our business.
We sell access subscriptions to our electronic products, e.g. the Lex legal information system, or ABC services for specialists, such as Chief Accountant Manual, Labour Law Service, Environmental Protection Law.
This process is reflected in SAP CRM, which enables the automatic generation of sales renewal opportunities. Sales people report individual customer contacts and specify the phases in these opportunities according to precisely defined criteria by assigning them the sales probability of 10, 50 or 90%. This allows for a very precise sales forecast. Currently, in the sales funnels reported from CRM, the error is 10%, whereas previously an error margin of 30% was assumed. This is a significant risk reduction.
In the sales funnels reported from SAP CRM, the error is about 10%. This is a significant risk reduction.
If the sales results differ from the expectations, e.g. the number of renewals of a given product falls, based on the information obtained by a sales person, CRM can suggest possible reasons for the change: a cheaper offer by the competition, remarks about the business content, the distribution method, an incorrectly selected target group… Thanks to this, we can react by correcting the customer service process, preparing a promotional offer and even making changes to the products.
The reasons for taking a loss are reported at a rather general level – the customer account manager or a call centre consultant checks the available options in the system. If the scale of losses is larger, we take further action. For example, a few months ago we noticed a considerable drop in subscription renewals for a publication intended for school principals – “Education Law”. Based on the data from SAP CRM, we have created a list of unsatisfied customers with their reasons for opting out of the subscription service. We identified the main reason as dissatisfaction with the business content. Then, the marketing department carried out detailed interviews with people who indicated this criterion as a deciding factor. As a result, we found out that users expected the templates of the documents to be related to the professional promotion of teachers. This was used as the basis for further decisions on the product’s development.
This example shows that CRM supports the process of regaining lost customers. We also use the competition data collected in the system for that purpose. We analyse its offer, and we prepare a customer recapturing strategy.
Of course, we carried out similar activities earlier, but they were more intuitive and based on the impressions of the sales people and sales directors. Or we had to order costly marketing research.
In our database today we have the validated and reliable data of 300 thousand people from over 40 thousand companies who use over 100 thousand of our products. We are better able to draw more reliable conclusions and make better decisions based on statistical analysis.
When it comes to new customer sales, we have seen a significant growth dynamic since we started using SAP CRM. Currently, we’ve gained more than twice as many new customers per year than earlier. Such large progress in market penetration is possible due to the well-selected target groups for individual activities and better planned marketing campaigns which address the appropriate customers.
Strategic personal selling
Wolters Kluwer Polska carries out sales in all channels, but direct sales accounts for 80% of the company’s revenues. Our sales personnel reach finance, law and business professionals with the publishing house’s offer. Currently, we work with 160 customer consultants countrywide. This is the biggest SAP CRM user group in the company.
Together they constitute the biggest customer data source. In practice, this means that after each customer contact – a phone call or a visit – a representative should create a detailed report in the system containing the information in the course of a visit.
The system is configured so that it is not possible to execute steps connected with the submission of the offer and, as a result, the calculation of the commission without providing the marketing data.
With this detailed reporting, we, as a company, get to know our customers better. But this certainly means a lot of additional work for sales personnel and at first, it met with their reluctance.
We are aiming at the point where SAP CRM will become the basic working tool for a sales person, in which all contact data, information, notes and the activity calendar are stored. In the activity calendar, sales personnel will plan their tasks themselves and receive the tasks centrally-planned , e.g. within a marketing campaign, for execution.
I think that due to different motivational activities sales personnel appreciate that the effort put in to completing the data “returns” to them in the form of better defined target groups, more accurately addressed marketing campaigns or more attractive promotional offers that are better awarded. As an additional motivational factor, we also implemented the rule that a completed Customer Card in Single Customer View is a prerequisite for obtaining special pricing conditions for the customer, applied for by a sales person.
To simplify: the better the customer information – his preferences, subscriptions, products of the competition – the higher the likelihood of sales. This also translates to lower operational costs of sales activities – currently a bigger percentage of sales person’s activities (phone calls, visits) ends with an order.
What distinguishes us from the competition is the sales strategy being oriented on strong diversification of the product offer among customers. The role of sales representatives is reaching specific customers with an appropriately prepared product offer or development of the product offer among customers by specific modules based on knowledge about the customer.
Thanks to CRM, as a regional sales director I have better control over the activities of my subordinate sales personnel.
Thanks to CRM, as a regional sales director I have better control over the activities of my subordinate sales personnel regarding the fulfilment of sales targets for both overall value and market segments or products and product groups. I am able to watch the trends on an ongoing basis and to react, if e.g. sales personnel reluctantly introduce a new publication to their offer, e.g. by planning additional activities for them collectively.
In the case of renewal management for regular customers, the Marketing Planner in SAP CRM serves as a schedule and deadline guard and takes care that no expiring subscription is left unattended.
However, it’s well-known that it is most difficult to sell new products, in particular those from new lines where it’s hard to define a target group and there is no proven sales strategy. In SAP CRM, it is a lot easier to plan such a process, firstly by creating a base of customers to whom we will target an offer at first, by planning the activities of sales persons, giving them a weapon of customer knowledge and implementing an additional motivation system. It’s also easier to control such a process and correct it on an ongoing basis, if needed.
Another important benefit from SAP CRM for me is a considerable reduction in the time needed for the preparation of a newly employed sales person to work. A customer list with completed data, contact history, purchase history, sales opportunities – i.e. a basic work studio – all of this is put in the hands of a new employee. After a training session on Wolters Kluwer’s product offer and use of SAP CRM, he is ready to set off to work in the field. It creates significant savings for the company, and leads to a profit for a sales person who is able to achieve a satisfactory commission level a lot faster in a new job. And as commissions are in question – though they are calculated in SAP ERP, the integration of both systems has significantly improved their calculation.
Management of renewals and marketing campaigns in the call centre
The main telemarketing goals in Wolters Kluwer consist in the execution of different kinds of marketing campaigns based on the target groups generated from SAP CRM and, first of all, the service to regular customers in the scope of subscription renewal sales.
Many publications of WKP are offered as DVDs or online applications that are periodically updated. We also have loose-leaf book publications, also with updates, and magazines. The annual renewal of licence fees and subscriptions is a strategic part of a company’s business. The call centre manages the renewals with around 30% of all WKP customers.
In the process of renewal sales – the area which I am responsible for – the main tool for sales activities are customer service schedules made available in SAP CRM.
Based on the information available in CRM concerning expiring subscriptions for individual products, the system automatically generates telemarketing activity reports. This is in fact a ready to use task list for call centre consultants. We prepare it every day, and then – at the end of the day – it is exported to the call centre applications integrated with CRM.
The main activity types can be divided into two groups: the first is connected with the customer service from the time of purchase of the WKP program for preparing the renewal, the second is connected with the sales-oriented contacts – subscription renewal.
Each activity contains the set of required customer information: the reason for direct contact, i.e. which subscription product is expiring, other products used by the user and their subscription expiry dates; if they are programs available on DVD or online, the preferred contact hours or if the customer has submitted any complaints etc.
In order to take care of the data consistency and to streamline the work in the system, we have created more restrictive schemes and ranking criteria that are common for all SAP CRM users in the company. The majority of the customer data are options to be checked. Thanks to that, recording the contact information takes less time, the data is complete and – what’s more important – ready to use in further analytics and during the creation of groups for sales activities.
Our marketing activities – executed through different contact channels – are consistent, coordinated and purposeful.
One of the strategic decisions in the sales area was the outsourcing of telemarketing functions. Currently Wolters Kluwer uses the services of two external companies in this regard. Both call centres work using our SAP CRM, entering the data on commercial contacts and following the customer service schedules. Depending on the campaign’s intensity, the number of consultants using CRM daily oscillates between 15 and 40.
During the call, consultants have a Single Customer View screen in front of them where, on the Customer Card, they can see all customer-related activities: customer users, who, when and with which offer they’ve contacted the customer, whether or not it was a promotional offer within a marketing campaign or a standard offer, whether or not a sales representative has contacted the customer, whether the customer has contacted the help desk and with what issue. And if there were complaints, in which manner they were resolved…
Thanks to that, our activities – executed through different contact channels – are consistent, coordinated and purposeful. This improves our image in the customer’s eyes. But also the call centre consultants appreciate it in their everyday work. Discussions with customers are more businesslike, and reporting, when you get familiar with the tool, is intuitive, and the work is more effective.
Technical support and complaint management
The helpdesk operating within the WKP Logistics Department structures serves as the first line of contact for customers, solving both technical and information-related problems.
The helpdesk phone number is on the company’s Web site and on the cover of each disk with the software update and in updates made available online or in our newsletters and other advertising materials.
As opposed to the call centre whose main task is to call the customers with new offers, we mostly receive customer requests in the following channels: phone, e-mail, chat and fax. Like all SAP CRM users, we record each customer contact in it: what the request is related to, in which mode it was resolved etc. If during the call we manage to obtain additional information, e.g. opinions on the products of the competition, we certainly record and update it.
However, the helpdesk employees use SAP CRM first of all to identify the callers and to work with customers: manage complaints, give technical advice, solve problems with getting started with the products and navigating through them and other activities. SAP CRM is definitely our main working tool.
During the call, after the caller has been identified by e.g. his ID in the system, NIP, company name, first and last name, phone number or dozens of other characteristics, the consultant can see all the data on the customer and the products he has bought as well as the history of his earlier contacts with the helpdesk, if any took place. This radically improves the service. We can understand the essence of the problem faster and help or give information. This is very important from the point of view of the company’s image. Faults occur. Efficient and rapid help is our priority – nearly 95% of requests are resolved during the first contact.
To obtain a view of a complete customer history, we don’t have to switch between different systems – everything is contained in CRM.
Previously, part of the contacts was recorded in the system that had been created for internal purposes. It had a browser interface and obtained the data from several independent systems, e.g. SAP ERP and BW, by collecting information on sales activities, contact people and prospective customers. However, some of the data in the previous application wasn’t available online, and the data relationships were heavily abridged. To have complete access to the information, we had to use several systems which cost us time that is crucial during a sales call.
Fortunately, many helpdesk activities were previously recorded in SAP ERP. Familiarity with that system made the migration to a new tool relatively smooth. The undoubted benefit is that to obtain a view of a complete customer history, we don’t have to switch between different systems – everything is contained in CRM.
Often repeated actions are automated, e.g. creation of threads.
In the future, we plan to enhance the functionalities of the tool by implementing a system for managing incidents/issues and distributing them among employees located throughout Poland.
With the eye of a financial director
I am not a direct user of SAP CRM, but the system has also had an impact on my work. The information on planned sales revenues that I currently receive from the sales director is more precise, and the error margin in sales funnels of subscription products has fallen to a few per cent. Such precise data from the area that is the most important area for us provides a reliable basis for budget planning and strategy development.
The sales data from CRM has better enabled us to optimise our marketing expenditure – we can precisely watch each publishing item or a marketing campaign and evaluate its profitability. We don’t get into activities that do not bring us the expected results, and we spend more on activities that generate revenue.
The CRM system is integrated with SAP ERP – therefore the data on the sales results of individual sales personnel, complete with assigned commission values for products, is included in the payroll. This has allowed us to consolidate the commission calculation system and to lower the margin for error.
SAP CRM gives us more accurate knowledge of customers, contact people, purchase history, and contacts as well as orders and means of security. And certainly we also gather information on the competition. We know our market better than ever, and therefore our products and ways to reach the customers are better adjusted to their current needs and expectations.
As a Financial Director, after nearly two years of work with the system, I can say that the sales profitability has risen in comparison with the previous period.
Wolters Kluwer Polska (formerly Polskie Wydawnictwa Profesjonalne – PWP) is the biggest publishing house in Poland providing professional legal and business information. The main activity of the company is the publishing of books and magazines as well as the preparation and management of specialist internet services. The company belongs to the Dutch Wolters Kluwer Group. Publications are currently published under three brands: ABC, LEX and Oficyna. The publishing house has a sales network operating throughout Poland. Regional Sales Branches are located in all regional cities. The publishing house also has an Internet bookstore.