Those of you who follow Symantec know that we announced our FY15 first quarter earnings last week, delivering solid results with revenue, non-GAAP operating margin and earnings per share above guidance. This steady progress was driven by productivity improvements in both our new business and renewals team. In particular, our federal and renewals teams both delivered one of their best quarters ever.
So, why is this an important topic for IT? It is significant because IT plays an important role in improving product renewals and customer retention for Symantec. It has always been my philosophy that IT should drive increased business productivity and efficiencies, delivering services that help a business grow. At Symantec, that includes improving renewals and retention.
There are several areas where we are making significant enhancements – they include:
- Renewals data quality and visibility
- Quoting and related tool capabilities
- Providing technology support
Here’s a view of how we’re doing this by category.
- Improving renewals data quality and visibility.
In Q1 of this year, we insourced several small and medium business renewals capabilities, resulting in a 23% uplift in the number of renewal notifications sent to customers each quarter. We’ve also developed renewals notification analytics which drive outbound calling opportunities that would otherwise be missed.
Currently underway is the creation of a renewals data engine that will deliver a global renewals opportunity data set which will automate and eliminate much of the manual data manipulation occurring today, and will ultimately increase rep pipeline visibility to 9-12 months.
- Quoting and related tool capabilities:
So far we’ve enabled 200 of our Dublin, Ireland renewal representatives to support in- and out-bound call handling using the newest computer telephony integration capabilities. On Oracle, we’ve made performance upgrades and reporting enhancements to improve rep efficiency and limit the impact of the Oracle timeout requirement.
Currently in the works – we are extending existing sales tools to our renewals representatives that will ultimately enable them to better drive retention and reduce discounting. And, our ongoing focus is to identify and deliver against “quick wins” to improve the experience for reps and sales administrators by enhancing quoting and order processing capabilities.
- Providing technology support to license compliance group
Finally, we’re improving data reporting and access to provide improved visibility to a customer’s entitlements, and will be automating the quarterly notification process. We are also exploring opportunities to move case management for this group to the Salesforce platform, and to enable online usage reporting for customers and partners.
Everyone knows that retaining existing customers, understanding their needs and what other services they might need are essential. Having the ability to proactively renew and recommend services provides additional value to the customer relationship. And, improvement in account retention ratios can have a dramatic effect on your bottom line. We hope to drive continued growth to Symantec’s bottom line as we improve the IT renewal and retention processes.