With Salesforce, we can seize the digital opportunity and reach out to more customers.”

- Adrian Grace, CEO

Financial services firm pushes the digital agenda with greater customer intelligence, sharper marketing content, and smarter sales processes

Aegon has been helping people take responsibility for their financial future since 1831. It has around two million customers in the UK alone – and it wants to get closer to them. To achieve this, Aegon has embarked on a digital transformation that will do more than change just customer engagements; it will change the company’s operations and culture

“Financial services firms need to move at light speed to keep up with the demands of consumers,” explained Adrian Grace, UK CEO for Aegon. “Our future is all about digital relationships with our customers. With Salesforce, we can broaden and strengthen those relationships.”

Retiready is at the forefront of Aegon’s digital transformation, and helps people save and plan for their retirement. A unique readiness score flags up gaps in financial planning, so that people can take action before it’s too late.


“Only 7% of the UK population is on track for the retirement that they want,” revealed Grace. “Our mission is to get the country ready for retirement, and Salesforce will help us achieve that mission.”

“We have to be there when our customers need us. Salesforce is the glue that holds together the different digital components,” added Grace.

Plugging the pension gap

Launched in May 2014, Retiready has been a great success, attracting more than three quarters of a million visitors and over 100,000 customers in the first 18 months. “We started with a clean sheet of paper and designed something that we knew the customer on the street could really understand,” said Duncan Jarrett, UK Retail Managing Director at Aegon.

From web chat and secure email to data analytics and diagnostics, Salesforce underpins a number of important customer-facing Retiready processes. “Using a cloud-based solution was really important for us we didn’t want to be restricted by capacity or performance,” added Stephen Crosbie, Customer Innovation Director at Aegon. “Salesforce has been vital to revolutionising how we engage with customers.”

Every query raised by a Retiready customer is logged in Service Cloud regardless of what communication channel they use. A full history is available to Aegon staff as well as customers who have opted to use their dedicated Retiready inbox. Service Cloud also enables Aegon to initiate web chats with visitors to the Retiready website.

A new era in customer engagement

To get closer to its customers, Aegon needs to engage with them across various digital channels. Using Radian6, part of Marketing Cloud, Aegon can track social conversations on Facebook and Twitter even when the company hasn’t been tagged in posts, and proactively reach out to those customers who comment.

Aegon also uses Radian6 to follow key industry themes these insights are then shared with the communications team so they can include the most effective keywords in the company’s digital and social content.

“Radian6 provides a great snapshot of our brand perception in the marketplace,” said Crosbie. “We’ve developed a social playbook so we know how to best react to different situations.”

To continue to strengthen its brand, Aegon plans to tap into the email marketing and Journey Builder features of Marketing Cloud.

“We want to control what content customers receive and when they receive it,” explained Crosbie. “With Marketing Cloud, we can match what we send to a customer’s specific circumstances and get messages out to the market faster.”

The company can also see what content and campaigns generate the greatest response. Since using Marketing Cloud to co-ordinate Retiready communications for both prospects and existing customers, the email open rate is over 70% higher than the industry average and the click-through rate is over 80% higher when compared to the industry benchmark.

“We use the analytics generated by Marketing Cloud to prioritise different approaches it helps us get better results with the same resources,” said Crosbie.

Enabling sales success

Aegon, which manages approximately £542 billion assets around the world, is equally reliant on intelligent analytics to drive sales performance and excellence. Aegon’s global sales rose by 20% to €8.6 billion in 2014. “Everyone has personalised dashboards within Sales Cloud, so they can see what business they are bringing in and how it relates to our overall goals,” explained Jarrett.

The dashboards don’t just improve visibility for internal teams Aegon also uses the data captured in Sales Cloud to share insights with the intermediaries that sell its products. “We can have more informed conversations about the dynamics we are seeing not only in our business but also in their businesses,” revealed Jarrett. “This gives us a real competitive edge and helps us serve our end customers better.”

Sales Cloud underpins the entire opportunity process for Aegon’s distribution operation – from pipeline management and forecasting to lead conversion and bid co-ordination. Around 3,500 new opportunities are logged every month. “We’ve been using Sales Cloud since 2008 it’s fundamental to how we operate and grow our business,” says Jarrett.

As a major individual and group pension provider in the UK, Aegon has relationships with thousands of independent financial advisors and employers – all of which are tracked in Sales Cloud. Every interaction is also tracked and logged in real time with the Salesforce Mobile App, providing a full relationship history for more than 100,000 contacts. “People used to have to wait until they were back at their desks to update a customer record,” explained Jarrett. “Now they can do it the minute they leave a meeting.”

Driving the digital agenda

The 580-strong team consisting of sales and their supporting functions also uses Chatter, an enterprise social networking tool, to collaborate on new business leads. “Chatter has been a revolution for our sales people,” comments Grace. “They can share ideas and best practices, and get immediate answers from subject matter experts across the business.”

As a longstanding Salesforce customer, Aegon has been able to take advantage of a continuous cycle of innovation. "Regular updates mean regular new features for our users,” said Crosbie. “Salesforce’s innovative approach was one of the key things that attracted us in the first place.”

As Aegon continues to evolve Retiready and other digital initiatives, Salesforce will be a key enabler for both transformation and optimisation. “We are changing how we go to market. We’ve taken the best of Aegon and the best of Salesforce to deliver the best solutions for our customers,” concluded Crosbie.


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