EFG Companies - Communications Department of the Year

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2016, Click to Enter The 2017 Stevie Awards for Sales and Customer service

Company: EFG Companies, Irving, Texas
Company Description: As the innovators of the award-winning Hyundai-Assurance program, EFG Companies brings more than 40 years of industry-leading consumer & vehicle protection programs to the retail automotive market. EFG's commitment to superior client engagement is delivered through a proprietary portfolio of products & services that increase penetration, fortify compliance, and drive maximum F&I profitability.
Nomination Category: Corporate Communications, Investor Relations, & Public Relations Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Communications Department of the Year

Nomination Title: What does communication have to do with revenue, acquisitions, and efficiency?

Tell the story about what this nominated department achieved since January 1, 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

In 2016, EFG’s communications department took the company beyond expectations in generating new revenue, client acquisitions, and efficiency through both internal and external initiatives.

Early in 2016, the department kicked off a segmented market campaign targeting auto dealers in an effort to drive account acquisitions. The campaign was designed to drive awareness of the proven and empirical profitability that they could experience with EFG. This campaign included the implementation of an inside sales position within the communications department to drive all outbound follow-up efforts to set meetings with target dealerships.

The marketing campaign targeted underserved geographic areas, namely tier 2 and 3 markets, with more than 70 touchpoints/dealership over a six-month period. This campaign included email, direct mail, thought-leadership blog, premium drops, and concentrated public relations. It leveraged industry analysis, thought leadership, statistics, and data pulled from EFG’s client base to provide target dealers business metrics as to why they should switch to EFG. EFG’s communications department generated $750,000 of annualized company revenue in newly-signed dealership accounts.

The department also established the company’s War Room as part of its efforts to gather competitive intelligence, foster greater competition within EFG’s sales representatives, and serve as the headquarters for account acquisitions effort. The dedicated room houses a library of industry publications and analyst resources, research and comparisons on EFG competitors, as well as a 12-foot national map showing competitor headquarters and new account acquisition locations. This provides a snapshot of EFG’s ongoing sales efforts, and helps the sales team gain a better understanding of where the company is competitively superior. It also gives them momentum to challenge each other to beat sales objectives.

The industry in which EFG operates is highly regulated, and the company needed a more sophisticated and easily referenceable manner to ensure compliance with all federal, state and local regulations. EFG’s communications department led an inter-departmental initiative to compile, and create where necessary, all corporate documentation on more than 130 operating processes. This included auditing all processes, charting visual flows and source materials, collecting all licenses and contracts from both EFG and its vendor network. Now, this comprehensive compliance blueprint exists electronically in modular form, and is accessible and referenceable by any department or client.

The department also led an online billing campaign to transition clients to paperless billing. This included a communication and incentive campaign, video training for EFG clients, as well as an internal communications campaign with EFG’s field sales force and accounting department. By transitioning clients to online billing, EFG drove efficiency in lowering accounts receivables, reducing days outstanding, and decreasing hard costs, resource consumption, and error rate of printing and mailing paper bills with an estimated savings of close to $20,000/year.

The department also architected and managed EFG’s continuous improvement initiative to give contract holders a voice. This initiative included email, direct mail, incentive contests, and telecommunications efforts for consumers to provide feedback about their experience with EFG’s products and claims adjudication. This effort ensures that customer issues are heard and resolved, while at the same time providing important feedback for product development, claims administration, as well as EFG’s field team to ensure client training on the proper sale of EFG’s products. The campaign diffused the majority of negative customer situations and generated close to 100 five-star Google reviews. This initiative also developed a built-in focus group pool of more than 1,000 willing consumers for EFG to access in the future.

Building on the department’s earlier compliance efforts, the department launched EFG’s Common Sense Compliance® consulting practice. Compliance is a top three stay-awake issue for the executives within EFG’s client base. This included developing all collateral, initiating a marketing campaign with public relations, thought leadership, direct marketing, social media, and video components. The practice was augmented with a podcast series and a library of webinar compliance courses. The new consulting practice was successfully sold into EFG’s largest client within 2 weeks following the launch.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) of the chief accomplishments of this nominated department since the beginning of 2016 (up to 150 words).

-Created a sales culture focused on client acquisitions through inside sales position within the marketing department, an external marketing campaign, and the implementation of the War Room, generating $750,000 of annualized company revenue.
-Drove efficiency in lowering accounts receivable, reducing the amount of late payments, and decreasing the hard costs of printing and mailing paper bills by $15,000/year.
-Developed new revenue stream with the launch of EFG’s compliance line of business.
-Cultivated a focus group pool of more than 1,000 EFG customers from across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, and generated 100 5-star Google reviews.
-Equipped EFG’s sales force with a comprehensive compliance platform, significantly impacting closing rates.
-Created a new stream of revenue with Common Sense Compliance® consulting practice and sold it into EFG’s largest client.