[Interview] How Thélem Assurances is extending the use of geo-marketing within its network

 Jan 29, 2021

For years, Thélem Assurances has relied on geo-marketing for agency location and to analyze its network’s activity. Flora Sellini, responsible for statistics at the network’s Administration department, explains to us the resources sales management is deploying to step up the use of geo-marketing and make it easier to access high value-added geographical information for developing its sales networks.

In 2019, Thélem Assurances decided to change its geo-marketing tool. What prompted this change?

Up until then, we were working with a publisher who supplied us with the geo-marketing software while also creating our “geo-marketing atlas”, a web tool cataloguing the location of our 820 agencies, brokers, customers, as well as the agencies’ prospecting areas, and the territorial grid of the various partners with which we work, for example vehicle repairers.

This atlas was hosted with the publisher and was only updated once a year. At the end of the year, certain data items were almost 12 months old and these annual updates involved sending large volumes of data. As we were getting to the end of our contract with this publisher, we thought about the role we wanted to give geo-marketing, and specifically this atlas. 4 prerequisites critical to the selection of a new solution emerged from this exercise:

  • Securing our data with on-site hosting;
  • A stand-alone capability for updating tools;
  • Defining and creating our indicators ourselves;
  • Having a more agile solution for publishing our studies.

What ultimately swung the balance in GEOCONCEPT's favor?

Of the 4 publishers we spoke to, we selected 2, including GEOCONCEPT, which addressed our prerequisites with a solution combining the Geoconcept Sales & Marketing software for geo-marketing, and Geoconcept Web for publishing. In addition to the assurance that we would be able to recover everything that had been done in the previous tool, GEOCONCEPT enabled us to sustain and enhance our atlas, modify it as we saw fit, and create our own data marts for populating it. It is not yet the case but ultimately the objective is monthly, automatic updating of the atlas.

What we liked most about GEOCONCEPT was the ability, with Geoconcept Sales & Marketing, to create comprehensive reports and largely automate their updating. We use these capabilities for the Panorama Agences (Agencies Overview), a document which until now had been created using word processing software and published in hard copy. There was only one edition of it covering the entire network, but we are now going to be able to break it down by region and give it wider distribution in PDF format.

Who uses Geoconcept Sales & Marketing and Geoconcept Web in your organization?

Geoconcept Sales & Marketing is very accessible but remains a tool for experts, which is why it is all the more relevant for the user to be well versed in statistics, database management and graphical semiology. We have two licenses in the network’s Administration department where it is used to produce both recurring analyses and ad hoc studies as requested by the assessors. The actuarial department also has a license for performing its own analyses – for product pricing, for example. The number of direct users is therefore limited, but Geoconcept Web enables us to distribute the Geoconcept Sales & Marketing output far more widely.

Today, around 30 sales management staff have access to Geoconcept Web: the sales director, the various departmental managers, and the 15 sales assessors responsible for supporting agency development. They use it either to perform preliminary analyses before meeting an agent in the field, or by logging directly onto the atlas when they are in the agency. Pre-recorded queries make it very easy for them to display the customer portfolio of the selected agency, the various customer types – individuals, professionals, farmers – as well as the socio--demographic data of the constituent municipalities of the agency’s “ZPP”, namely its priority prospecting area.

What are these priority prospecting areas? How are they defined and updated?

The ZPP is the equivalent of a catchment area. Usually, it is a cluster of contiguous municipalities, defined when the agency was set up, from data enabling potential turnover to be evaluated: the number of inhabitants, homes, primary residences, the number of people of working age between 15 and 64, the unemployment rate, social catchments, etc. The ZPP is an integral part of the mandate that the agent signs with Thélem Assurances. That does not mean that the agent will not accept customers outside the municipalities in his ZPP.

In large towns and cities, when the population is sufficiently large for two agencies to be able to develop without competing with one another, the municipality is developed on a joint basis, without any territorial segmentation between the agencies.

When an agency is taken over by a new agent, the ZPP can be adjusted. Typically, it can be extended to incorporate an adjacent municipality where the agency does indeed have a significant number of customers. We ensure that the ZPPs are the closest possible match with actual customer portfolios. Previously, these adjustments and updates were managed manually, in an Excel spreadsheet. To simplify the process, we asked GEOCONCEPT to develop a specific tool for us. It will enable the assessors to use Geoconcept Web to create new ZPPs by selecting municipalities on the screen on the one hand and, on the other hand, to adjust existing ZPPs. The changes will be saved in a specific database and will be automatically integrated with the atlas.

What queries are available via Geoconcept Web?

As yet, there are only barely ten or so, but because we can create them ourselves, they will increase. For the time being, as I said, the assessors can display an agency’s customers on the map and refine this view by customer type. You can display an individual assessor’s agencies and perform an analysis to optimize travel time. As for the sales director, he can display the different types of agency within the network: agencies managed by the assessors because they are waiting for someone to take them over, newly created or acquired agencies, etc. In addition to Thélem Assurances’ own data, users obviously have access to each municipality’s socio-demographic data. We are talking about Insee data, provided by GEOCONCEPT with the solution.

What is your assessment of this first year of using the GEOCONCEPT solution? And what are the next steps?

It was a year of giving things up and running and our assessment is very positive with the geo-marketing atlas being got on-line, the creation of the Panorama Agences document, assisted by the GEOCONCEPT team, the imminent delivery of the ZPP adjustment tool and soon, the tool enabling assessors to rationalize their sectors and travel.

From my perspective, the major benefit is that, in Geoconcept Web, the queries are under our control. I can create as many as I like and provide them to users. It is a flexibility I did not previously have, and which is very much appreciated. For example, if an assessor needs to perform a particular analysis, I can quickly provide him with exactly the query that matches his request, and which he will be able to use as he likes to support an agency creation or activity review dossier. The assessors have only had access to Geoconcept Web for a few weeks, but when I trained them in its use, they immediately appreciated its intuitive nature, as well as the ability to save their analyses and generate PDFs with just one click the mouse.

As for Geoconcept Sales & Marketing, I am not yet fully independent, mainly because geo-marketing is only one part of what I do. So, I am gradually exploring the tool’s many capabilities and, in the event of difficulty, the GEOCONCEPT teams are always available and responsive.

Be that as it may, with these two complementary software tools, we now have a comprehensive solution which will enable us to ramp up geo-marketing in 2021. I do not doubt that in discovering the tool’s capabilities, the sales assessors and other sales management departments will increasingly request ad hoc studies and will want to integrate the geographical and cartographic dimension into their analyses. As for me, I have long been convinced that a map is invariably more impactful than an Excel table, and not only for those who are uncomfortable with statistics!

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