An Interview with Yamini Bhat

I chatted with Yamini Bhat, founder and CEO of Vymo, which just raised $22 million in Series C funding for its software that helps sales teams in financial services improve their productivity. 

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ITL:

What is the big problem you’re seeing that you're attacking on behalf of insurance agents and brokers?

Yamini Bhat:

Many of the sales tools out there are built keeping the carrier in mind and aren’t really built with the seller in mind as the central user. So, an agent, wholesaler or a broker needs to touch at least six, sometimes 10, different systems to get their work done well – systems from which they get marketing collateral, manage their own learning and development, track their compensation, do their goal planning, etc., as well as systems that track if any of their customers or relationships have had any service issues.

You have tens of these scenarios within a day. The massive challenge for an agent or a broker, who has maybe 500 relationships, is tracking what's happening across eight to 10 systems, and then trying to be most effective within the limited time that they have.

So, the problem we are targeting is seller productivity.

ITL:

How do you attack that issue? I assume you pull everything together from multiple systems into some sort of dashboard.

Bhat:

The baseline is pulling everything together. But to be able to do it intelligently requires a couple of things to happen.

One is that you have to create a view of what should matter most to agents and brokers, without the need for them to have to stitch together context across systems. So, we have playbooks for scenarios like P&C selling or renewals, brokerage for commercial lines of a certain type or life or retirement or group benefits.

The second thing is, our system learns across multiple sellers, almost 250,000 sellers across eight countries, to identify what behaviors have had the most impact in certain contexts. You figure out what the top 5% are doing that the others could also manage behaviorally: frequency of engagement, how agents nurture their customers, how they build relationships, etc.

Third, a lot of the understanding of customer needs sits in the agent’s head post meeting. Finding an easy way for them to capture and use this information via seamlessly integrating it with wider data sets for learning and guidance on next best actions is crucial.

ITL:

What sorts of suggestions pop up for an agent using your system?

Bhat:

All of this would translate into: Paul, you have three hours this morning before your first meeting at 12. Here are seven calls you could make in the three hours before that. Call No. 2 is because your customer Charlie is coming up for renewal within 65 days. Why is that recommendation coming up now? Because, for that product line and this geography, we have seen that anyone who's done more than 95% renewal rates on their customers has gotten in touch with their customer for annual renewal 45 to 65 days beforehand, not plus or minus seven days, as is the typical playbook.

The tool might also say, Hey, because your 12 o'clock meeting is in midtown, here is someone within five minutes of where you’re going whom you haven’t spoken to in six months, who has a particular problem and whom you might be able to upsell. So, click here to send a message and see if that person will meet with you.

Even the best salesperson can plan actively and be extremely productive and intelligent, probably for one of the five days of the week. But they're not continuously planning. That’s near impossible because they're spending a lot of time in front of the customer.

Our users spend an average of 60 minutes a day on our platform, but not all at once, like they’re sitting in front of a system. They interact with our app 10 or 12 times a day, in bursts of four or five minutes.

ITL:

What makes a system like yours possible now, as opposed to a few years ago?

Bhat:

Customer expectations have changed. Any financial adviser is now expected to cover multiple products, almost to be a risk and asset allocation consultant. An agent today, vs. five years ago, has to understand a much broader range of customer needs and be able to position a lot more products.

COVID has meant that customers are also becoming much more familiar with a digital way of doing business. It's much more important now for them to be served on time, contextually, rather than have a longstanding relationship. When I have this pain point, who can serve me now?

So, you have the agent in an increasingly complex world, trying to serve a customer across their portfolio of needs right at the moment when the customer might need help. Agents need to be able to draw on multiple companies and be able to engage with their systems to get the right information at the right time. Magnify that complexity by 500 relationships an agent might hold, and the need for a system like ours is clear.

ITL:

This is great. Thanks.


Paul Carroll

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Paul Carroll

Paul Carroll is the editor-in-chief of Insurance Thought Leadership.

He is also co-author of A Brief History of a Perfect Future: Inventing the Future We Can Proudly Leave Our Kids by 2050 and Billion Dollar Lessons: What You Can Learn From the Most Inexcusable Business Failures of the Last 25 Years and the author of a best-seller on IBM, published in 1993.

Carroll spent 17 years at the Wall Street Journal as an editor and reporter; he was nominated twice for the Pulitzer Prize. He later was a finalist for a National Magazine Award.

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