Commerce Payment Systems, a Long Island-based ISO, has found a way to close 30% more deals and cut costs at the same time.

The ISO is achieving those results with the help of IRIS, which stands for “Integrated Reporting is Simple,” says CPS CEO Michael Mendlowitz. The company also goes by the name IRIS -

Its product handles customer relationship management in the sales process, streamlines back-office functions and guides cutomer service, according to Dimitri Akhrin, president of New York-based IRIS.

Mendlowitz and Akhrin “found each other” two years ago, as Mendlowitz describes it.

“I took all my experience on the CRM side, and he took his experience on the credit card processing side and we were really able to come together and build something unique,” Mendlowitz recalls.

An inside sales staff of 25 employees closes 90% of the ISO’s deals, and Mendlowitz and Akhrin worked six months or so to customize the system for the way CPS operates.

Before that, CPS handled CRM by combining two CRM tools, Salesforce and Act! by Sage. They’re both excellent, but neither is designed specifically for ISOs, Mendlowitz says.

“They might be good for your sales reps to use to follow up on contacts and schedule sales calls, but anything that relates specifically to the credit card processing industry is going to be a difficult fit,” he says.“Like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.”

His company tested an ISO-specific CRM product for a couple of months and found it so lacking that Mendlowitz doesn’t even want to mention its name.

Now, with IRIS, CPS practices “lead nurturing,” systematically shepherding a lead from generation to close. When a lead “comes in the door,” it’s categorized as hot, warm or cold.

Strong, automated email systems follow up with the lead, Mendlowitz says. ”That’s crucial,” he notes.

Prospect phone calls are scheduled on a calendar-based system similar to Outlook. It includes notes that help close the sale, like the merchant’s sister’s birthday or the fact he has two dogs,

“Sales is not just about great rates,” Mendlowitz cautions. “There’s a human dimension and the more information you have, the better off you’ll be.”

Outside sales reps have logins that enable them to monitor the sales process and track residuals. IRIS parses the raw residuals data and presents it clearly, he says.

Next comes the sign-up process, which IRIS facilitates by integrating digital signature technology from EchoSign.

“They can sign it online while you’re on the phone with them through a couple clicks of their mouse” instead of wading through a slow faxing process, Mendlowitz says.

After the sale, IRIS focuses on the assembly line of back-end workflow management.

First, the merchant’s application goes to the underwriting department to make sure the business is credit-worthy and offers products or services the ISO deems appropriate. At CPS, that now takes only a couple of hours.

Next comes building the profile and assigning an MID, or merchant identification number, and connecting that number to the processor.  For many ISOs, that takes a lot of data entry, templates and uploads. Instead, IRIS pushes the information that’s in the CRM through the process about four to five times faster than the usual 20 minutes, Mendlowitz says.

The deployment center then builds and downloads the terminal profile to new hardware or helps reprogram equipment on hand. Then the shipping department sends the terminal out the door to the merchant.

Later, IRIS enables support people to call up information on merchants. It also supports a help-desk ticketing system that enables all of the ISO’s departments to collaborate with each other and the merchant.

Mendlowitz believes the system will continue to improve because IRIS issues updates. “The sky’s the limit,” he says


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