An Interview conducted by Emily Miller, Marketing Account Manager – Products & Services at Allied Solutions, LLC.
On August 4, 2014 Pentagon Federal Credit Union, the third largest credit union in the United States, announced its partnership with DocuSign, Inc. to offer Digital Transaction Management (DTM) to their members. Allied Solutions, LLC is one of the largest providers of insurance, lending, and marketing products to financial institutions in the US and is partnered with both DocuSign and Pentagon Federal. As Senior Vice President of the Northeast Region at Allied Solutions, Fred Caprio played an integral role in this new partnership between Pentagon Federal and DocuSign. Emily Miller, Marketing Account Manager of Products & Services at Allied Solutions, LLC interviewed Caprio to find out the history behind how this contract came to be. Here were his responses:
Q: Fred, on behalf of the Allied Solutions Marketing & Communications Team, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today. Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background at Allied Solutions.
A: Sure! I began my career in sales at Minnesota Mutual in 1985. After four years, I was promoted to Regional Manager, and I was again promoted to Senior Vice President (SVP) of the Northeast Region in 1999. I became the SVP of the Northeast Region at Allied Solutions, following the company’s acquisition by Securian in 2004. I love my job and pride myself in my work, and I am constantly striving to push myself to be the best salesperson I can be.
Q: When did you become aware of DocuSign’s Digital Transaction Management (DTM) platform?
A: I was first introduced to the DocuSign e-signature software back in 2008 at an Allied SVP planning session. I was immediately interested in the product.
Q: What is your relationship with Pentagon Federal?
A: My relationship with PenFed goes back to 2002 when they became a client of mine at Minnesota Mutual. They have remained a client of mine through the company’s organizational restructures and acquisition of Allied Solutions, and I made my first sale with them as an official Allied employee in 2004. One of the wonderful things that has come out of the strong relationship that Allied and I have built with PenFed is it has allowed me to tap them as a resource for honest feedback about new products available to the financial marketplace.
Q: That really is wonderful to have such a solid relationship with a credit union of their magnitude. Can you tell me what inspired you to introduce PenFed to the DocuSign product and how you went about doing so?
A: After I heard about DocuSign’s e-signature software in 2008, I felt strongly that this was a great product and I wanted to get the word out to our clients about this product. I spoke with the Northeast Regional Sales Director at DocuSign and encouraged him to host a webinar with our client PenFed, speaking on the power of the digital signature. I told him it would be worth his while, since PenFed was always open to hearing about new, innovative products, and he agreed that he thought this was a worthwhile venture. So he and I worked together to prepare the first client-hosted webinar in Allied Solutions history. I invited the Executive Vice President (EVP) of Operations at PenFed to attend this webinar. Though she was impressed with the technology, she stated that PenFed was not interested in partnering with DocuSign, since they were looking into developing their own internal data processing profile and DTM software.
Q: How did you proceed after hearing that Pentagon Federal didn’t have a need for DocuSign’s DTM platform since they were planning on building e-signature software of their own?
A: I have a motto- If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again. So that’s exactly what I did. I have meetings every 90 days with my contacts at PenFed to discuss their needs and introduce new Allied product offerings. Since the webinar in 2008, I have continued to bring up DocuSign as a beneficial product offering for PenFed at each of these quarterly meetings. They continued to tell me they were going to build their own e-signature program, but since they hadn’t officially released this software, I continued to offer DocuSign as an external resource for the DMT software.
Q: So even though they continued to say they didn’t have a need for this product, you continued to give them reasons why they did. That is committed salesmanship. How did you finally break through to Pentagon Federal?
A: In 2011 PenFed hired a new EVP of IT, and one of his initiatives was to completely rebuild their loan origination system and loan recapture software. This program would, of course, need to have an e-signature capability, which they hadn’t built, so I seized the renewed opportunity to push hard for them to partner with DocuSign. The EVP stated that they did indeed needed to have the e-signature capability for their new software and, as they were no longer going to build this internally, he was interested in finding out more specifics about DocuSign’s version of this product. I knew in that moment that my commitment to selling PenFed this product had finally paid off! At the end of 2013, the EVP shared with me his desire to purchase this product, and 90 days later he was ready with a plan to present to PenFed’s Executive Team. Low and behold, the presentation proved to be a success, and PenFed agreed on a 4-year, multi-million dollar contract with DocuSign.
Q: That is amazing! Fred, thank you so much for sharing your inspirational success story. As a takeaway from this whole experience, what message do you have for other salesmen out there to help them persevere?
A: If a client says ‘no’ to a product you offer, hold your head high and feel good about the fact that you asked. My belief is that a salesperson should offer anything and everything that would be a worthwhile investment for a client. I’ll take ‘no’ all day long, but I won’t accept when a client says, ‘I didn’t know your company offered a product that did that.’ If somebody says that to me, I have failed as a salesman.
Fred Caprio started as a salesperson at Minnesota Mutual in 1985. He worked his way up to the position of Senior Vice President of the Northeast Region in 1999, and remained in this role at Allied Solutions, LLC following Allied’s acquisition by Securian. Caprio has been a Board Director for the PenFed Foundation since 2005, where he now serves as Vice Chairman of the Board. He also serves as the Chair of the Grants and Programs Committee at the Maryland and DC Credit Union Foundation, where he has been a Board Director since 2010.