NBN Co has reinforced its Salesforce stack to span seven “clouds” as it prepares to shift from a phase of customer acquisition to retention and growth of the “lifetime value” of customers to the company.
The network operator first revealed its use of Salesforce’s service and sales clouds back in 2016, and flagged an expansion into more parts of the vendor’s stack at the time.
Three years on, NBN Co has stood up an “omni-enabled ecosystem [in Salesforce] to better engage with and manage our customer experience and our core audiences,” general manager of digital and CRM Jo Beat told Salesforce’s Dreamforce 19 conference.
“When I talk about the ecosystem - or what I call my toolkit - I’ve got seven clouds that I can access to deliver some really important core capability for us at NBN Co,” Beat said.
“In the context of the experience at NBN Co, I have never in my entire career had a toolkit available to me as I do at NBN Co.
“And what it’s going to allow us to do more than anything else - of course profitability is a big driver - but it’s really for us all about transforming the customer experience so we truly understand who the customer is, what they want, and how they want to engage with us.”
Beat said that NBN Co needed to “absolutely maximise ARPU [average revenue per user]” as well as “retention and upsell opportunities” in partnership with its retail service providers (RSPs).
Its most recent Salesforce investments have been in Pardot for marketing automation, and Audience (which, until April this year, was known as data management platform or DMP).
“We’ve been able to centralise our marketing automation, lead nurture and analytics, which we’ve done via Pardot, which we’ve had in-market for the last 12 months,” Beat said.
“We’ve now got the ability to both score and grade leads, and that helps our sales organisation to more efficiently move their opportunities through the sales funnel.”
Beat also said the company is “six months into [its] journey with Audience Studio”.
“I affectionately call Audience Studio my unicorn, and the reason I say that is because we’re going to have this ability to accelerate our analytics,” she said.
“We’re already optimising our marketing spend and transforming the way that we think about communicating to the customer.”
Beat said this would translate into smarter spending on display advertising.
She said that NBN Co would use Audience Studio to talk to customers “at the right time”, using knowledge of prior interactions and campaign activity to work out when and how best to communicate.
Audience Studio “is going to be pivotal for us in the context for retention and growing the lifetime value of the customer,” Beat said.
In particular, it will be used to “understand episodes within each phase of the customer journey.”
“So as the customer becomes aware of NBN and is making decisions around what telco to go with etc. we’re then able to understand episodically within each phase what’s working and what isn’t, and do more of what is working and less of what isn’t,” Beat said.
“We now have the ability to access real-time customer sentiment, to look episodically at each stage of the customer journey, so that we can grow our customer satisfaction.”
Beat said that while she could not quote “specific numbers”, the company had seen a “marked improvement in customer satisfaction … right across the board” in its short time using the new tool.
Marketing cloud consolidation
Beat used the Dreamforce conference to present a roadmap of NBN Co’s continuing evolution of its marketing capabilities.
“The best way to read this is that the top line is our current capability, and through the centre row there [are] the platforms that we’ve integrated to, and down the bottom the capability that we have and are enabling,” she said.
“We’ve taken a very deliberate and incremental approach to the delivery of this capability.”
Beat flagged an upcoming transformation effort that will consolidate some legacy platforms and capabilities into Salesforce’s marketing cloud.
“By the end of this year we’re continuing our focus with marketing cloud and we’re going to transition a bunch of legacy platforms onto the marketing cloud to make it much simpler for us to communicate with our RSP partners and end customers,” she said.
Beat also shared some of the lessons learned from five years in the Salesforce ecosystem.
“I think if I had my time over again, one of the first things I would have done was to sat down with the IT organisation and, as a business owner, worked together to build governance and business processes,” she said.
“We’ve got that in play now but it took us a while and it meant that we lost a lot of efficacy along the way in terms of our original rollout of the sales and service cloud” - the first two Salesforce products that NBN Co used.
Beat also said that NBN Co had set internal limits to the amount of customisation that could be made to Salesforce.
“Customisation is the last resort,” she said.
“The whole premise of Salesforce is it’s based on components, it’s drag and drop. It does not need to be that hard, and you create a whole lot of unnecessary legacy through customisation.
“We’re very focused on that now and putting rigour and governance into those processes to make sure that we minimise customisation.
“Sometimes it’s necessary, but we’ve mandated no more than 10 percent of any implementation can be customised.”
Ry Crozier is attending Salesforce's Dreamforce 19 conference in San Francisco as a guest of Salesforce.