Already Australasia’s largest apartment hotel brand with 150 properties, Quest Apartment Hotels is charting a path towards growth. It’s adding eight to ten properties to its portfolio each year and using Salesforce to accelerate sales and productivity. Its secret to sustaining momentum? Attracting and retaining corporate clientele.
“Corporate travellers comprise 75% of our guests so building relationships and selling to this demographic is key,” said Chris Watson, Head of IT, Quest Apartment Hotels. “Our challenge was that both our internal sales teams and our franchisees were targeting many of these same customers without sharing any insights.”
Quest needed a solution that would bring greater transparency and efficiency to the sales process. Salesforce was the answer. The initial deployment took just seven weeks, giving both internal sales and franchisees a central repository for tracking customer information – whether they’re in the office or on-the-go.
Each group of users has access to only the information it needs so teams can collaborate whilst also protecting their IP. For instance, franchisees may share some information with national accounts but keep their records private from competing franchisees. Chatter conversations, when made in the context of a specific record, are only visible to those with certain roles or assigned delegations.
Sales Cloud also gives sales and management a tool to track performance against activity-based KPIs. These include relationship building activities such as face to face meetings, proactive phone calls and site inspections – all of which are hard to measure without a robust way to manage customers.
Now, both sales and management have dashboards where they can review activity on a regular basis and ensure KPIs are being met. They can also compare activity against actual revenue to ensure it’s achieving the desired result. Measurement of the sales team and also the performance of Quest’s properties is much more precise. Management also has the data it needs to drive improvements.
Quest is building on the early success of the Salesforce implementation by migrating more of its business processes to the platform. The most significant of these is the tender management process which is used to manage an average of 300 tenders each year.
The previously manual process involved a single person from head office coordinating responses from up to 120 properties. Significant time was spent chasing information which was then captured in a series of emails and spreadsheets. The process was inefficient and overly reliant on one individual.
The process is now streamlined with tasks decentralised and automatically sent out across the network via Salesforce. Responses and data are also captured and validated within Salesforce with everyone involved having complete transparency into the process and results.
“We’re just in the early stages of the system being live and can see it has freed up one of our key resources by up to 20%. It has also eliminated the need for every property to create monthly reports as managers can go into Sales Cloud at any time to see how we’re progressing against each tender,” said Watson.
Recently, Quest has also moved the franchise recruitment process onto the Salesforce platform together with the management of the property development pipeline.
“By bringing more of our processes and data into Salesforce we can be much more strategic about our sales and operations. By embedding our property development pipeline into Sales Cloud, for example, we can start to talk to customers about their future needs and assess demand for particular locations,” said Watson.
“It’s really changing the way we work and powering a new level of success for our franchisees.”