First Mile


"Salesforce helps keep our numbers up with sharper sales and marketing."

- Joe Allen
 Head of Business Development

First Mile races ahead with better customer insights, greater collaboration and innovative sales app

First Mile makes recycling easy for more than 13,000 London businesses. So easy in fact that the company has doubled in size in the last three years.

“Our business is a numbers game, and Salesforce helps keep our numbers up,” explains Joe Allen, Head of Business Development at First Mile. “With Salesforce CRM, we can focus our time and effort on the right sales leads and the right customers.”

As a result, First Mile has been able to increase its sales conversion rate, improve customer retention and quadruple marketing ROI – all of which have helped it hit growth targets earlier than expected.

“Armed with Sales Cloud and our field sales app, we’re in a better position to bring in new business,” says Allen. “With detailed maps and real-time collaboration, our feet on the street can achieve more in less time.”

Waste not, want not

The company originally implemented Salesforce CRM in 2008 for lead management, and has since used Sales Cloud to tap into new functionality. “Sales Cloud has transformed how we manage leads and customer data,” reveals Allen. “Next on the list is how we deliver customer services.” Prior to its Salesforce CRM revolution, First Mile’s team of field agents were reliant on a manual and inconsistent approach to driving new business. “Lead information was scribbled on soggy bits of paper, which the office sales team had to qualify, prioritise and follow up,” explains Allen. “Leads that were not a priority in the short-term ended up in the bin rather than on a prospects’ list.”

Thanks to the new app, which is built on the Salesforce1 Platform, all this has changed. Lead qualification is more intelligent. Leaflet drops are more targeted. And customer information is more accurate. “Using the app, leads and contact details can be captured in real time and shared with the office-based team to follow up,” says Allen. “Field agents can even select a ‘warmness rating’ to show how hot a lead is.” Those prospects not ‘warm’ enough to warrant an immediate call-back are added to mailing lists, so no lead is wasted. “We’re generating up to four times as many leads from the same workload, which essentially quadruples the value of our marketing investment,” explains Allen.

The team can also check contact information, history, calendars and timetables from their iPads using the Salesforce1 Mobile App, which includes Salesforce Chatter, an enterprise social networking tool, is used to share pictures of potential new prospects. “It’s very obvious when a company hasn’t got their waste disposal right as there’ll be bags on the street – and that’s when we swoop in to offer our services,” explains Allen. “With better collaboration between field and office-based sales teams, we’re able to react faster.”

Better information, greater insight

The dashboards in Sales Cloud provide a top-level view of new sales and retention targets, which can be accessed anytime anywhere with the Salesforce1 Mobile App. “The dashboards make targets and trends more visible so we can track how each department is performing,” comments Allen. “This level of transparency supports our bottom-up approach to management – we want people to be autonomous and take responsibility for their own workload.” It also means First Mile can identify quiet periods for new business and schedule outbound marketing campaigns to keep lead volumes up.

Although more leads results in more business, they can also result in more complexity. As Allen explains: “With around 5,000 new leads a year from field agents plus 10,000s of company names that have been penalised for waste violations, we need to ensure our data is in order,” affirms Allen.

Thanks to apps from the Salesforce AppExchange, data is now de-duplicated as it is inputted, which means all information relating to the same customer is captured in the same record.

“We now have all the information we need on a single page. This enables us to score leads more accurately and massively improves the user experience for our sales people,” adds Allen.

Winning and retaining more customers

First Mile is also using Salesforce CRM to improve the experience for its thousands of customers

“We’ve set up an automated customer profiling feature in Sales Cloud, which means companies are classified according to spend, rather than by guesswork,” explains Allen. “This means we can ensure they are on the right mailing lists and get the right level of support.”

First Mile tracks every email sent to every customer along with its status, and uses this information to increase customer retention.

“Lots of our customers are in the retail sector with a high staff turnover,” explains Allen. “A change in manager can mean loss of business for us. When we receive an email bounce back or a customer unsubscribes from a mailing list, it acts as an alarm bell and we get on the phone to find out why.”

First Mile hopes to bring similar visibility and agility to its customer service team by deploying Service Cloud and establishing an online community. “We’re dealing with around 320 customer requests a day,” reveals Allen. “By driving these through a dedicated community platform we’ll not only improve the customer experience but also massively enhance efficiency.”

First Mile is continuing on its journey with more changes on the horizon, including building a public knowledge base using Desk.com to allow customers and the public to easily access information about its services and recycling.

“With Salesforce, when we need to change anything we can do it in a few days instead of a few months. It has brought greater flexibility, visibility and efficiency to our business,” concludes Allen.

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