In 1926, five Italian brothers – Alfieri, Bindo, Carlo, Ettore and Ernesto Maserati – developed a sports car that bore their name and won the Targa Florio, an open-road endurance race held in the mountains of Sicily. The Maserati brand continued to grow, and it’s now synonymous with luxury, taste and affluence.
For a long time the company’s growth was confined to Western markets. That all changed in 2003 with the first office in China.
For Shanghai Maserati, the stage was set for the type of success its founders had enjoyed in the Targa Florio in 1926. When William Pan joined Maserati China as its Head of CRM in 2013, the company was at a crossroads. The prestige car market, booming in the previous decade, showed signs of winding down.
The team needed to shift gears. At the executive level, it meant changing the way it collected and used information about customers. “We needed to know much more about who was buying our cars and why,” says Pan. “That way, we’d be able to run targeted campaigns, manage promotional events effectively and drive up sales.”
A new approach to customer management would also help employees in Maserati China dealerships to be more successful.
Pan was looking for a platform that he and his colleagues could use to communicate more effectively with customers and turn the information they received into deeper engagements.
“We had 30 dealerships spread across China, so we knew the only way to reach them and stay in step would be through a scalable, cloud-based solution.”
A 20 user pilot of Sales Cloud in its main Shanghai office, received an overwhelmingly positive response and the prestige car manufacturer was on its way to growing its China business.
Salesforce services team stood shoulder to shoulder with the China business to see through a full-scale rollout, with training delivered in Chatter communities and in face-to-face workshops.
Salesforce Sales Cloud is now used by 446 of Maserati China’s employees and their dealers, on all devices. This lets the entire team dig into data, execute tasks and transact everything they would previously have done from a desktop on their mobiles too.
In 2012, Maserati China sold an average of 300 cars per year. Last year, it sold 7,000 cars.
“The growth of our company has been phenomenal,” says Pan. “We’ve gone from being Maserati’s fifth most profitable global division to its second in just three years. During the same period, our number of leads in Sales Cloud has quadrupled to more than 100,000.”
Chew Chee Wee is the General Manager of Yite Automotives in Shanghai and one of Maserati China’s most successful dealers. With Salesforce, he can now communicate more deeply with customers than ever before.
This is largely down to Maserati China’s integration of WeChat with Salesforce. Mobile chat application WeChat is used by almost 450 million people in China – virtually everybody over the age of 15.
“Salesforce lets me talk directly with new customers via WeChat, which is quicker than email and phone. But more importantly, it’s how people want to communicate.” says Wee.
“It used to take a few days to get approval of ideas for car delivery ceremonies and other events,” says Wee. “Now I can send photos to the Maserati Shanghai office and receive feedback in less than a day.”