Criterion Conferences

Salesforce has helped bring our sales and marketing teams together to deliver better outcomes for our customers. This has increased our revenue from delegates 25% YoY.”

Andrew Savage | Co-Managing Director, Criterion Conferences


Campaign ROI


Reduction in cost per lead


Criterion Conferences connects sales and marketing to power 25% growth

Starting out in 2009, Criterion Conferences has grown to a team of 70+ employees and hosts dozens of conferences each year right across Australia. Its conferences are well researched to address the issues organisations are facing right now and feature an impressive calibre of speakers. What really sets Criterion apart though is that it focuses on solving issues rather than pitching products — something that’s helped the business win loyalty among businesses and consumers.

Criterion has partnered with Salesforce to build on this advantage by attracting even more delegates to its conferences and engaging with them more effectively throughout the customer journey. The company has now aligned sales and marketing on a single platform and transformed internal collaboration, enabling it to increase conference registrations and revenue.

“We chose to partner with Salesforce as it allowed us to connect sales and marketing on one platform and also in part because we share the same values when it comes to giving back to the community,” said Andrew Savage, Co-Managing Director, Criterion Conferences. “Our conferences empower the exchange of information that helps attendees drive their organisations forward, and many of these are designed for industries that are there for the social good, including schools and not-for-profits.”

Salesforce underpins digital and cultural transformation

Before Criterion introduced Salesforce, sales and marketing teams worked off a homegrown CRM and used a separate system for email marketing. They had to export and import data between systems using CSV files. This led to duplication of data and a fragmented view of their customers and leads, limiting Criterion’s ability to engage in a meaningful and effective way.

On top of its technology challenges was a larger barrier to success: Criterion’s sales and marketing teams were working in silos and chasing their own revenue.

“The initial purpose of bringing in Salesforce was to transform our systems, but we soon realised the potential to transform our culture and really integrate these two teams which had essentially been competing with one another in the past,” said Savage.

Criterion has now replaced disparate systems and processes with Sales Cloud and Pardot. This has brought the sales and marketing teams into total alignment and supercharged their ability to nurture leads and keep customers engaged.

“Salesforce has helped bring our sales and marketing teams together to deliver better outcomes for our customers. This has increased our revenue from delegates 25% YoY,” said Savage.

Criterion drives faster engagement and 4x marketing ROI

One of Criterion’s differentiators is the currency of its conference topics. This requires it to curate and produce events in real-time and, using Salesforce, it can secure attendees and sponsors just as fast.

Pardot has made a huge difference in this regard by allowing Criterion to build out customer personas and prioritise which to target for each conference. For instance, with multiple models for lead scoring, Criterion can automatically determine which organisations and individuals should be invited to attend or sponsor.

Using Engagement Studio, the marketing team can then build campaigns that take potential delegates on a journey over a period of weeks. One thing that’s helped boost the effectiveness of campaigns is integration between Pardot and Zapier from the AppExchange. This allows Criterion to pull in lead data from LinkedIn which can be used to tailor campaigns.

“Our cost per lead was previously $300 and that’s gone right down to $40, and we’re experiencing 4x ROI on campaigns. We couldn’t have achieved this without Pardot,” said Savage.

New tools and data to empower Sales

While an increasing number of leads are converting directly from campaigns, there’s many more going through the funnel to the Sales team. Engagement Studio simplifies the handoff of leads from Marketing to Sales by automatically assigning them to a sales rep at a predetermined point in their journey.

Using Sales Cloud, one of the first things reps do is check whether their assigned leads are being targeted for any other Criterion conferences. The company runs multiple conferences at any given time and having a single customer view in Salesforce helps avoid multiple reps reaching out to the same person at once.

Sales Cloud also provides reps with important insights into the customer to help them sell smarter. This includes information on previous Criterion conferences they’ve attended or enquired about.

“The sales team feels much more empowered with greater visibility of leads and how they’re interacting with us already. They also absolutely love Salesforce Engage as it allows them to send personalised emails and directly track their effectiveness,” said Savage.

Once leads are converted to delegates, Criterion uses Salesforce to automate emails designed to engage and prepare them for their upcoming conference. This includes offers for add-ons like workshops.

These communications were manual in the past and would contain different messages and different branding. Now, everything is seamless.

Extending automation and collaboration

Criterion is now extending the use of Salesforce to improve collaboration across other departments and manage different aspects of conference production, including interactions with speakers. Criterion has also brought its accounting team onto Salesforce using Accounting Seed from the Salesforce AppExchange.

Savage said that managing all of these activities on the same platform not only improved collaboration, but gave management the information it needed to make better decisions and grow the business.

“The flexibility of Salesforce has allowed us to keep evolving its use across our business and add more value to our customers and to more of our departments,” said Savage. “It really is second to none.”


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