Technology is at the core of everything we do. But we’re not interested in building a technology function. We’re focused on providing capability, so our teams can jump in and build and test new things quickly.”

Dino Talic, Vice President of Product

What CIO? Salesforce capability trumps IT management

With Salesforce, Sydney-based online marketplace hipages’ marketing and engineering teams took charge of technology, empowering “growth teams” to achieve their goals, faster. hipages picked the future of the directory business and built it, developing an online marketplace for tradies.

Today, over one million Australian households visit hipages.com.au to source home improvement services. Site visitors lodge over 80,000 requests every month – approximately one request every 29 seconds. The 70,000 tradies who maintain a profile on hipages have over 110,000 recommendations.

Dino Talic, hipages Vice President of Product, puts his company’s success down to a programme of innovation centred on customer experience.

“Everything we do is about customer experience,” he said. “We make the whole experience of hiring a tradie as easy and frictionless as possible.”

Free to customers, hipages.com.au makes light work of finding the right tradie. Customers use the hipages smartphone app to post details of their project requirements. In quick order, hipages responds with three qualified providers, from which the customer chooses a winner. The platform also connects customers and providers via instant messaging, so they can arrange jobs and payment online.

An online application form kicks off a vetting and approval process for home improvement providers wanting to promote their services on hipages.com.au. Once accepted, providers pay a yearly subscription fee to manage and promote their online profiles and respond to customer leads.

hipages’ technology strategy delivers capabilities to business functions – marketing and product engineering. Salesforce lets them do it, paving the way for people across the organisation to test and validate platform changes and new services themselves.

Salesforce Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Marketing Cloud deliver capabilities that underpin customer experience and the wider hipages operation.

hipages sales agents use Sales Cloud to track and on-board home improvement providers, connecting email campaigns and responses with prompts and follow-up activity to close the deal and get new providers up and running quickly. Down the track, agents render quick views of platform activity, including job requests, messaging history, project completion (right down to specific tradies and their customers), and activity on individual service profiles – all good sales intelligence when the time comes to renew subscriptions.

Contact centre agents stay close to both customers and providers, using Service Cloud to manage enquires and issues that arise during project work. Nothing is overlooked and everyone’s voice is heard along the way.

Salesforce Service Cloud has simplified signup and vetting processes, with new tradies up and running within one hour of signup.

Marketing Cloud automates a huge volume of work, each week dispatching three million emails triggered by user behaviours, including newsletter subscriptions, when service providers satisfy on-boarding checkpoints, when consumers lodge feedback, and even when they’ve been inactive.

After Google AdWords and organic search, email is the biggest driver of new job enquiries. Each month 600,000 customers (around 70% of all hipages customers) will open at least two emails from hipages.

Smart integration feeds data between Google Analytics and Marketing Cloud, where number crunching maps job revenue with customer acquisition costs, highlighting necessary changes. Analysis also rates the performance of organic search and social channels, providing insights that steer search optimisation.

hipages also runs its general ledger and accounts payable on Salesforce, using AppExchange App Financial Force to invoice tradies and provide quick access to supplier accounts.

“We’re a tech business and need to test new things quickly,” Talic said. “Rather than build IT functions we develop capability that is distributed across the business, so people can jump in, add new fields and create new dashboards, without being obstructed by formal approval processes and waiting months for something to happen. Salesforce lets us do things quickly.”


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