Positive Lending Solutions (PLS) is an asset finance company that helps customers purchase vehicles for personal and commercial use. According to Tom Caesar, a Managing Director at PLS, one of the differentiating features of PLS is its ability to scan more than 30 different lenders and find each customer the deal that’s best for them.
To help customers, you first have to connect with them and this can be particularly difficult in the highly competitive finance industry. Positive customer relationships depends on trust and excellent service, especially when large sums of money are involved.
“We knew very early on that our survival as a business would depend on our ability to differentiate ourselves somehow,” says Caesar. “And so we decided to focus on offering better customer service than any of our competitors.”
At first, Caesar’s father and business partner, Mark Caesar, baulked at the idea of paying for a CRM solution. The company had been using Excel up to that point, which was a cumbersome but inexpensive solution. So Tom Caesar downloaded the free 30-day Salesforce trial. This quickly convinced his colleagues that Salesforce was the way to go.
Salesforce Service Cloud is now used by 33 of PLS’s 35-person team. Caesar says that it usually takes no more than a week for new staff members to master the program and, from that point on, the productivity benefits speak for themselves.
PLS’s sales revenue doubled in the month after it adopted Salesforce and even more striking is the fact that this phenomenal growth has continued. Positive Lending Solution’s revenue has doubled on average for each of the last four years, and Caesar anticipates 220 percent growth over the next year.
The real game changer, he says, is the way Salesforce allows the management team to see connections and correlations in their data for the first time. For example, Caesar ran a report that showed a clear correlation between the number of sales per sales team member and the number of outgoing phone calls. So, by setting higher targets for the number of phone calls, and relieving sales team members of administrative tasks, Caesar boosted sales results.
At the heart of PLS’s new approach to sales is its use of apps from the Salesforce AppExchange. Caesar is particularly enthusiastic about New Voice Media, an app that automatically schedule calls to new leads and record all interactions with them in Service Cloud cases.
“We can play real examples of successful and unsuccessful phone calls, which has transformed the way we train and review our staff,” he says.
As a result of this greater transparency, Caesar can encourage his sales team to adopt best practice scripts and strategies to help them reliably hit their targets. The average lead to settlement rate is 6.5 percent, he says, but the top sales people regularly hit 10 percent. Moreover, the lead-to-qualified rate is currently above 30 percent.
On average, salespeople are able to contact new leads from the website within 10 minutes.
“We want to automate more of our internal processes and get better at content marketing,” he says. “We’ll be relying on Salesforce to do it – which, of course, means I’m very confident we’ll succeed.”
Caesar talks enthusiastically about PLS’s new emphasis on social outreach. “One thing that really inspired me was the Salesforce 1:1:1 philanthropy program,” he says. The 1:1:1 model involves dedicating 1 percent of your company’s product, time and equity to improving the state of the world. “I decided to adopt a similar program at Positive Lending Solutions to really start making a difference in the community,” Caesar says.