Sphere Drones

Connecting our business on Salesforce has delivered game changing efficiency. We can collaborate more easily and focus on innovation rather than manual process.”

Paris Cockinos | Managing Director of Sphere Drones
 
 

20%

Reduced application delivery time

 

Sphere Drones scales family business to new heights

Sphere Drones is the newest arm of a third-generation family business that has continually reinvented itself to provide customers with the latest high-tech innovations. The business started out with a focus on two-way radios before expanding into more tailored communication systems for industries like aviation and security. Sphere Drones was launched in 2012 and has come to be regarded as one of Australia’s leading authorities on drone applications and operations. 

Paris Cockinos, Managing Director of Sphere Drones, said each generation had nurtured and added something new to the business his grandfather first started. “Our focus now is to stay at the forefront of our industry. Salesforce connects the dots between the different parts of our business and provides a backbone for growth.” 

Unified platform paves way for growth

As the entire Sphere Group expanded and its customer-base opened up to areas like mining and emergency services, Cockinos wanted to evolve the customer experience and make it consistent across brands. 

“In the past, each of our businesses had different processes and there was no standard experience for customers wanting to engage with us as a whole. We often didn’t even know if a customer was interacting with more than one business,” said Cockinos. “We wanted to turn this around and improve collaboration across our different businesses and different departments.” 

The business made the decision to connect its entire business on Salesforce, providing it with a 360 degree view of customers and helping it to better manage the customer lifecycle. 

“As a small business we were cautious about overextending ourselves, but it was easy to see huge value in having a single platform to manage sales, service and marketing,” said Cockinos. “This was proven just six months later when we had our best quarter ever with 25% growth.”  

Streamlining the customer experience

Salesforce is now the backbone of Sphere Drone’s operations, helping it to work smarter and faster while providing a consistent customer experience across all touchpoints. Sales Cloud provides a single view of each customer and is used to manage the customer lifecycle. Integrated with Pardot, it helps the business segment its audiences and be much more effective in educating and engaging customers.

“Pardot has been especially helpful in tracking and optimising campaigns on our owned channels. The  next step will be for us to connect this with our paid channels like Google AdWords so that we can improve lead attribution and further optimise our activities,” said Hannah Anastasiou, Product Marketing Specialist at Sphere Drones. 

Service Cloud contributes to a more consistent, streamlined customer experience by providing agents with visibility into all previous customer interactions and automating workflow. For instance, customers can simply fill in an online form or call to raise a repair or maintenance request, and cases are automatically routed to the right agent. Additionally, if a customer calls wanting to learn more about a new drone, the agent can look up the details in Knowledge Base and answer the customer’s questions immediately. 

The business has further streamlined its operations by taking advantage of apps from the AppExchange. This includes Conga Composer which has made it easier and faster to deliver consistent proposals. 

“Connecting our business on Salesforce has delivered game changing efficiency. We can collaborate more easily and focus on innovation rather than manual process,” said Cockinos.

Steering success

The data provided by Salesforce has also helped Cockinos to confidently steer the business in a new direction and expand from selling and servicing drones to helping customers manage their end-to-end drone operations. Central to this is a new platform called Curo. 

Sphere Drones built the platform on Heroku in order to leverage and extend on its data and workflows in Salesforce and this helped speed up the delivery of the platform by approximately 20%. Curo was launched in July 2020 and is now being used to manage 200 drones, including those belonging to Surf Life Saving NSW. 

"The drone industry has been growing at a rate of 30% year-on-year and is much more regulated than in the past. At the same time, businesses have gone from operating one or two drones to as many as thirty and they need an efficient way to manage maintenance and compliance,” said Cockinos. “Curo meets this need and improves the accessibility of drones by reducing costs and complexity.” 

Curo replaces manual record keeping and inefficient paper trials with a central repository for all of the information drone owners need. This includes flight logs, service schedules, and even pilot accreditation. Curo then leverages this information and automated workflows in Salesforce to streamline maintenance and compliance. 

For example, when a drone exceeds 50 hours of operation, a service case is raised automatically and a notification is sent to the customer that they need to bring the drone in to be serviced. All communication is managed through the Curo platform and the customer experience is seamless. Cockinos also anticipates significant time savings for support agents who will be able to support 3x as many drones as they have done in the past. 

Sphere Drones is now working to bring more customers onto Curo and focusing on educating customers about drones and requirements for drone management. Webinars have been especially effective and the business has been running two to three per week since the start of the pandemic. 

In addition to all of this, the business has made time to reflect and grow as a team during the pandemic  and consider how it can extend the Curo platform to help customers track other assets or manage other aspects of compliance. 

“We have done a lot of strategy work to better understand our customers and opportunities for growth. What I do know is that Salesforce will help us to scale whatever comes next,” said Cockinos. 

 
 

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