Surf Life Saving NSW

With Salesforce, we can now move from quoting to invoicing to receiving payment within an hour which is amazing for a charity.”

Holly Chave | Academy Business Manager

Surf Life Saving NSW creates wave of efficiency

Surf Life Saving NSW has held the same mission for over 110 years which is to  ‘Save Lives, Create Great Australians, and Build Better Communities’. The organisation’s 129 Surf Life Saving Clubs deliver on its mission in the most visible way and sit at the heart of many Australian communities. What’s less visible is the vital work carried out by the organisation's fee-for-service arm.

Surf Life Saving Services, the fee-for-service commercial operation generates funds which all go towards supporting the organisation’s mission. It also provides life saving training and first aid equipment to around 5,000 clients through the Australian Life Saving Academy.

Academy Business Manager Holly Chave and Systems Administrator Mia Pacey have both been a part of the organisation for a number of years and have been working together to digitise its operations. This digitisation, underpinned by Salesforce, has been aimed at streamlining processes and enabling for continued growth.

“It has been an amazing journey for us due to the love we have for Surf Life Saving and the work that we’re doing,” said Chave. “Everything we raise goes back into the Surf Life Saving movement and we know there are times when our training saves lives. At the end of the day, that’s what we’re all about.”

Driving purposeful growth

The Academy began operating 16 years ago with initial operations consisting of just one sales person and one trainer. They managed scheduling with a calendar on a whiteboard and organised training for 90 people in the first year.

In the time since, the Academy has grown exponentially and it was on track to train 100,000 in a single year before COVID-19. This growth has required it to bring on new systems, including a Learning Management System (LMS). However, up until 2020, it lacked a CRM. 

“We were losing precious time and traction due to our processes and we couldn’t continue to operate that way.  We needed a CRM to streamline our operations so that we could continue to grow and raise more funds for Surf Life Saving NSW,” said Chave. “Salesforce ticked all of the right boxes, in part because of all of the supporting apps from partners which we’ll be able to use overtime.”

Pacey agreed and highlighted the value of the free learning available from Trailhead and the Trailblazer Community. “With Salesforce, we were able to dive in, test it out, and customise it to our needs. We also wanted a solution that would grow with us and Salesforce provided that scalability,” said Pacey.

Building momentum and scale

The Academy is now using Salesforce to work faster and smarter in order to best meet its clients’ needs. All client information is centralised in Sales Cloud, helping the sales team to manage client relationships and opportunities. The team can also quickly create quotes and process orders using CPQ which was implemented with support from the Carnac Group.

Creating quotes, invoices, and purchase orders used to involve shuffling paperwork between sales, management, and accounting. The slow nature of the manual process meant it could take weeks to get paid and get equipment out to clients. 

In contrast, CPQ digitises the end-to-end workflow, including approvals. It is much easier to create quotes and purchase orders for bundled orders and the Academy is able to carefully manage its pricing and margins.

"With Salesforce, we can now move from quoting to invoicing to receiving payment within an hour which is amazing for a charity. We can also send purchase orders to our supplies straight away which means we can get equipment out to clients faster," said Chave. “The streamlined process is important as when clients need something like a defibrillator, they need it quickly. Our sales people are also no longer worried about paperwork; they can just keep selling and continue that momentum of saving lives."

The speed of getting quotes out to clients has also increased conversion. To build on these benefits, the Academy is now using Pardot to engage with clients and promote its equipment and training.

Its first Pardot campaign was for Restart a Heart Day, which is a day the Academy uses to promote the sale of defibrillators. In years past, the Academy has run multi-channel campaigns around the day, including live events and cold calling. However, due to COVID-19, it wanted a softer approach for 2020 and decided to send only emails.

With support from Premier Success, Pacey was able to set the campaign up in three days. This was significantly faster than the three-weeks typically required to engage designers and prepare campaigns in the past. In addition, the results of the  campaign surpassed expectations and helped to prove the effectiveness of personalised email engagement.

“For us to sell as much as we did through email only was amazing and really sold us on the benefits of Pardot,” said Chave. “The efficiency of launching campaigns also gives us an opportunity to be more proactive and creative in how we engage with our clients in the future.”

Expanding innovation and value

In many ways, Surf Life Saving NSW is just getting started with Salesforce. Pacey is helping to drive continued innovation, leveraging resources like Premier Success and Accelerators to build on the use of Pardot and CPQ. She’s created custom learning paths known as trailmixes on Trailhead to onboard new starters and grow the organisation’s Salesforce skills. She also runs weekly campfire sessions within the team to explain new features being rolled out.

In the future, the Academy plans to make Salesforce its single ‘source of truth’ through integration with the other platforms it uses, including its Learning Management System (LMS) and a new website and ecommerce site currently under development. The integration with the LMS will also allow the Academy to manage orders for training in Salesforce.

Alongside all of this, the non-for-profit side of Surf Life Saving NSW is using Salesforce to manage information for clubs and branches. It has also developed a compliance application within Salesforce to help it get ready for the start of each season. Surf Life Saving NSW uses this application to record club activities and collect information like insurance checks and financial reports.

Surf Life Saving NSW also uses cases in Salesforce to manage general questions from members and club executives. These cases are wide-ranging and can include questions about policies or procedures or even uniforms. Recording them in Salesforce provides a history of communication and allows Surf Life Saving NSW representatives to take over a conversation or case and know exactly what was already discussed. It also makes cases easier to track and report on.

“Up until now, we’ve operated in a very traditional way. Now, we’re treading water in this whole new world and seeing what works and where we can go next,” said Pacey.


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