The Wests Group Australia


Wests scores new fans with Salesforce

The Wests Group Australia is behind some of Newcastle’s most popular entertainment, accommodation and dining facilities. The Group — known as Wests — is also the more recent owner of the nib Newcastle Knights and an important sponsor of the local community and, in particular, rugby league.

“Our vision is to inspire our members and fans with smarter, more personal, and predictive experiences based on insights from each of our business units,” said Trent Wonnacott, Business Intelligence Manager, The Wests Group Australia. “Salesforce helps us bring together and interpret our data to optimise our messages and timing, and make communication more personal.”


Combined with our knowledge of how customers are already interacting with us, we can engage with them in a much more meaningful way and actually add value to their experience — rather than throwing out all kinds of offers and seeing what sticks.”

Clair Coleman, Group Marketing Manager

Laying the foundation for personalisation

Wests’ diverse portfolio includes: the Newcastle Exhibition & Convention Centre; the Balance Collective chain of fitness centres; hotels including The Anchorage Port Stephens, The Executive Inn and The Gateway Inn Newcastle; and six registered clubs with more than 150,000 members combined. The addition of the nib Newcastle Knights has extended its reach to tens of thousands more people. The organisation wanted to connect with this audience more personally across its different brands. First, it had to break down data silos.

Member and customer details were separate from transaction data which was held in multiple legacy systems. To understand the entire relationship someone had with Wests, data would need to be extracted into spreadsheets and analysed manually.

Wests is now in the midst of unifying its data in Sales Cloud. Its initial focus has been bringing the Newcastle Knights onto the platform. The team has a goldmine of data ranging from membership, general ticketing and sponsorship sales through to merchandising receipts. Bringing this data into Salesforce makes it available to sales, marketing, and management at the press of a button.

Driving sales, service, and faster decisions

“Salesforce eliminates all that time we spent extracting information so we can now focus on interpreting the data and make faster, more informed decisions,” said Wonnacott. “It also improves efficiency and collaboration around the sales process, including the execution and ongoing management of sponsorship and corporate hospitality agreements.”

Wests can now track sales and forecasts for the Newcastle Knights in Salesforce. It has also set up custom workflows to drive account planning and make sure that sales reps are following up with the right information at the right time. Once contracts are signed, these workflows extend to ensure every detail of the contract is delivered on. This could include something as minor as including a sponsor on a Facebook post or a special catering request for a corporate hospitality client.

Tailoring content and experiences

Tailoring offers and communication is key to Wests’ strategy to get closer to customers, and it’s already using Marketing Cloud to support 1:1 journeys for game days. This includes SMS campaigns to engage with members and corporate clients and remind them of details like kickoff time.

As Wests moves into the next phase of its rollout and connects all of its data in Salesforce, it will build more complex and personal journeys that lead customers to interact with more of its brands. It also plans to optimise messaging across its digital channels, including social, mobile, organic and paid search. Trailhead will be an important resource throughout this transformation, helping the marketing team understand and fully exploit the capabilities of Salesforce.

“We want to encourage two-way communication with customers wherever we can, but also let them choose how they want to be contacted and how often,” said Clair Coleman, Group Marketing Manager, The Wests Group Australia. “Combined with our knowledge of how customers are already interacting with us, we can engage with them in a much more meaningful way and actually add value to their experience — rather than throwing out all kinds of offers and seeing what sticks.”

Einstein Analytics will support this more meaningful engagement by giving Wests the power to predict what customers want next. It will also provide actionable intelligence on sales to keep the organisation tracking towards its goals.

“The use of Einstein to predict the future is very exciting for us, especially as customers sometimes don’t know what they want until you put it in front of them. We’re getting closer to unifying our data and being able to tap into that type of intelligence day-to-day which will be incredibly powerful,” said Wonnacott.


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