The Wine Group

We would never have been able to scale the way we have without Salesforce. It’s enabled epic growth and made a massive difference to me personally as it’s given me my Sundays back.”

Ezra McInnes | Managing Director, The Wine Group


increase in sales in one year


The Wine Group switches on Salesforce and grows more than 100%

As Australia’s leading online cellar door, The Wine Group enables customers to taste and buy premium wines from Australia, New Zealand, and around the globe. Many of these wines are produced by the The Wine Group itself, allowing it to pass cost-savings on to customers.

The Wine Group was founded four and a half years ago by Chief Winemaker Phillip Casella and Managing Director Ezra McInnes. An expert vintner, Casella sourced the first pallet of wine and McInnes used his sales experience and the phone book to start selling the wine from his home. Very quickly McInnes began winning customers and the business grew steadily until the second half of 2019. At that point, it had become harder and harder to scale and The Wine Group made the decision to implement Salesforce. 

McInnes and General Manager Daniel De Salvo share that today— after just one year of using Salesforce—they couldn’t imagine life without it.

Unlocking data leads to epic growth

The Wine Group’s biggest challenge before Salesforce was the inefficient handling of data. The business ran on spreadsheets and McInnes spent every Sunday exporting leads from the website and compiling lists of customers for sales reps to call during the week ahead. The call lists were central to the business’ sales strategy and had to be ready at the start of each Monday. If they weren’t, reps would be unable to start work and would have difficulty reaching their weekly targets.

“It’s hard to explain the pressure I used to feel on Sundays. The files we had were so large they would often freeze up and I’d end up pulling all nighters to have everything ready for Monday morning,” said McInnes. “It was a very inefficient way of operating.”

The Wine Group turned to Salesforce to streamline its ways of working and establish a 360 degree view of customers. In the past, customer lists typically included just names, numbers, and addresses and sales reps used a separate system to look up past orders. Now, all of this information has been centralised in Salesforce and sales reps can easily see customers’ preferred wines and purchasing patterns.

McInnes also no longer needs to prepare lists; leads are dynamically allocated to sales reps in Sales Cloud and reps are able to follow up with each one more efficiently to reach approximately 20% more leads per day. Management also has daily reporting on how many calls reps are making and trends in answer rates and conversion. This allows them to identify right away where reps may need extra support and also helps them ensure the team reaches as many leads as possible.

All of these improvements helped drive immediate results with The Wine Group experiencing a 20 percent increase in sales in the first month of using Salesforce and a 118 percent increase in sales one year later. The Wine Group has also expanded its sales team from 20 to 70 employees.

Remarkably, most of this growth has come during COVID-19 and the business has not missed a beat. Using Salesforce, The Wine Group set up employees to work from home in just one day and has subsequently onboarded two to three new employees remotely a week.

“We would never have been able to scale the way we have without Salesforce. It’s enabled epic growth and made a massive difference to me personally as it’s given me my Sundays back,” said McInnes.

Expanding from sales calls to customer journeys

While telesales will always be at the core of The Wine Group’s business, it is leveraging Marketing Cloud to build out customer journeys and communicate via channels like email and SMS. The Wine Group is also using Marketing Cloud to ramp up its digital marketing efforts and reach new and existing customers across channels like Facebook and Instagram.

The ability to segment data and target people based on preferences such as red wine or white wine have helped The Wine Group to optimise the returns on these activities. The company has also improved the delivery and open rates of EDMs and has experienced a 20-30 percent increase in online sales.

“We’ve come a long way from operating off lists and just calling customers from top to bottom. We’re able to create journeys for our customers and send out emails and SMS messages with daily specials we know they’ll like,” said Daniel De Salvo. “We’re also able to understand their purchasing patterns so we can predict when they’re most likely to buy and can reach out at the right time.”

While The Wine Group builds out these journeys further, it’s also continuing to drive efficiencies in sales. It plans to roll out Power Dialer from the AppExchange next so that reps no longer need to cut and paste numbers into their phone system. Instead, the next customer can be dialled at the press of a button. 

Already, The Wine Group is able to reach 30-40% more of its database over the phone than it could previously and this extension of Salesforce will help it reach even more.

“We have really been flying under the radar for these past few years and it's been fantastic and put us in a strong position. Our ambition now is to become the number one online retailer in Australia,” said De Salvo.


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