Working in an industry that’s undergoing significant change, we have a strong focus on process efficiency and cost optimisation and Salesforce is helping us deliver on both of those priorities.”

Ian Padgham | General Manager, Enterprise Technology, Vicinity Centre

Vicinity Centres finds permanent solution for casual leasing challenge

Vicinity Centres is one of Australia’s leading retail property groups. The group has $22 billion in retail assets under management across 61 shopping centres, including popular destinations like Chadstone in Victoria and Chatswood Chase Sydney in New South Wales. 

Vicinity is reimagining its destinations to provide enhanced value to its retailers, partners, and shareholder while enriching community experiences. As the retail industry evolves and the role of shopping centres changes, Vicinity’s expansion into mixed-use property development and creating additional value from its assets through measures including ‘Pop Up’ retail has become increasingly important.

“We want to lead the industry in terms of diversifying the way we use our assets to create new streams of revenue, particularly in the data and digital realms,” said Ian Padgham, General Manager, Enterprise Technology, Vicinity Centres. “Of course our retail partners remain central to what we do and we’re always looking at ways we can better support them to succeed.” 

To best support its retailers, Vicinity has also been transforming its operations and has turned to Salesforce to streamline the sales and booking of those spaces used for pop-ups. This initiative has improved the experience of employees and retail partners and eliminated hours of manual effort. It has also helped to optimise the efficiency of media sales.

Burning platform for change

The on-premise solution Vicinity previously used for pop up leasing and media sales had effectively reached its end of life. The group wanted a replacement that would up-level its capabilities. 

There were previously a number of tasks that had to be done manually, including the creation of leasing agreements and the daily reconciliation of payments. The pop up leasing team also had to complete weekly spreadsheets for each centre with details on which retailers were moving in and out. All these things took up time which could have been better spent on activities like building relationships. 

Vicinity looked at a number of solutions before deciding on Salesforce and partnered with VISEO on the implementation.

“What we wanted to do was provide teams with an experience where they could do everything inside one system, including quoting, booking, and invoicing,” said David Harry, Senior Manager Core Systems, Vicinity Centres.      

The implementation took place as teams worked from home which made things like requirements gathering more difficult. However, the project outcomes were a success with the media sales team alone reporting a 60% increase in efficiency. 

“One of the factors in our success was that there was really strong internal alignment on what we needed to achieve,” said Padgham. “We were also careful not to assume that we needed to take everything from the old solution and put it in the new one. Instead, we got rid of those things that weren’t working for us.”

Enabling a simpler and faster way to work

Pop up leasing and media sales are now managed in Salesforce from end-to-end. Sales Cloud is at the core of the solution and helps sales reps capture all of the details required to complete bookings. These include bookings for pop up and temporary retail space as well as bookings for advertising space within Vicinity’s centres. 

The reservation management process has been built on Salesforce Platform which has also been used to create seamless integration with the group’s ERP. This integration has completely streamlined invoicing and billing. It has also streamlined reconciliation of payments, with Vicinity now achieving automated payment reconciliation matching of over 80%, resulting in annual time savings of more than 500 hours.

“As a low code platform, Salesforce has allowed us to build out all the functionality needed to provide employees with a one stop shop for everything they need to do,” said Harry. 

Vicinity is using Conga Composer and Adobe Sign from the AppExchange to generate pop up leasing agreements right out of Salesforce and gather electronic signatures. This has enhanced the experience of retailers who no longer need to waste time printing and scanning. 

Proposals for media sales are more complicated with a number of factors used to determine pricing and discounts. For this reason, the team uses CPQ to configure quotes quickly with accurate and approved pricing. 

Salesforce has also automated reporting which means that the pop up leasing team no longer needs to spend hours each Friday compiling spreadsheets with tenant changes. The automation of this process alone is expected to save more than 1,000 hours annually. 

In addition, Salesforce dashboard reporting now provides leasing executives with up-to-the minute insights that help them focus in on and take action on the things that matter. The dashboards also feature a combination of historic data and real-time information that helps them to identify emerging trends and monitor efficiency across the sales team. 

“Working in an industry that’s undergoing significant change, we have a strong focus on process efficiency and cost optimisation and Salesforce is helping us deliver on both of those priorities,” said Padgham. “It has brought a lot of digital automation into this area of the business, allowing us to create enhanced value for our customers and partners.”


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