Cloud apps. Web services. Unified communications. All the key tools of the digital age rely on one thing: connectivity. And trailblazing infrastructure provider Axia is on a mission to provide fast and reliable fibre connectivity to everyone in the Canadian province of Alberta – regardless of how remote they are.

“Our goal is to provide people with a platform for innovation,” explained Lindsay Skabar, VP of Marketing and Communications at Axia. “We bridge the connectivity gap so everyone can take advantage of digital transformation – from schools and hospitals to big business and remote communities.”

To help more customers achieve their digital dreams, Axia is transforming its business with Salesforce. “With custom apps, smarter processes, and richer insights, we can achieve better business outcomes and provide customers and employees with a richer all-round experience,” said Skabar. For example, Axia boasts an impressive win rate of 80% once it reaches the quoting stage in the sales lifecycle.
Axia started out in 2003 providing fibre optic internet for government organizations within Alberta, including schools, hospitals, and libraries. The company now serves commercial, residential, and government organisations across the globe via a network of 30,000 kilometres of fibre. “We only do one thing, but we do it really well,” said Skabar. “Our business model is built on open access. We’re a big crusader for net neutrality, so we work with 66 service providers to provide our customers with choice and competition.”

In 2014, Axia entered a new era, with the introduction of residential services and a boom in its commercial business. It also gained a marketing department for the first time, headed up by Skabar. She was quick to recognize that Axia’s existing approach to CRM needed a major rethink. “It’s pretty hard to run a growing business on spreadsheets and email alone,” said Skabar. “We weren’t tracking anything, and it was impossible to measure sales and marketing performance.”
 

With custom apps, smarter processes, and richer insights, we can achieve better business outcomes and provide customers and employees with a richer all-round experience.”

Lindsay Skabar, VP of Marketing and Communications, Axia
Following a thorough benchmarking exercise, the executive team at Axia decided to take the business forward with Salesforce at its side. “High speed internet requires a really good customer service story, and that’s what Salesforce provides,” explained Jim Buchan, Salesforce Product Manager at Axia. “The platform offers the most advanced sales and CRM capabilities as well as a fantastic mobile experience that wowed our executive team.”

Rather than taking its existing processes and customizing Salesforce to fit, Axia decided to use out-of-the-box functionality and re-engineer its processes. “It was a big step for us, but we recognized that Salesforce encapsulated global best practices that we could benefit from,” explained Skabar.
Axia’s Salesforce journey began with Sales Cloud and Pardot, both of which were upgraded to the Lightning editions in 2015. The sales and marketing teams use the solutions to segment, prioritize, and nurture leads – and with great success. Since 2014, Axia has substantially grown the sales funnel in the enterprise space.

“With Salesforce, we can accelerate the sales cycle by sending more targeted communications to prospects and ensuring we don’t lose momentum on ‘hot’ leads, said Skabar. “We can also track our performance in real-time with key metrics, such as funnel size, opportunity to close, and lead to cash time, via the Lightning dashboards.”

Prior to Sales Cloud, accessing such KPIs was impossible as reps logged their leads on individual spreadsheets. Now Axia can now track not only the entire pipeline but also integrate it with financial reporting.

With such granular information readily available, sales managers and company execs can forecast more accurately while sales reps can view their income for the quarter. “Timely metrics have been a game-changer for us,” explained Skabar. “Before Salesforce, we just couldn’t accurately measure performance.”
Empowering its people with apps has also been a game-changer for Axia. Since 2014, Buchan has transformed more than 15 time-consuming processes with intuitive apps built on Force.com.

The apps include an automated quote creation system for sales, a document management system for the legal team, and a CEO priorities app that manages KPIs across different departments. “Apps help our people work more effectively. And with the Salesforce Platform, we can go from idea to implementation in as little as two weeks.”
Thanks to the Salesforce App Exchange, Buchan can also take advantage of a rich ecosystem of existing apps. “With the App Exchange, I can decide whether to build or buy,” he explained. “There are lots of great third party apps that we can integrate really quickly and easily with our Salesforce platform.”

For example, the sales and marketing teams at Axia use a mapping tool to see how their leads and customers are distributed geographically. “To know where to invest next, we need to identify potential communities that are interested in our services. With Salesforce, this is based on real intelligence not gut feel,” said Skabar.

Axia has also made it easier for its sales reps to work on the road. “With voice recognition and the Salesforce Mobile App, our reps can dictate their notes straight after a customer meeting, which save a huge amount of time,” explained Skabar.
For Axia, the spotlight is now on its customer support teams. “We already have a single source of truth for sales and marketing, and we want to extend that across our service operation,” said Skabar. “A single platform will give us greater consistency and visibility, which will enable us to make smarter decisions.”

As Skabar and Buchan continue to blaze a trail with richer insights, streamlined processes, and intuitive apps, Axia can focus on achieving its mission. “With Salesforce, we can keep transforming the connectivity landscape, enabling more companies and communities to realize their digital ambitions,” said Skabar.
“With Salesforce, I can develop new apps much faster than ever before. It’s really exciting being able to make people’s jobs easier for them.”
Jim Buchan, Salesforce Product Manager, Axia
 
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