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Over 330 employees
Salesforce customer since 2015


adoption rate in the sales team


Autorola makes its sales process transparent with Salesforce

The golden rule for many start-ups is to fail early and fail fast. But what happens when falling simply isn’t an option? Well, for Peter Grøftehauge, CEO of Autorola, (along with his brother and father, with whom he founded the company) this was reality.

The Grøftehauge family founded the online used car sales site in 1998, and expanded quickly, weathering financial crises, competitive prices, and all the challenges that come with starting your own business. And they had to do it without the safety net and funding of Silicon Valley. 

“The culture here in Denmark isn’t the same as in Silicon Valley,” said Grøftehauge. “We had to be profitable and successful from the beginning. There was pressure on all sides to do well – and that meant making the right decisions at every step.”

“With Sales Cloud, we’ve got the data to see where we’re performing well and where we can improve. And that’s key to standing out and serving our customers better.” 


With Sales Cloud, we’ve got the data to see where we’re performing well and where we can improve. And that’s key to standing out and serving our customers better.”


Hard work, high stakes, and honesty.

“We developed parking management software out of necessity,” explains Dorian. “We had a small team, and multiple buildings to manage. But pretty soon, our customers started asking to use our software to manage their parking spaces.”
Pivoting from a service provider to a Software as a Service provider is no mean feat, entailing a completely different approach to sales and marketing.
For starters, the tactics are completely different. When you’re only marketing to people who live within 300 metres of a spot, the primary battleground is local SEO. And your best weapons are quantity and price. The software market is nothing like this.
“We’re not selling a commodity so much as the concept of leveraging parking for better mobility and employee satisfaction,” says Dorian. “That makes for a more in-depth, complicated and lengthy sales journey.”

A successful implementation starts with leadership.

Autorola had tried to evolve their sales process previously. But as Peter found out, unless change is driven by the very top of the organisation, you can’t count on it to take hold. 

“If there’s no clear management behind technology initiatives – and the management isn’t extremely clear on what it wants to achieve – then you won’t succeed,” said Grøftehauge.

Which is exactly why he decided to lead Autorola’s Salesforce implementation. With a precise goal, a clear plan for processes, and a laser-sharp focus on what they needed to achieve, the team implemented Sales Cloud themselves.

“I’ve been a little tough,” said Grøftehauge. “But that comes from years of learning from other organisations and seeing why big IT projects fail. Change management isn’t possible without strong leadership – and implementing Sales Cloud requires a level of cultural change, not just technological.” 

Process alignment is really about culture.

Keeping it simple and straightforward played a major part in making this initiative work. The sales team needs to know how many deals closed, and which ones were lost – so focusing on these dashboards was key. The incentives to stay in a world where this data wasn’t there – and therefore people could hide their true performance – was strong. This needed to make sales simpler to counter that. 

“Being clear about what we wanted to achieve meant we could keep Salesforce simple. We didn’t need to add any complexity, which had an impact on how many of our sales team are comfortable using it.”

People now know how to use Sales Cloud to get the insights they need. Through aligning processes, the sales team has changed its culture and its way of working. 

“Sales Cloud shows us what works and what doesn’t, and we can apply these learnings to new prospects and deals,” explained Grøftehauge. 

To encourage adoption, Grøftehauge set up various internal initiatives. The team monitors meetings in Sales Cloud, updates minutes, and includes contracts. But there’s also a focus on education and inspiration. For example, they hold monthly sales competitions in Salesforce, where the team can track their progress.

Autorola aims to have standardised processes across the countries it has customers in, but much of this depends on maturity levels in the individual market. 

“It’s not black and white – it can’t be,” said Grøftehauge. “We’ve used Sales Cloud to establish a general framework and standardised processes, then country managers can decide what their team does on a local scale. We don’t want to set their focus here in HQ, as it needs to change depending on what a particular market needs.” 

The balance between transparency and freedom.

Transparency and honesty are two principles that set Autorola apart. In the world of used car sales, where the waters can get murky, having open and clear processes is a huge USP.

“As an online business, we’re completely transparent by design,” explained Grøftehauge. “This doesn’t just give our customers added reassurance, but also an advantage. With transparency, you can guarantee high quality, which in turn leads to better prices.”

With Salesforce, Autorola has been able to achieve transparency in its sales processes too. But this was a big challenge to start with. “At first, people were put off by how transparent Sales Cloud made our processes,” said Grøftehauge. “It’s human nature: people like to be monitored when they’re doing a fantastic job, but when they aren’t? Well, that’s when they want more freedom.” 

But Grøftehauge overcame these challenges by creating a balance between transparency and freedom – which in part stemmed from the benefits of using Sales Cloud.

Added transparency lets sales find the right customers.

“The transparency we get from using Salesforce lets us improve the quality of what we do across the entire sales process,” said Grøftehauge. “Using Sales Cloud, we can continuously monitor our pipeline, drill down into prospects and data, and ensure we’re targeting the right customers.”

With 90% of the sales team – made up of around 80 people – using Sales Cloud, Grøftehauge decided to concentrate on the prospecting process, before trying new projects. “What we need to understand is how to sell the right product to the right customer, with the right level of effort,” explained Grøftehauge. 

By monitoring two dashboards – closed-won and 12-months yearly value – the team can see what they need to do to get it right. 

Once this initiative is firmly embedded within Autorola, Grøftehauge will use Salesforce for customer retention.

A push to change processes.

When COVID-19 shuttered shops and offices around the world, Autorola was already prepared. Within 24 hours, everyone was working from home – and the transition was seamless, as everyone was already set up to do so.

“We’ve had an online culture for years, so making the transition to working from home was easy,” said Grøftehauge. “The biggest change for us was adopting video. We’ve used the last three months to learn how to make video work for us and our customers, and it’s without doubt going to be a permanent change to the way we work.” 

Autorola implemented a program to help the sales team make the switch to selling online rather than in person. This included new processes, sales competition, education and hands-on support – and it paid off. And it paid off: the sales team have maintained their targets and kept up influence with customers and prospects.

The focus has changed.

COVID-19 hasn’t just changed how Autorola’s sales team works – it’s given them a change in focus. “I’m thinking less about strategy now, and more about daily operations,” said Grøftehauge. “We still need to think about where we’ll be in three years’ time, but it’s much more important to focus on forecasts for the coming weeks.”

By focusing on daily operations, Grøftehauge and his team have been able to embed processes within the business. Using video is now key, and processes around Sales Cloud are becoming core to the organisation and the team’s behaviours. And it’s unlocking new possibilities for the future.

“With Salesforce, we’ve been able to intrinsically change the way we work,” said Grøftehauge. “Our processes are more transparent and ultimately, we’re working in much smarter ways.”


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