iBanFirst helps more SMEs embrace borderless business with Salesforce

For many SMEs, going international is the dream. But in reality, managing payments in multiple currencies and facing an ever-fluctuating exchange rate can be complex and stymie growth. 

“SMEs are not well served by banks when it comes to streamlining international payments, and that’s where we come in. iBanFirst provides payment solutions for borderless business,” explained David Remaud, Head of Marketing at iBanFirst. 

The company leverages Salesforce to combine powerful digital services with a personal touch to make international payments as easy as using a credit card. Its unique market offering is getting noticed: in 2021, after growing its revenue by more than 400% in four years, the fintech won Deloitte’s Technology Fast 50 award for Belgium.


Fuelling growth with 360-degree visibility

iBanFirst is a French business headquartered in Brussels. It has offices in Antwerp, Bucharest, Dijon, Munich, Paris, Rotterdam, Sofia, and Tunis, and employs around 300 people. In 2021, the company managed more than €2 billion per month for its thousands of customers.

From ensuring payments are processed in real time to avoiding fluctuating exchange rates and providing hedging services to safeguard profitability, iBanFirst helps SMEs to remove the barriers to international trade and provides an alternative to traditional banking services.

To achieve its ambitions of becoming a leading player in Europe and beyond, the company embarked on a digital transformation to align data, processes, and roll out more automation.

“We wanted to create a high-touch customer experience from the moment a prospect signs up on our website,” said Remaud. “To achieve that, we needed a comprehensive overview of processes and data across the business, so we decided to centralise operations on Salesforce.”

The team rolled out High Velocity Sales, Service Cloud, Tableau CRM, and Salesforce Inbox, integrating the platform with its customer-facing solution and marketing tool to unlock 360-degree visibility.

In addition to streamlining the customer experience, Salesforce simplifies international growth and provides common processes and workflows across eight countries.

Supercharging productivity

Today, the 50-strong SDR (sales development rep) team uses High Velocity Sales to follow up on every lead in the smartest possible way. Data is captured in Salesforce and displayed in dashboards to give the team a clear overview of the funnel and which lead to focus on next.

“Everyone uses dashboards, from frontline reps to regional managers, and our CEO,” said Robin Tanzilli, Head of Business Development. “Individuals can drill down to get more insights, such as how local teams are performing and how much revenue leads are generating.”

When a lead converts, the team needs to perform rigorous checks on the customer to verify their identity and ensure the business is legitimate and trading legally. By moving this manual process out of spreadsheets and emails and into Salesforce, the company is faster, more efficient, and has a standard operating model across all regions.

Salesforce Inbox is also helping the team to be more productive and better manage meetings and schedules. They can also see which emails have been opened to get accurate insight on every prospect and their stage in the buying journey.

“Salesforce has supercharged productivity – business is almost doubling in size every year without increasing headcount in our French office,” said Tanzilli. 

And when the company does need to increase headcount, it can accurately predict how many people to hire in each region based on real data, and monitor their performance to identify where and when additional training is necessary.

Knowing when to engage

To give customers an engaging, personalised experience, the company monitors interactions and aims to keep processes simple and transparent. “Customers don’t want us calling all the time, they want to speak to the right expert at the right time and not have to provide the same information over and over again,” commented Remaud. “With Salesforce we know when to reach out to offer the most value to our customers and can serve them faster than ever before.”

If a customer requires hedging services, a case is opened with the risk management team using Service Cloud to track and monitor it at every stage. This not only enables management to scale up the size of this team, but creates greater transparency and automates a previously manual process.

Sparking a data revolution

Since implementing Salesforce, iBanFirst has sparked a data revolution. Tableau CRM aggregates data from across the business, including Salesforce, the marketing platform, and iBanFirst’s customer-facing services, and a team of data scientists creates user-friendly dashboards.

“Salesforce makes data more actionable and fuels smarter decisions. Our marketing and finance teams use a lot of dashboards, and we’re onboarding more processes to Tableau all the time,” said Remaud. “It’s triggered a cultural shift within the organisation – users can see the value good data brings to the business.”

In fact, in one case, Tableau data helped to increase average revenues by more than 100% without increasing acquisitions. 

“Some customers produce revenue for us right away, while others take up to five years,” explained Jonathan de Bruin, Marketing Manager for Benelux at iBanFirst. “With Salesforce, we split customers into tiers and calculated the ROI so we could focus more on winning business with the top tier. It’s been a game changer.”

This explosive growth isn’t just good for generating revenue, it also helped the company to attract more investment so it can continue to grow and evolve its offering. This relies on maintaining the ‘Rule of 40’ – where the company’s combined growth rate and profit margins are greater than 40% – which is used as a benchmark for success.

“Salesforce gives us precise insights about how regions and products are performing, so we can ensure we’re always supporting our customers in the best possible way,” de Bruin added.

The company is also combining the power of data with machine learning and artificial intelligence using Einstein. By integrating more third-party data, the team will be able to score leads more accurately to expand the business into the most lucrative sectors.

Getting ready for the future

The next step on iBanFirst’s Salesforce transformation is to optimise the customer journey with smarter processes and training customer success managers to help them make the most of the fintech’s services.

The company is also planning to give resellers – who make up 10% of B2B customers – access to Salesforce so they can integrate internal systems and unlock better visibility.

“Salesforce has changed our lives. We have great data, solid processes, and I can keep my finger on the pulse,” said Remaud. “The partnership is simple and strategic, which will help us grow and attract more interest from investors in the future.”


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