Originally founded in 1998, the company has recently experienced explosive growth, expanding from three employees to 40 in just two years. It’s now the number one hit on search engines for Frankfurt caterers, and a leader in food trends and technology in its sector.
This transformation started in 2014. “We wanted to become a truly customer-focused company and revolutionise the way customers interact with the catering industry,” explained Nico Elzer, Director of Marketing and Co-Owner, Lofthouse, “We had more leads coming in than we could handle, which meant we were losing potential business and unable to grow in the way we wanted.”
To achieve the growth Lofthouse craved, the company needed to nurture these new leads and build smarter relationships with current and prospective clients. This led the company to Pardot and Sales Cloud, and a pioneering technology transformation.
Today, when a customer calls Lofthouse for the first time, the rep already knows which pages they’ve browsed on the website and how to lead the conversation.
“When someone calls us, any member of the team can see who that person is and what their interests are,” said Elzer. “People don’t want to waste time explaining who they are every time they get in touch. With Pardot, we can get straight to the point. It’s helped us improve our close rate by 20%, increase efficiency by 30%, and customers have never been happier.”
Before Pardot, leads from Lofthouse’s website were all funnelled to a single email address. Sales reps had to pick them up, manually create leads in a clunky CRM system and pass them on to the relevant person. Since deploying Pardot in early 2016, leads are automatically scored and filtered to the right sales rep.
Streamlining qualification and segmenting leads in this way means it’s much less effort for the team to close sales. “The surge in leads meant Lofthouse had to make a decision on whether to employ another sales rep or improve the quality of our conversations,” explained Raphael Ney, a Consultant for Lofthouse. “With Pardot, reps can handle more leads in the same amount of time, and they can offer a richer customer experience at the same time.”
Pardot has also changed the way Lofthouse handles lead nurturing. “Previously, the sales team at Lofthouse didn’t have the bandwidth to pursue lukewarm leads,” Elzer explained. “Now it has resources dedicated to creating content that’s fed into Pardot. The team can build up a picture of a prospective customer based on how they interact with content.”
Using Salesforce Engage, the sales team can monitor which emails are getting opened and target marketing campaigns. Only once leads have ‘warmed up’ are they added to the sales team’s pipeline.
Lofthouse owes some of its sales success to its keyword research. Pardot integrates with Google AdWords to analyse keywords and generate reports on search terms and which keywords generate the most revenue. By creating content based on these findings, the company can generate smarter marketing campaigns. Today, every third visitor to its website turns into a lead.
When an opportunity is closed, the lead moves to Sales Cloud where the kitchen, logistics and staff bookings are managed. As Ney explained: “We saw that our competitors were relying on paper to run their kitchens, and this meant different departments were often out of sync.”
Lofthouse now runs its kitchen on Sales Cloud, which gives everyone working on an event total transparency of the whole job. “If someone makes a change to their menu, the chef will be able to see that and adjust the stock order. It also gives the flexibility to scale up operations really easily,” added Ney.
With a digitised kitchen and smarter content creation, Lofthouse is shaking up the catering industry, and it’s been a roaring success. “Lofthouse can now listen to what customers want and make it happen. With deeper insight into customer tastes, it can set the next big food trends,” confirmed Elzer.
Having seen the benefits of Salesforce and its approach to digital marketing at Lofthouse, Elzer and Ney went on to co-found consultancy start-up Peak & Peak, which continues to work with the catering company. “We want to show others how they can combine sales, marketing and technology to empower their businesses,” Ney said. “The work we did with Salesforce at Lofthouse inspired us to help more companies to realise their ambitions.”
Looking to the future, Lofthouse plans to grow its business Germany-wide, and to rebuild its website with interactive capabilities so clients can request the catering services they want via a series of simple steps. “We’re putting the wheels in motion to help Lofthouse give customers the kind of service they want, while becoming smarter ourselves,” explained Elzer. “Salesforce is a core part of our plans as we pioneer a new generation of catering services.”