Astara revolutionizes mobility with Salesforce.
Astara considers itself a € 5.5 billion startup with only one year of life. Under the leadership of Jorge Navea, the company has been transformed from top to bottom, not only with a rebranding, but also becoming a B2B, B2C and B2G provider of mobility solutions with whom it is possible to buy vehicles as well as subscribe or share mobility services, from an electric car to a bicycle.
Addressing this profound transformation, being present in 17 countries on three continents and with nearly 3,000 employees from 25 different nationalities, would not have been possible without the development of a robust technological platform. According Navea, everything revolved around a cultural change: "not only we needed to be more efficient and scalable, we also had to work in a different way and it affected the entire ecosystem of the company, from top management to dealers and customers, and Salesforce helped us there”.
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Development of the platform of the future
Today's Astara has little to do with the company that began its digital transformation process nearly eight years ago. The CEO of the company explains that "in our sector there are two great challenges, electrification and digitization, and the sum of both results in a new business model".
When the company began this process of digital transformation, the board of directors began to reflect on how people were going to move and what needs they would have, marking to put customers at the centre of its strategy as the Astara’s greatest challenge.
“In 2015 we considered what the platform of the future should be like to meet these needs and these new business models, and we chose Salesforce because we consider it the easiest way to address this cultural change and scale with an easier time-to-market” Antonio Rodríguez, Chief Strategy & Transformation Officer in Astara.
1. Consolidation of different clouds
Scalability was not the only inalienable requirement that Astara set for itself in its digitization process; it was also necessary to enjoy flexible market routes so that it could combine different business models through multiple channels and with an international expansion approach.
The multinational became a heavy-user of the Salesforce clouds (Sales Cloud, Marketing Cloud, Service Cloud, Experience Cloud, Commerce Cloud...) but, as Rodríguez says, "instead of solving specific problems, we have created an architecture of business combining all the solutions”. This is how the Astara Platform was born, made up of 70% Salesforce technology.
"We have been growing from the most core part to the different clouds, combining them and making them business-driven, turning them into a social, transactional, operational and analytical CRM," says the head of Strategy and Transformation.
2. Breaking down information silos
This platform concept is what has decisively contributed to implementing the change in business culture that Navea wanted to promote. In the same way that on the physical level no employee - not even the CEO himself - has their own space in the office, Navea assures that "Salesforce has helped us break down silos, both from a business point of view and from a how do we communicate within the company”.
Information flows currently throughout the organization, working in an absolutely transversal way. Rocío Rufilanchas, Global Chief People Officer, says that "Salesforce has been a catalyst for the contagion of customer-focused strategy, involving the customer into account in absolutely all decisions."
According to the CEO, this is the reason because of the company has been able to completely transform its business model, "listening to the customer at all times to know what they need because their mobility changes according to their daily needs.”
3. Data as basement of new business
The power of the Salesforce platform in Astara is also reflecting in its strong data-driven character. With the Astara shift from a business mainly focused in selling vehicles and technical service to another in which it is possible to subscribe or share mobility services, competitors have completely changed.
Players who competed with previously were very similar to Astara, but now the company plays in a league where its players are very different and more unknown. Rufilanchas explains that “this generates much more discomfort when making decisions and, for this reason, the more information, the better. The data that Salesforce provides us has helped us a lot to make decisions while minimizing the risk of error.”
Thanks to having broken down silos of information, the company has ambassadors of decision-making based on data that have a contagious effect within the organization to achieve, as Navea points out, that "everyone works with data, not with intuitions”.
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4. Management of new business KPIs
On the other hand, the fact of having become a mobility solutions provider with business models such as subscriptions has meant that the company not only has opened up the range of competitors and stakeholders, but also the KPIs to handle with, implementing others more used in industries such as banking or telecommunications, such as Customer Lifetime Value, Average Revenue Per User (ARPU), etc.
The head of Transformation & Strategy indicates that "the way of doing marketing has changed dramatically because now we know our customers better, we communicate more and through more channels, being 100 percent omnichannel". It has even created virtual dealerships for all its brands of vehicles in the different countries where Astara operates, being possible both to buy and subscribe online.
The transversal approach is absolute and Rodríguez shows it citing as an example "how we have managed to involve all the company's departments in customer service", taking into account that now a customer can have different profiles as he uses multiple services simultaneously. Thanks to the new platform, in the last year indicators such as the Customer Acquisition Cost and the Conversion Rate have improved by an average of 20% and 30%, respectively.
Navea does not hide its satisfaction when highlighting that "since we started using Salesforce we have multiplied the company's turnover by five", and only in the last four years has the global Opex been lowered by two points.
5. Automatic and omnichannel personalization
The new company culture and putting the customer at the centre has led Astara to embark on an ambitious ESG strategy that will form part of the objectives of the top management and employees. Navea points out that "Salesforce has helped us in this conversation with customers and we have understood that they wanted much more sustainable mobility solutions".
With an estimated annual traffic of 50 million visits across all of its digital assets, Astara uses every bit of data the platform collects to turn it into actionable insights. "We have multiplied the number of touchpoints and we are able to communicate many more times with each customer," says Rodríguez, who explains that there are customer journeys defined to automatically suggest a visit to a car repair shop before it is produce a breakdown thanks the incorporation of IoT to the platform.
Through a Digital Hub located in Madrid, conceived as a center of excellence for digital marketing and customer experience, the company has developed different customer journeys based on specific objectives (improving engagement, conversion, cost of customer acquisition, loyalty, NPS...), being available for all countries, adapting them with dynamic content to achieve greater personalization.
"Everything we have done in digitalization has been designed to have a business case and a business sense," the CEO says. He explains that "this is why we have been able to grow profitably and get our strategy aligned with our customers’ preferences, both from sustainability perspective and the solutions they are demanding.”
The company is confident of continuing to have sustainable growth with the set objective of reaching €11 billion revenue within four years. “Salesforce is changing us as a company every day with all the insights it provides us; we do not see it as a technological tool, but as an aid to our business model,” Navea says.