Every Aston Martin car is unique. And now the luxury brand wants to bring that same level of quality and care to every customer relationship too. Thanks to Salesforce, Aston Martin can get closer to both its dealers and customers, and unlock new insights to steer the company towards greater success.
In its 103-year history, Aston Martin has only made 80,000 cars. It would take a mass manufacturer less than a week to create the same number. “We don’t produce cars with robots; we produce them with human beings, craft, and skill,” said Dr. Andy Palmer, Aston Martin’s President and CEO.
In March 2016, the company unveiled the DB11, which brings together everything that Aston Martin stands for – exceptional design, excellent performance and timeless luxury. The DB11 is the first product to be launched under Aston Martin’s Second Century plan, a six-year roadmap to create a highly valued global luxury brand.
“We no longer base decisions on our opinions; we base them on what our customers and business data tells us,” said Palmer. “With Salesforce, we can discover new insights into customer behaviour and our brand that will accelerate growth.”
To unlock these insights, Aston Martin first needed to bring all its customer and sales data together – not just from its own business but also from across its global dealership network. The iconic British brand collaborates with more than 150 dealers in 40-plus countries to sell and service its luxury sport cars.
“We had various systems, surveys, and datasets but they weren’t connected, so there was no single view of a customer,” explained Dan Balmer, Director Global Marketing at Aston Martin. “People had to ask for information, and it could take days or weeks to get it.”
The information gap between Aston Martin and its 150 dealers meant there was no end-to-end view of the sales cycle. “We didn’t know if a new lead went on to become a new customer or not,” added Balmer.
In June 2015, all this changed with the deployment of Sales Cloud. “It took a matter of weeks to go from an ageing customer database that only 10 people could access to a collaborative solution that can grow with us,” sald Balmer.
To help accelerate the implementation and adoption of Sales Cloud, Aston Martin’s IT team and administrators used Trailhead, which provides guided learning around the key features of Salesforce using interactive, online tutorials. “They fired through their trails; it was fantastic,” affirmed Balmer.
More than 150 Aston Martin employees and 500 dealership staff now use Sales Cloud to share and track information about opportunities, leads, and customers. “We can all see the same thing; nothing is locked in someone’s inbox or head any more,” explained Balmer. “We can stop sales falling out of the funnel.”
Aston Martin doesn’t just want to know about converted leads; it wants to know about lost leads too. “We want be able to connect with individuals to find out why they decided not to purchase from us. This will help us make our products more relevant to more people,” explained Balmer. “Our customers like the fact that every car has its own story.”
Thanks to Aston Martin’s unique personalisation service ‘Q’, customers often play a role in writing these stories. From bespoke colours and trims to customised features and accessories, the Q team fulfils hundreds of requests every year. And with Sales Cloud, it can now fulfil them faster.
By introducing a case management-based workflow, the Q team can progress and prioritise customer requests more effectively. As Laura Bowmer, Senior Manager Engagement Marketing at Aston Martin, explained: “Dealers can log and track requests centrally instead of relying on email. This ultimately means a faster and better outcome for the customer.”
With a central record not just for its personalisation services but also customer sales, Aston Martin now has global visibility of its business. “We’ve replaced fragmented systems with integrated dashboards. With Sales Cloud, we can ask – and answer – important questions about the business,” said Balmer.
Thanks to the Salesforce1 Mobile App, these dashboards along with customer records can be accessed by staff while they are on the road. “The regional teams supporting the dealership network spend a huge amount of time travelling,” explained Bowmer. “With the Salesforce1 Mobile App, they have the data they need in the palm of their hands.”
Information sharing has also been improved through the use of Chatter. As Bowmer confirmed: “Chatter makes it easier for our teams to communicate with dealers.”
Introducing new ways of working is just the tip of the iceberg for Aston Martin; it also wants to embrace new ways of connecting with its customers. “Our customers expect a personal experience that singles them out as individuals,” explained Bowmer. “With Marketing Cloud, we’ll be able to create dynamic and unique content for both customers and prospects.”
For example, when a warranty expires, Aston Martin will be able to use this as an opportunity to re-engage with customers. It is already using the Social Studio module within Marketing Cloud to listen and analyse conversations about its cars, services and brand. “With Salesforce, we have the insights we need to drive greater revenue generation and a deliver richer customer experience,” said Balmer.
In the future, Aston Martin plans to use Sales Cloud to capture customers’ ‘passion points’, such as fine wine or philanthropy, to help personalise existing relationships even further. It also wants to introduce a new customer community where people can update their own passion points, create a virtual garage for their cars, and engage with the company.
“Our customers already have an emotional connection with us, and Salesforce will help make those connections even stronger,” said Palmer. “The more satisfied a customer, the more likely they are to recommend us; and that is more powerful than any advert.”