With sales and marketing automation, Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows is boosting efficiency, while empowering employees to engage customers across the lifecycle for deeper relationships.
The experience of buying – and owning – a premium luxury Mercedes is a memorable one. Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows understand this and prides itself on delivering the kind of handcrafted, personalised customer engagements that buyers of a Mercedes expect. Silver Arrows has been a franchise partner and dealer for Mercedes-Benz passenger cars in NCR since 2012. With its core values of innovation and customer-centricity, the dealership has won numerous awards over the years.
As a franchisee, Silver Arrows’ in-store environment and branding had to be similar to other Mercedes-Benz franchisees. And in a market where it was selling the same cars as its competitors, the dealership realised that the real differentiator was the service it offered.
“To pursue our goal of creating unique experiences, we knew that we had to attract and retain the best people,” says Tushar Kumar, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows. “And then empower them with real-time information and the technology to meaningfully engage customers along the entire lifecycle.”
“Salesforce is a 360 engagement tool that helps us create differentiated customer experiences at all touchpoints through the lifecycle – crucial to building customer loyalty in the high-end car segment,” said Tushar Kumar, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows.
Investing in one trusted customer engagement platform to build deep relationships
Being a part of the Mercedes-Benz dealer ecosystem, Silver Arrows was already using Salesforce, but only a part of its sales processes sat on the solution. Without an end-to-end customer view across interactions, it was unable to nurture and remarket to prospects. Also, since after-sales processes were on disparate solutions, the team did not have access to a unified view that would help them provide a seamless customer experience throughout the customers’ lifecycle.
Kumar, hence, decided to deploy a comprehensive, customised solution built on Salesforce – one that would bring all their customer engagement processes onto a single platform.
“As a part of the Mercedes-Benz ecosystem, Salesforce already met key requirements such as data security and integrability. It was also the only solution that was more than an IT system,” explains Kumar.
“Salesforce is a 360 engagement tool that helps us create differentiated customer experiences at all touchpoints through the life cycle – crucial to building customer loyalty in the high-end car segment.”
Real-time information capture and visibility boost sales productivity
Silver Arrows has now automated and streamlined its sales processes end-to-end on Sales Cloud. Leads from the Silver Arrows website, the Mercedes-Benz website, and SMS-based marketing campaigns and walk-ins are all consolidated on Sales Cloud, as are all customer interactions. A mobile app helps salespeople directly log customer details from in-person interactions, and a telephony system integrated with Sales Cloud captures all phone conversations.
This kind of visibility allows a salesperson to know exactly where to pick up a conversation, even days or months later. Alerts remind managers to ensure activities and follow-ups happen on schedule.
“We now have detailed information at our fingertips for timely, personalised conversations with our prospects. With more engaging interactions, our conversion rates have doubled from 6.5% to 13%,” says Reeti Nigam, AVP – Customer Relationship Management, Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows.
With contextualisation, each interaction is more fruitful, and only 1.5 in-person customer meetings are now needed compared to the four earlier. This has freed up a salesperson to engage more prospects, boosting their productivity from selling 2.5 cars to 4.5 cars per month.
Data-driven nurture strategies boost cost efficiencies
However, in the high-end luxury car segment, decisions to buy are not made overnight. A lead needs to be nurtured over many months. The Silver Arrows team have leveraged Marketing Cloud to support them on this front.
“Marketing Cloud helps us create smart marketing journeys across email, SMS and WhatsApp so we can nurture prospects in a customised manner,” says Nigam.
There are about 160 journeys defined under the three pillars of acquisition, retention, and reference, and the team speedily creates and delivers impactful marketing campaigns against these. They can also target customers at different milestones in their journey, making communications very granular and specific.
For its digital advertising, Silver Arrows uses Marketing Cloud Advertising to power 1:1 advertising campaigns across platforms. Social listening on Salesforce Social Studio helps the team analyse industry trends and the competitive landscape.
With access to performance data in real-time, campaigns are constantly fine-tuned for maximum impact.
“Our remarketing campaigns contribute almost 20% to fresh business every month,” notes Nigam. Also, this data-driven targeting has driven down the cost per conversion by nearly 33%, while bringing in revenue of INR 20 Lakhs per month through remarketing.
Unifying verticals on a single platform for an enhanced customer experience
Post-sales interactions with customers who buy a high-end car play a significant role in garnering their loyalty. Earlier, post-sales and ancillary products and services such as finance, insurance, accessories, body repair, and servicing were all managed outside Salesforce.
Since all the information along the lifecycle of the car was not available in a single place, each vertical had a piecemeal view of customer needs. A customer too had to interact with multiple people for various requirements.
With the new, customised solution, customer information across verticals throughout the customer lifecycle is consolidated in one place, and managed through a key account manager (KAM) for each customer.
“The KAM uses the single customer view across our verticals to anticipate and fulfil requirements, and to continually enhance interactions,” observes Kumar. The customer, in turn, has a single point of contact for all their needs, and enjoys a simplified and personalised experience.
“We are the first franchisee in the APAC region to have a KAM for each customer,” states Kumar proudly.
“We are the first franchisee in the APAC region to have a Key Account Manager for every customer, who is empowered by a unified customer 360 view to tailor each customer interaction,” said Tushar Kumar, Managing Director and CEO, Mercedes-Benz Silver Arrows.
Silver Arrows credits its two implementation partners, Cloudcentric and Mirum, with working intelligently to help innovate 20-year-old business processes for a 360-customer view.
Silver Arrows focuses on gaining no. 1 status in India
Silver Arrows’ use of Salesforce for timely, personalised engagement has delivered highly favourable results. At 4.84 on 5, the dealership has one of the highest customer experience ratings for efficiency in the country, as per the latest internal survey of dealers of Mercedes-Benz in India. In fact, national and global marketing leaders at Mercedes-Benz visited Silver Arrows to study its processes.
“Speedily leveraging customer information to personalise our engagement has boosted our call-back ratios, emerging as our biggest differentiator,” says Kumar.
Silver Arrows is one of the top performing Mercedes-Benz dealers in India and aims to become number one for both sales and service. True to its value of handcrafting customer experiences, the KAM service now available to 150 customers will be rolled out to all 6500 customers.
As Silver Arrows continues to maximise value and experience across the customer lifecycle, Kumar is confident that this will help it grab the top spot. “We now have the people and technology-backed innovative customer engagement processes to achieve our goal,” he concludes.