Transforming a CRM upgrade into an improved customer experience through Salesforce


Creating a unified view of the customer

When our client began in the early 1980s, the world was a different place. The internet was still in its early stages, industrial-grade wireless was not practical for widespread use and cloud computing hadn’t been invented. The company had built a premises-based software application from the ground up to support the needs of customers in process-intensive industries. Its platform integrates real-time distributed sensor data to drive process optimization. The company was laser-focused on its core platform and customers and grew quickly. It now has more than 1,000 employees in 40 countries. Along the way, they kept improving the application for their customers and adding to their IT infrastructure to accommodate growth. This was fine for a while, until it wasn’t.

The company reached a point where the incremental approach to IT infrastructure began to show signs of needing a reassessment. The first indicator was in marketing and sales. Marketing couldn’t clearly understand how their spend mapped to their return on investment (ROI). There seemed to be a disconnect between the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and the marketing platform. On the sales side, there was a lack of trust in the pipeline because of a low adoption rate of the CRM tools and offline tracking through spreadsheets. And these disconnects weren't just limited to marketing and sales. Across all of the customer-facing organizations, there were a total of five separate systems that were needed to get a complete view of an account.


Address the interconnected elements of the entire sales cycle

Our team suggested that the company evaluate its existing CRM vendor and the Salesforce solution in parallel, and, instead of just looking at CRM, use a set of criteria that was relevant to all of the stakeholders in the lead-to-cash cycle. There was an ecosystem that involved sales, marketing, engineering, support and the online customer community. The team provided the same use cases to both vendors and conducted an eight-week, cross-functional evaluation. While both vendors had similar capabilities, Salesforce had a more competitive price point, as well as an advanced third-party value chain to accelerate future development and help deliver a 360 degree view of the customer.


Conduct an analysis that looked at the entire quote-to-cash cycle and beyond

After the vendor selection process, the company began to implement the Salesforce lead, pipeline and account contact management modules. During this process, they gained a new appreciation for how interconnected the elements of the sales cycle really are and how they impact customer experience. The company knew they needed a more holistic approach, and asked PwC to help them implement the entire Salesforce lead-to-cash process.

Part of the implementation involved enabling their 900+ partners with the same set of capabilities as internal sales, creating a better user experience, better collaboration capabilities, better onboarding and more useful content. With this new portal, sales was able to more effectively collaborate with their partners on future prospects. And in parallel, PwC worked with the company to launch a customer community portal and a revamped support function. Within 18 months, everybody who interacted with the company’s customers was on a single platform. Through the journey, our client implemented a comprehensive solution from Salesforce entailing Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Field Service Lightning, Salesforce CPQ Plus and Customer and Partner Community portals. This was a big win for everybody.


A digital transformation that improved operational efficiency across the board, accelerated sales and drove leads for joint partner opportunities

It can be easy for a software technology company that’s totally focused on solving complex problems for its customers to lose sight of its own long-term needs. To the company’s credit, they were able to turn what had begun as a simple CRM upgrade into a digital transformation which streamlined their lead-to-cash process, created customer and partner intimacy and unified all customer-facing aspects of the business on a single platform. The results so far have been impressive:

  • 25% increase in lead conversion through integration between Salesforce and the marketing automation platform
  • 10-15% time reduction in end-to-end quote-to-order process
  • 15% decrease in email volume between sales and clients through improved collaboration on the client’s Partner Community site
  • 25% time savings through improved case automation and case routing
  • 25% increase in case deflection through an improved knowledge base
  • 20% increase in back office team efficiency and 80% reduction in order backlog as a result of moving to one system for end-to-end account creation and order fulfilment
  • New partner portal driving
    • 50% reduction in partner onboarding and registration times
    • 2,000+ users with access to deal registration, training and accreditation and collateral
    • Millions in leads for joint opportunities
  • 60% reduction in back office overhead for purchase order creation through customer Community portal 


“By improving operations and infrastructure, our client strengthened its foundation for growth and enhanced customer experience. The whole business was involved in this journey, and it represented a positive cultural evolution across the organization.”

Derek Smith
Principal, PwC

“When we thought that all we needed was a CRM upgrade, PwC acted as a trusted advisor and suggested we step back and look at the big picture. Our decision to do that has had a transformative effect on our business.”

Director of IT, Client 

Input Salesforce, output growth

Introducing a new value equation for the fully connected customer

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Derek Smith

Principal, PwC US

Paul Gaynor

Global & US Alliances and Technology Consulting Leader, PwC US

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