Businesses that have embarked on successful digital transformations in order to better serve their customers often agree on two things: it was a tough process to go through, and it was the correct path to take, at the end of the day.
While the process can be long and arduous, companies realize why they do it: to eliminate information silos, streamline customer data flow throughout the organization to create a complete picture of who they are serving and provide the means to serve them better and more efficiently.
Any such transformation can increase in difficulty (and scale) in relation to the size of the company; the larger and more geographically spread out the company is, the more hurdles around corporate culture, regional marketing strategies, and differences in market characteristics and selling techniques that may have to be taken into account.
Tear Down and Rebuild
Berlitz, a global leader in language instruction and leadership training for more than 140 years, made the decision to completely transform from end to end through digital technology. The company referred to it as their ‘2.0’ project. They would “rebuild from the ground up”, as their CEO put it.
The company’s long history, combined with its global span, made their 2.0 project mammoth in size and scope. Over the years, as Berlitz expanded its language training services to countries around the world, regional language centers developed their own way of doing things. The firm called upon Salesforce to help and Gerent was brought in as the consultation and implementation partner.
Sean Best was Gerent’s program manager. “Even though the company’s brand was global, they were very regional. And the regions operated almost as independent entities for many years,” he explained.
One of the customer’s objectives, according to Best, was to try to unify their business practices to eliminate duplication and overlap. They also wanted to be able to track all their opportunities that came through their pipelines around the world. They had no way of coming close to doing that with their existing, patchwork setups.
A New Kind of Customer
What the company also realized was how they were ill-equipped to meet the technology demands of customers. For decades, the firm’s language centers enrolled clients from walk-in traffic or phone calls into the centers. Today, people and businesses are used to mobile, online language learning from fully cloud-based organizations. They could receive instruction anywhere, any time – the two hallmarks of a digital age.
There was plenty to do, says Sean. Digitalizing the company’s back end operations would be a custom design by Gerent to support the client’s front end: marketing and sales. This was where many issues lay:
- Different marketing strategies from region to region and country to country in the same region
- No dedicated, in-house marketing materials
- Poor levels of coordination between marketing and sales
- No process to handle customer complaints globally
- No means of tracking contacts to convert them into leads and then opportunities
Language courses are offered in levels of difficulty. Once one level was completed, a customer would have to re-enroll for the next level. The company’s re-enrolment rate was no better than 60% and they couldn’t identify why customers wouldn’t renew. Was it a scheduling issue or budget restraints?
Further, customers who completed a level became alumnae. Alumnae who re-enrolled after a year were considered new customers – which completely skewed sales and marketing strategy.
Salesforce Marketing Cloud was the obvious choice for Berlitz and Gerent completed a successful implementation in October 2018.
It’s reasonable to say that Marketing Cloud opened the Berlitz' eyes to what they had been missing – literally. Sean Best says the company discovered a large number of previously hidden leads in its data which it was able to act on. As a result, the company closed the gap on its Q4 revenue goals. More specifically, the company was able to:
- Capture all customer interactions as data that could be analyzed and used to generate client interactions through micro-targeted campaigns
- Apply different communication strategies (called Journeys in Marketing Cloud) based on industry, region and country
- Develop common KPIs across all its regions
- Streamline reporting for Marketing
When Gerent implemented Marketing Cloud, the following modules were activated:
- Journey Builder (allows the company to create and automatically execute a communication strategy)
- Mobile Studio (allows the company to reach its customers on any mobile device with personalized mobile messaging)
- Automation Studio (the company can execute multi-step marketing and data management activities on an immediate, triggered or scheduled basis)
- Web Studio (allows the company to create personalized web pages and microsites and track customer interactions)
Following the successful implementation of Marketing Cloud, Berlitz is far better positioned to gather, analyze and act upon its customer data from all its language centers around the world. After the work Gerent did to streamline back end operations with custom solutions, Berlitz can state that they are well along the road of their digital transformation journey; the 2.0 project has proven to be a strong success and Marketing Cloud plays a pivotal role in that success.