More sales opportunities. More customer meetings. More business insights. With greater integration, automation and digitalisation, Clarion Events is blazing a trail in its sector.
âWeâre all about growth at the moment; in fact weâre looking to double in size within the next five years,â said Dave Cook, CTO at Clarion. âTo make that happen, we need to deliver an experience that meets the expectations of customers in a digital age.â And Clarion has a lot of customers â from sponsors to exhibitors, to delegates and visitors.
Clarion is a Trailblazer for bringing people and processes together.
As one of the largest event organisers in the world, Clarion spans 16 divisions and nine countries. It used to take 11 CRM systems to keep the companyâs cogs turning, now it takes just one. âDeploying Salesforce was a strategic decision for us,â said Cook. âThe merits of the platform are well proven, and its functionality keeps expanding thanks to continual investment.â
Due to the scale of its business, Clarionâs leaders decided to take a phased implementation approach, with Trailhead learning paths supporting the onboarding process. âOnline learning is more flexible and progressive than classroom-based training,â said Greg Sewell, Group Commercial Director at Clarion. âUsers can fit it in around their schedules plus itâs more cost-effective as it requires fewer training resources.â
Replacing complexity with consistency.
With roots going back to 1947, the UK-headquartered company organises events in more than 50 countries across numerous sectors, including Retail , Life Sciences, Energy and Resources, Gaming, and Technology. As well as B2B events, Clarion is also involved in consumer-focused events for enthusiasts, such as the Olympia Horse Show and CondÃ© Nast Luxury Travel Fair. More than one million people visit around 200 Clarion events every year.
Events are managed independently by separate business units – many of which started out life as acquisitions. This decentralised approach made it difficult for Clarionâs leaders to track and understand the overall performance of the business. âThe reports were different, the KPIs were different, the systems were different,â said Paul Osmond, Group Marketing Director at Clarion. âAlthough each business unit was very successful, processes were manual and disconnected.â
Centralising records for 250,000 customers.
The business units had equally individual approaches to capturing and storing customer records. James McMurray-Cole, Group Data Director explained: âSome records were housed in our CRM systems, others were jotted down on business cards and stuffed in shoe boxes! It was impossible to co-ordinate engagement across multiple divisions and events, impacting not only the customer experience but also investor reporting.â
Deploying Salesforce hasnât just enabled Clarionâs leaders to centralise customer records; itâs enabled them to centralise sales activities, financial transactions, and performance reporting too. And there are already lots of great examples of Clarionâs Trailblazer status â especially within its sales operation.
Driving stronger sales productivity and performance.
More than 550 Clarion sales people across 16 divisions use Sales Cloud to capture prospect and customer information, track opportunities, and arrange customer meetings. âWith all the customer information they need at their fingertips, sales teams are far more successful,â said Osmond. âWe have already seen an increase in productivity.â For Clarion, this increase means more customer meetings, more opportunities, and ultimately more revenue.
To empower its sales teams with the same access to customer information while on the move, Clarion hopes to deploy the Salesforce Mobile App. âMobile access will make it easier for sales teams to view and update information while they are at customer meetings or events,â said Sewell. âIt will also provide them with the insights they need to up-sell and cross-sell more effectively.â
Next up on the sales enablement journey is gamification, with Clarion planning to roll out screens in every meeting room to display sales performance metrics.
Boosting marketing results with richer insights.
Clarion has also centralised and simplified its approach to marketing; replacing around six email and data providers with a single platform. âPardot is really powerful and intuitive,â said Osmond. âWe can segment leads based on their engagement with our marketing, create personalised content, and reach more customers with minimal effort.â
Clarion sends thousands of marketing emails every month to potential event attendees and exhibitors, and it can now measure the results. âLead conversion rates have already risen from 4% to 10%, with lead scoring ensuring our sales people are focusing on the right prospects,â added Osmond.
The ability to prove the impact of marketing on the sales pipeline has eluded many organisations, but Clarion now has that information at its fingertips. âWith Pardot, we can not only see how marketing contributes to sales but also which channels provide the best quality leads,â said Justin Bond, Head of Digital at Clarion. âIt will help us determine where to focus our investment and efforts.â
Understanding the art of the possible.
Bond is also excited about the potential of artificial intelligence and the insights it will reveal. âIt used to take us weeks to produce a report, which meant the data was already out of date. Einstein will change all that and give us amazing foresight,â he said. âWith AI, weâll be able to identify the best time to contact a customer and via what channel. ”
To understand the art of the possible, Bond is racking up his badges on Trailhead, identifying new ways to improve how Clarion uses its data and engages with customers. And the leadership team at Clarion couldnât be happier with the results. âBy making the most of our Salesforce investment, we can unlock the full potential of our people and create even better events with higher visitor numbers. It enables us to boost productivity, agility, visibility across our business,â said Cook.