How PwC enabled Dineout to implement a state-of-the-art customer relationship management (CRM) solution.
As familiar as this startup story may be, so too are the pitfalls that come with expanding too quickly. Like many new companies, Dineout, which began with four co-founders working out of a garage, was a fairly rudimentary operation. Client information—these were local restaurants using its reservation software—was kept in spreadsheets, while the four friends were the ones making sales calls. “Everything was manual then,” says co-founder Sahil Jain. “We never realized how big this could get—or that we’d one day have more than 800 employees.”
It wasn’t until 2019, after increasing revenues from $500,000 to $5 million in two years (it made $13 million in 2020) that the company traded in its now-expansive spreadsheet system—which was missing information, had no data consistency and made it difficult to continue client relationships after a salesperson would leave—for a state-of-the-art customer relationship management (CRM) solution.
Dineout decided on Salesforce, which Jain says was the only CRM on the market that could help it with everything it needed. It then hired PwC, which came highly recommended from other companies in its peer group, to oversee the implementation process. While it did speak to other potential collaborators, PwC “had a level of understanding of Salesforce that was far greater than anyone else,” says Jain. “That gave us confidence that we found the right team to work with.”
Understanding business needs
While PwC’s experience working with Salesforce may have swayed Jain and his team, knowing the ins and outs of the technology is not what makes for a good transformation. The reason why the Dineout implementation was ultimately a success was because PwC focused on the company’s business challenges and then determined how to use Salesforce to solve those issues. “We didn’t just want to build a tool that would suit their current business processes,” says Miten Shah, Senior Consultant, PwC India. “Rather, their business processes had gaps and they were happy to take our suggestions on how we could fix those issues.”
Numerous people, from all different levels, contributed to the discussion, too, adds Shah. From salespeople and operations to the chief operating officer and CEO, everyone sat through a number of design-phase sessions, which helped PwC understand the company’s business problems. “We had the who’s who of the organization in these discussions,” says Shah. “Everyone was hearing us out and providing valuable observations.”
Creating a team of champions
With everyone eager to improve the company’s processes and business issues, creating the kind of culture change needed to get the team off spreadsheets and onto a more sophisticated, business-changing platform like Salesforce, wasn’t as challenging as it usually is with these kinds of implementations. Every employee could see how quickly Dineout was growing and they wanted to get better technologies in place that could help them improve their work.
Still, PwC had to get Dineout’s staff onto Salesforce and help them become familiar with new ways of working. To do this, it created what it calls a champions network, where it trains a small team of people—about 90 in this case—on the ins and outs of a platform, and then gets that group to teach everyone else. If the wider group has issues, they can go to that smaller team with questions. Jain was impressed by how well this approach to change management worked. “That small training team was able to impart their knowledge to our more than 300 sales people,” he says.
Better data, higher sales
The implementation, which was completed in November 2019, seven months after it began, has been a big success for Dineout. Its data and analytics team have far more insights into the products a restaurant is using and why sales staff may be having trouble upselling them onto something new. Sales teams can also now tell when a renewal is upcoming, they can keep track of conversations they’ve had with clients and much more.
That has improved sales efficiency by 1.8 times, says Jain, meaning that if a salesperson was bringing in $1 of revenue into the business before, they’re now bringing in $1.80. The data it’s collecting has also helped senior leaders better understand the trends driving the business, and it’s now identifying other ways that Salesforce could help improve the company. For instance, it wants to track the number of leads and conversations driven by each individual salesperson, which would then give it more insights into conversion-related efficiency rates.
While the first phase of the implementation is done, PwC is still working with Dineout. It’s demoing Salesforce’s configure, price, quote (CPQ) system, for instance, which could help them better bundle products. For Jain, all of this—the rapid growth, the business improvements, the technology implication—is still hard to believe given where he and his friends were only a few years ago. But, he says, there’s still so much more growth ahead, which is now attainable thanks to PwC’s help. “We want to be at least a $100-million business in three or four years from now,” he says. “Salesforce and PwC have been great partners for us and will play a key role in our growth as we become a global organization.”