Subaru Canada is a successful high-end automobile firm with a network of 90 dealers across the country. While its sales representatives were equipped with a library of sophisticated marketing material including top-quality photography and videos stored on its SharePoint platform, the company recognized a problem: sales representatives were either required to take clients to the back office to share relevant information from the corporate website, or download and print the materials to share with customers. This made the sales cycle more time-consuming and cumbersome, limiting the representatives’ ability to quickly provide prospective buyers with engaging visuals, full information, and comparative data that could successfully close a sale.
Subaru Canada wanted to put its marketing tools at the fingertips of its sales representatives, no matter where they were: on a showroom floor, in a parking lot, on the road, or place of business. Its dealerships needed a mobile solution that would strengthen their competitive position by supporting sales representatives through professional presentation data regardless of location.
Subaru Canada turned to Cognizant Microsoft Business Group (formerly New Signature), a member of the Microsoft Partner Network with Gold competencies, which has created StoryTeller, a cross-platform mobile app and packaged cloud solution that dramatically transformed the way Subaru conducts business. The New Signature team developed a customized version of StoryTeller for Subaru Canada. Branded as Subaru Connect, the solution gives sales associates the ability to quickly access, refine, and select targeted sales information – including video and photographs on their mobile devices – free from the need for Wi-Fi connectivity. This breakthrough technology delivers an exceptional customer experience and improved sales.
Because Subaru employees were already familiar with SharePoint and Subaru Canada wanted to make the transition to the new app as smooth and cost-effective as possible, the Cognizant Microsoft Business Group team built the app on existing technologies. For mobile accessibility, they transferred existing SharePoint data through Xamarin, a cross-platform development tool. The dealers’ credentials on their corporate Active Directory are also connected to the data in SharePoint. Handled through Azure, the enterprise resource planning tool Dynamics AX allows dealers to generate quotes, look up client records, and check on vehicle inventory and reservation availability. Sales statistics can also be sent from the sales associates to provide updated data for corporate analysis. Microsoft Intune enables management of the devices. For adaptability, the app was developed for compatibility with Windows, Android, and iOS devices. However, Subaru Canada chose Microsoft Surface Pro3 tablets, running on the Windows 8.1 operating system.
I'm really impressed with how StoryTeller has taken the functionality of Subaru Connect to the cloud. Our sales representatives at dealers throughout Canada use Subaru Connect to enrich customer interactions with compelling marketing collateral on the fly and access to CRM, putting us well ahead of our competition. StoryTeller allows organizations without existing investments of on-prem infrastructure to quickly and cost-effectively take advantage of the same features & capability.George Hamin, Director eBusiness | Subaru Canada
Because StoryTeller integrates SharePoint Online, sales and marketing teams are working with a familiar interface, which means a minimal learning curve and no need to keep a separate content management solution updated. The file synchronization for offline use supports sales interactions, while the Dynamics CRM integration allows representatives to create and manage sales leads. Supporting Office 365, there are no new software installations needed, and content and leads are managed in the same central locations.
With StoryTeller, employees can prepare marketing materials ahead of time, specifically geared to each client, and provide a personalized and professional presentation, complete with up-to-date statistics and visuals. When the marketing assets are shared with a prospect, StoryTeller automatically enters the data into Dynamics CRM for lead-tracking. An email is then sent via CRM Online with links to the appropriate assets, and if a prospect downloads the shared material that activity is captured. This allows the sales representative to follow up more effectively, knowing exactly which pieces of information were viewed by the prospective client.
The Subaru Connect version of StoryTeller has been a powerful tool for Subaru Canada, which has distributed 300 tablets to its dealers to date. The integration of the Microsoft technologies, delivered through a mobile app, allows Subaru’s sales team to make powerful presentations to their clients, anywhere. With the ability to show prospective customers full vehicle details, side-by-side feature comparisons with competitive car models, and engaging visuals, the solution helps sales representatives close the deal on the spot, maximizing sales conversion rates at their dealerships.
Not only has mobile access to integrated technologies provided Subaru’s sales representatives with more powerful marketing tools, it also allows immediate access to the sales statistics and customer data that inform strategic planning. Cost savings are realized through more efficient communication strategies, both in dealer/client relations and dealer/corporate reporting. The dealerships have also seen enhanced employee morale, with sales representatives taking pride in the contemporary customer-facing tools and in the future-looking corporate team that initiated the solution. And perhaps most telling, immediately after implementing the mobile app, Subaru achieved a new all-time record for monthly sales across Canada.
Microsoft recognized the Cognizant Microsoft Business Group work on Subaru Canada’s Subaru Connect branded version of StoryTeller with the 2016 Microsoft IMPACT Award for Enterprise Cloud Packaged Solutions.