Shifting from proprietary systems to best in class
Prior to using HubSpot, Agoda’s B2B Partner Development team was using an in-house CRM built by internal teams to support over 1,000 partner reps.
However, it required large amounts of time and resources for developers to maintain and develop new features for an in-house CRM that supported a partner organisation of this size. Moreover, the developer team were also responsible for other high priority business projects that would drive larger value for Agoda. The time savings gained from moving away from an in-house system can then be allocated to more strategic and impactful developer projects.
Limited tracking and high administrative load
At the same time, the proprietary CRM had a high administrative load, which demanded a lot of time from the sales teams themselves.
It was cumbersome to update CRM with data, and as a result it could not present itself as a single source of truth for the Partner Development team. As Pierre Honne, Director of Partner Development at Agoda, puts it: "We’re focused on reducing admin and freeing up our partner development team to do what they're good at - delivering great experiences for our customers".
Insufficient alignment and visibility between roles
Without a centralised platform to equip the Partner Development team with a complete view of customer touchpoints, it gave rise to many overlaps and limited sharing between the different roles.
Inefficient onboarding experience
Prior to using HubSpot, it took 3 months to effectively onboard new employees to the Partner Development team. This was because a new employee had to navigate multiple systems to compile all the necessary information needed to get up to speed.
The switch to HubSpot
The inefficiencies and inflexibility experienced by the Partner Development team meant that they could not respond to the rapidly changing consumer travel behaviour quickly enough. The team understood that businesses that have the foresight to anticipate future customer needs and invest in the right systems and processes will be better positioned to take on the rapidly evolving future.
As such, the Partner Development team embarked on a search for a new CRM. They tested several CRMs including HubSpot and evaluated solutions based on the following criteria.
They needed a CRM that:
- Was easy to adopt and could be rolled out within 3 months
- Gave them the flexibility to customise according to their requirements and workflows
- Could be fully managed in-house without any third party developers
After conducting paid pilots to evaluate a number of solutions including HubSpot, Zoho to name a few, the team saw the most success with HubSpot and decided to make the switch.
Pierre adds, “Today, HubSpot is the core CRM platform for Agoda’s B2B Partner Development team and we look forward to continued growth with HubSpot and giving our team the tools they need to deliver exceptional experiences to our B2B customers.”
A single source of truth to drive an omni-channel sales strategy
The first key step was to bring the whole Partner Development team onto the same platform. HubSpot enabled the tracking and consolidation of all touchpoints, such as how partners are interacting with Agoda and their engagement with marketing assets, on a single contact record. All employees had full visibility on where their prospects are at in their customer journey, and this allowed teams to seamlessly progress prospects to the next step without disrupting the customer experience.
This not only improved the customer experience, but also increased employee productivity and efficiency. Employees no longer had to pull information from multiple sources to serve their partners. By aligning the entire Partner Development team onto a unified platform, Agoda identified and eliminated overlaps, and facilitated better collaboration.
Onboarding new employees with ease
Since implementing HubSpot, the Partner Development team successfully reduced onboarding time for new hires from 3 months to just 2 weeks. Not only was HubSpot a much more intuitive platform to pick up, but the fact that all customer information was on a single platform provided important contextual information that accelerated learning.
In addition, the Partner Development team relied on the Playbooks tool to streamline the training process by providing new employees with the resources they needed to do their jobs as effectively as possible. The Playbooks tool displays interactive content cards in contact, company, business and ticket records that team members can reference and create standardised notes when speaking with partners.
Deeper insights with HubSpot-Twilio integration
A key requirement of Agoda’s CRM of choice is its ease of customisation. One of the ways Agoda has customised its CRM to meet its needs is through integrations. The team relies heavily on the HubSpot-Twilio integration to get deeper insights into conversion paths and forecasting. With HubSpot, they knew how often to call a partner, but had no other insights into the sales process and conversion paths. With the integration, they now know how long each call takes, and they can compare that to specific products they offer for deeper insights.
Driving performance and efficiency across a 1000+ Partner Development team
Agoda has seen massive improvements in business efficiency and performance since coming on board HubSpot. Thanks to the consolidation of information on a single platform and HubSpot's ease of use, the team has reduced call preparation time by 50% and average handling time by 31% and has seen significant reduction in inbound requests as a result of partner delight. The Partner Development team has been able to deliver superior customer experiences, which in turn, grew the Partner programme.
At the same time, moving on to HubSpot has enabled Agoda to be nimble in adapting to rapidly evolving consumer travel behaviours. “During times of volatility, making quick pivots is key. Aligning our teams on one unified CRM platform has made this process significantly easier. It has enabled us to better collaborate with our partners and offer the desired conveniences and flexibility that travellers are seeking,” Pierre elaborates.