From small acorns…

How a small business finance team are growing their operation with Salesforce by Performa IT


Background

About Acorn Business Finance

  • Established business and Salesforce org 2018
  • Specialists in SME business finance 
  • Average of 200 businesses per BDM Portfolio
  • 13 FTE
  • HQ in Cheltenham UK
  • 3rd largest introducer to one of the UK’s biggest funders

As a relatively small business finance brokerage, Acorn Business Finance is perhaps unusual in its adoption of an integrated, world class CRM solution right from its inception in 2018. Its founder Stuart Gibson recognised how Salesforce would give his fledgeling business a head start in efficiency and world class customer service.

Performa IT has been Acorn Business Finance’s Salesforce implementation partner since the beginning of their journey with the platform. At the time of writing in 2023, the Acorn team is growing rapidly, with Salesforce firmly established as its central operational and business development enabler.

Working with Performa IT

Value Added by Performa IT

  • Engaged in October 2018
  • Salesforce org implementation
  • Design and delivery of fully integrated Customer and Introducer portals
  • Ongoing support and refinement

“Performa IT quickly understood our org and structure. “I don’t think there are many financial businesses making full use of both the back-end org and the portal aspects of Salesforce! Performa IT had the knowledge required to work collaboratively with us to achieve what we were looking for.

“Their approach to requirements analysis and system testing was very thorough, making sure we implemented a robust solution from the outset.” – Chris Campbell, Operations Director at Acorn Business Finance.

The Requirements

Acorn Business Finance serves all types of UK SMEs with tailored loan proposals to meet their financing needs. The brokerage also markets itself as a referral partner for professional advisors such as accountants and solicitors, who may then act as introducers to Acorn Business Finance’s services on behalf of their own business clients. 

Explaining the company’s vision, Chris Campbell, Operations Director at Acorn says: “We were very keen to have something that set Acorn apart in the financial sector. Having the Salesforce CRM at our fingertips gives us the slick technology necessary to deliver innovative and unique customer service, as well as proactive and trustworthy business networking capabilities.”

Acorn Business Finance required an intuitive platform that would enable meaningful engagement with its two major stakeholders; the customer and the introducer.

The Solution

Salesforce Implementation with two seamlessly integrated customer portals

Customer Portal

  • Providing a platform for secure upload of management accounts, statements and proof of loans
  • Portal information can be directly loaded into the correct Salesforce record using drag and drop
  • Assures customers that their details are secure and accurately filed, and their funding proposal is swiftly and efficiently processed

Introducer Portal

  • Providing professional advisors with a quick and simple way of referring their clients
  • Detailed leads sent through the portal, and each stage of the opportunity can be monitored by the introducer.
  • Acorn can easily track and assign commission
  • License usage is monitored to maange licence costs and manage scalability.

Commenting on the broader impact of the portals Chris says: “Salesforce provides a slick integration between Acorn, its introducers and their clients, and gives everyone confidence in the referral process.”

Recommendation

Acorn Business Finance’s portals have been live since early 2022 and as their trusted Salesforce implementation partner Performa IT provide on-going contractual support and refinement of the platform.

“Performa IT are our Salesforce lifeline!” says Chris. “Without them we would not be able to serve our clients. 

“Thanks to Performa IT the technology we have at our fingertips is proving very effective in driving growth and adding value to our business. And I think we are just scratching the surface of what it can do for us.

“I would definitely recommend any business looking to establish competitive advantage with Salesforce to talk to Performa IT. Their level of service, responsiveness, cooperation, willingness to listen and sort issues is second to none. You can spend a lot of time looking at alternative implementation partner offerings, but you won’t get the same value out of anyone else,” says Chris.