This is my second of two pieces focused on Dell’s Annual Analyst event. Dell’s CMO, Karen Quintos, held a round table to talk about how Dell is using analytics to create solutions and address customer needs worldwide. On stage with her: Monique Bonner, VP Global Enterprise Services and Software Integrated Marketing, Aongus Hegarty, President EMEA, and Bobbie Dangerfield, VP Commercial Sales and Operations.
Dell is mining the information it has on customers, markets and trends to provide increasingly tailored communications that better inform customers of Dell’s services and products targeting the concerns these analytics identify. Targeted communications connected back to strong analytics is one of the emerging methods marketing organizations are using to optimize their marketing spend and campaigns. Analytics provide the promise of turning marketing into a very powerful tool to drive revenue and assure customer loyalty. Dell’s use in this regard showcases that it is implementing an industry best practice that is still rarely followed in technology companies that sell tools in this class.
Consultation at the Core
At the core of a customer engagement is establishing a consultancy using tools like Salesforce.com to better manage customer relationships. This allows better targeting of solutions at the real need. Dell used an example of a customer that came to the company and wanted to replace some very expensive hardened hardware devices. After analysis of the customer’s problem, Dell instead proposed a secure service that would provide secure data access using a variety of hardware devices that were far less expensive and could be selected by the teams actually doing the work. This both reduced the cost of the solution and increased its utility. The case example was a medical provider in an emerging market.
The point is that by focusing on the problem rather than the hardware, Dell was able to craft something that better addressed that problem, not just churn the customer hardware base.
Analytics showed that Dell needed to improve the consistency and competency of its sales force. To address this problem internally, it launched the Social Media and Community University (SMaC-U) effort, which is designed to raise overall sales competency and consistency in the sales process. The SMaC-U helps assure that Dell policy and best practices are passed and assured across that sales organization. This is another good use of analytics and showcases how the sales process can be improved significantly.
Dell uses NPS, Net Promoter Score, to assess how it is doing with customers and to help the company focus on what is important to customers. Since this program has been started, Dell has demonstrated a 39 percent improvement in customer loyalty year over year. One of the tools it uses measures Social Net Advocacy (SNA); Dell knows at any given point in time how customers view Dell, positively and negatively, and the firm can act on this information in real time. It also uses NPS internally to monitor employee loyalty and has found these scores have improved strongly as well, largely as a result of better customer engagement and feedback on its social successes. The subtle message is that while other firms often struggle with programs that seem to pit employees against each other, Dell has moved to metrics that reward employees who engage with customers better and who collaboratively help Dell achieve its corporate goals. This is in sharp contrast to most companies, which seem to focus so much on individual accomplishment that the employees often work against each other as they compete for individual rewards.
Dell has certified 10,000 employees who are engaged socially with customers worldwide and believes it is more deeply engaged with customers, not only than ever before, but than everyone else.
Red Cross Example
Karen used the example of Red Cross, which had discovered that an SMS program could raise massive amounts of funds. Dell helped the Red Cross to better mine the SMS messages to not only raise more money but to better deploy people on the ground, getting care more quickly to the areas and people that most needed it. This not only helped funding but the effectiveness of the resulting efforts, providing the best returns for the funds expended. This is a use of analytics that saves lives.
Overall, I’m a huge fan of companies demonstrating how they are using their own solutions to improve their own performance and customer loyalty. If a company aggressively becomes its own best customer, it more intimately understands what other companies are struggling with. With analytics, if the tool is used well, the firm gets the dual benefit of not only understanding the deployment issues but understanding what makes it different from the customers it is serving. The massive increases in NPS scores, both internally and externally, showcase the kind of benefits that analytics can provide any company, and the fact that Dell is able to first demonstrate this benefit itself is incredibly powerful.