Bobbi Dangerfield, SVP, Global Business Services, Dell EMC
Gary Turbidy: Hello, I am Gary Tubridy, senior vice president with the Alexander Group, and I am here with Bobbi Dangerfield, SVP of Global Business Services at Dell. Bobbi, great to have you here at the forum. Thank you so much for joining us.
Bobbi Dangerfield: Thanks for having me, Gary.
GT: There is a lot going on in the technology sector. You know that better than I. What are some of the biggest challenges and trends that are impacting you in the technology sector?
BD: Gary, it is really interesting. Consolidation is happening in the market like we have never seen. You look at the internet of things, and everything is connected to everything. People want information anywhere. Anywhere, anytime. Then, you think about security challenges and threats. A lot of people talk about it as the next industrial revolution. It is really interesting. As I think about our strategy at Dell Technologies, we are positioned to drive all of those changes. We have a strategy that encompasses all digital transformation. Every one of our customers is a technology company, if you think about it. There is not a company on the planet, anymore, that is not a technology company, or using technology in some way. Everybody is going through this digital transformation.
GT: Bobbi, in the midst of all this change, sales organizations, indeed, are changing, too. What is success going to look like for a sales organization in all of this?
BD: I think it is about customer choice. We talk a lot about Omni-Channel, so allowing the customer to come in however and wherever they want. Do they want to do business with us directly, with a sales person in the field? Do they want to come in through some digital channel? Would they like to work with a partner?
GT: All three?
BD: Maybe all three. We have to think about how do all of those things work together collaboratively, otherwise, you have a lot of conflict and churn, and that is not good for the customer or us. The other challenge with the sales organization is it requires new skills and capabilities for our sales makers. It used to be, I want to buy a box, and how many do you want, and you work with the procurement manager and you take the order. Now, it is about getting into the C-Suite, or working with the Board of Directors, and having a much different conversation at the executive level about what are these big business problems, that we are trying to solve? How can we bring technology solutions to bear that address those business issues and allow our customers to better serve their customers?
GT: What is the role of sales operations in driving this change?
BD: Sales operations plays a pretty pivotal role in a couple key areas. The first is around enablement. How do you get your sales makers to transition from being the order taker to the solution seller, and being able to deal at that executive level? How do you build out a sales training approach that builds those skills and capabilities? How do you assess and certify your sales people? You are going to have people who already know how to do it, that are part of your sales force, and you have people at the other end, who probably are not ever going be able to do it, so you have to identify those people and help them figure out something different. You have this big group of people in the middle.
GT: The 60-percent or 70-percent right in the middle.
BD: That is right. Yes. How do you really help them get the new skills and capabilities that are needed? That is certainly one. The second area is around sales productivity. Sales operations has a really important role to play in helping to reduce that administrative time, whether it is taking some of the burden off through the addition of sales support people, figuring out ways to automate, figuring out ways to bring artificial intelligence and machine learning, and predictive analytics into the conversation. Then, finally, helping using predictive analytics to help make sales people smarter.
GT: As you think about it, so much change, and still more to go, this is a journey. What advice would you offer to executives who are facing that kind of transformation based on your experience and going through it at Dell Technology?
BD: To drive change in an organization, you have to start with a vision of where you want to go. It has to be a compelling vision for people to really get their minds around. Something that gets not only at the head, but at the heart. It helps them connect the work that they do every single day, in support of the company’s purpose or mission and vision. Setting that vision is really important. Being able to communicate to each and every employee in the company, what is in it for them? How does their job connect to that higher purpose? You have to communicate, communicate, communicate. You cannot communicate too much. Starting with the end in mind, which is the vision, and helping people see how to get there. Here are the things that are going to change, and why. Here is why we are going to change them and here are what the outcomes are going to be. It is really important to set that context.
GT: Bobbi, thank you for joining us. Very much appreciate your time.
BD: Thank you Gary.