Dreamforce 2015: How Dell rebuilt its lead management process with Salesforce

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Dell was on a mission to rebuild its lead management, and so it turned to Salesforce for help. Having the right CRM solutions is critical to any company’s successful operation, in order to ensure that sales, marketing and support efforts are all working toward a common goal. But fine-tuning can sometimes go too far, adding confusing complexity and degrading the experience for company reps and customers.

“Dell had over-customized everything,” admitted Bryan Shaw, senior marketing manager for global CRM and lead management at Dell, during a presentation at Salesforce’s annual Dreamforce conference in San Francisco.

“Our old lead management process prevented us from selling,” added Shaw. It’s a terrible customer experience when someone wants to buy something but can’t, and Dell quickly realized the need to revamp its lead management to be much more intuitive, with a better user interface.

To that end, the company laid out a set of goals as it embarked on its journey to rebuild the company’s cumbersome lead management process. Putting the customer first by increasing data-driven interactions for a more personalized experience was the first order of business. Enhancing sales productivity by routing higher quality leads to the right reps helped sales meet quotas. Flexible CRM infrastructure supported the needs of marketing. Finally, using out-of-the-box technology and industry standards simplified processes and increased automation.

“Using Salesforce out of the box and following SiriusDecisions best practices” were critical to rebuilding Dell’s lead management, said Shaw. There was a also a concerted transition to using data to drive automated decisions, with predictive machine learning routes coming from the right receiving function, not intuition.

Lead management 2.0 at Dell features a cleaner user interface, with all leads scored and prioritized for reps. There is a renewed focus on user experience. With less reliance on intuition and more focused approach on analytics, the end result has been a marked reduction in complexity. This, in turn, has helped Dell sell more.

What lessons has Dell learned from rebuilding its lead management? Shaw says companies looking to do the same should “patiently listen to everyone’s input and advice, but stick to industry standards and Salesforce best practices.”

Second, while writing service level agreements (SLAs) might be easy, enforcing them is hard. Companies can solve that problem by building their SLA into their lead management processes.

Third, use the Salesforce Success Community. “It’s an invaluable resource that helps align the business and IT,” explained Shaw. Next, be selective during early stakeholder identification and inclusion.

Finally, follow this simple rule: “Customers first, sales second, marketing third,” said Shaw.

Our Dreamforce 2015 coverage continues tomorrow with more sessions recaps. Stay tuned!

Photo via Brett Wilkins

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Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins

Brett Wilkins is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for U.S. news. Based in San Francisco, he is the editor and publisher of Moral Low Ground and is a Yahoo! Featured Political Contributor.