- November 16, 2015
- Advertising, Content, Demand Generation, Global, Sales and Marketing Alignment, Sales Enablement
Tech Marketer Talks: Driving Top Line Business Growth with Global Integrated Marketing – Dimension Data
Pam Casale is Dimension Data’s Senior Vice President of Marketing and has worldwide responsibility for enabling sales to sell the Dimension Data public, private and hybrid cloud and making Dimension Data Cloud the number one destination for production grade workloads and applications. She oversees a team responsible for enabling sellers around the world with game-changing tools and tactics, and translating market demand into cloud offers that empower clients to innovate and transform using the cloud. Pam has held numerous marketing positions at high growth companies and got her start in the Xerox sales trainee program.
Can you provide a little background on Dimension Data?
Dimension Data is a world leader in Information & Communication Technology (ICT) services, in a complex and dynamic industry. Originating in South Africa, Dimension Data does business on 6 continents and now is one of the 5 operating companies of NTT Group, the telecom giant headquartered in Asia. This year Dimension Data reports revenues in excess of $8B and is on track to be a $12B company by 2018. They serve 6000 clients in 13 languages through 8 global service centers across the globe and 15 cloud data centers.
Does Dimension Data sell its solutions globally?
Dimension Data is a worldwide company with offices all over the world. We have employed TechTarget in the Americas, including Canada, Europe, Australia and Asia. This has provided some interesting learnings. Even though we translated into French and German, the results were largely in the UK, but we are revisiting our strategy there. Australia was an interesting experience for us. The privacy laws are extreme and we take special steps because the penalties are high but TechTarget was able to provide reassurance to our business there. For me, Asia was the most surprising as there was a general consensus that this approach wouldn’t work there. Interestingly, I think we hit our guarantee in 6 weeks and converted some people.
How would you categorize the major marketing challenges you faced at Dimension Data?
When I first arrived at Dimension Data, it was a time when the company was ready to transform the role of marketing and establish expectations for how marketing would impact outcomes. Historically, marketing created lots of content and supported lots of events in all the regions. Dimension Data’s business has grown organically by being an effective reselling partner to industry giants like Cisco and EMC. Now, Dimension Data’s portfolio is changing and the company is transforming successfully to a managed service company, while still maintaining a very healthy resale business. Consequently they were missing a few things, such as a centralized marketing database and an automated platform for finding and nurturing leads.
Dimension Data needed an inbound infusion of interested buyers, suspects or prospects. We set out to increase awareness and to showcase the greater Dimension Data portfolio even though our primary focus was cloud. We wanted to improve the overall PULL.
Some major challenges:
- Content was in abundance, but there wasn’t an efficient way of pushing it to the prospects or clients and the content needed to be more aligned with the sales cycle. Marketing had limited interaction with sales and even less interaction with clients and prospects. We wanted to change this and elevate the role of marketing.My philosophy is that marketing is the hub of a client focused business. Marketing works with Product Management to determine what the target customer wants to buy and Product Management defines the product to build and the product that companies want to buy and then ensures that development builds it. Marketing then makes sure that sales sells what the company builds. If any of these stages are neglected, revenue is impacted and so is company growth. This is a formula that often eludes companies.We make it a point to engage with product management, talk to sales, clients and prospects. As part of our diligence, we did an analysis of the content with TechTarget and made a plan to fill the gaps. This would help us improve the PUSH and we were also piloting marketing automation to nurture the results of the PULL.
- Another challenge was sales, in that not everyone was ready for “leads.” We had to revisit with sales how to engage with leads, assess where the prospect was in the sales cycle, and work with marketing to nurture the lead or move it into the pipeline. It was a matter of changing how sales would follow-up and how they would use the materials that we created for them. Up to this point the company had good revenue growth with profit, but the market is changing, the strategy is changing and the parent – NTT – was looking for accelerated growth. For a marketing person, this was a green field opportunity but also proved to be a significant challenge.
Based on those challenges what integrated solutions did you decide to invest in to tackle them and achieve your marketing objectives?
We use TechTarget’s Custom Content Creation services, not just because the quality is good, but because the writers are informed, the analytics available today takes the guesswork out of content, and we’re able to align better with the editorial. We can quickly adapt because we’re getting weekly results on what content is doing well, what isn’t and even visibility into “why.”
We invested in TechTarget’s IT Deal Alertâ„¢ solutions – both Qualified Sales Opportunities and Priority Engine. We started with Qualified Sales Opportunities. The staff at TechTarget spent time with our sales teams to train them on how to leverage these and use the data intelligence provided to get the most ROI. Like many companies, we have our top 300 companies. IT Deal Alert Qualified Sales Opportunities and Priority Engine working together are giving the company an elementary version of Account Based Marketing. This launched a whole new interest from sales leadership to expand the vision relative to account planning and a programmatic approach to selling back to the base.
TechTarget has also helped us develop a database to nurture and take the guesswork out of new product launches. We consider these names opt-in in most countries which is important because of our global challenges. As subscribers to TechTarget most have agreed to be approached by vendors. This has been a big help to many of the regions as they focus now on building a marketing database.
What led you to invest in marketing and sales enablement solutions and can you share any metrics you’re seeing since implementing them?
For Dimension Data, because of their legacy business, in our biggest and most profitable clients we had a very narrow view of the client organization, a shallow understanding of business drivers and the sellers had little confidence in their ability to have a bigger conversation with the client turned prospect. There’s a big difference between finding an opportunity and creating an opportunity. Qualified Sales Opportunities provide a motivation to create an opportunity. I grew up selling and I know what it feels like to be exposed in front of a customer. We wanted to give the sales people a good chance for a positive outcome. Qualified Sales Opportunities gives them that confidence. Today 4 of the top 10 opportunities are from the Qualified Sales Opportunities.
With client prospects there is already some recognition of our capabilities, a trust in Dimension Data’s hands on approach and these clients have experienced a positive outcome. While the contacts we get from IT Deal Alert solutions may be new contacts, these clients know we’re in their ecosystem.
We want to change the way that Dimension Data is selling, elevate the conversation, and broaden the sphere of influence. The IT Deal Alert solutions are a big part of this plan. In this fiscal year we’re going to be looking at more vertically focused content and we’re using IT Deal Alert solutions to help us prioritize the verticals.
What do you look for most in strategic partnerships to support that philosophy and achieve your marketing goals?
I have three guiding principles for selecting and developing a relationship with a vendor:
First – I look for a vendor partner to make an effort to know about the business that my company is engaged in.
Second – I want them to advise me like a partner or consultant, and not always try to sell me the next thing. Like the buyers who come to TechTarget, I’ve already done due diligence. I like when they want to understand my strategy and when they can make recommendations that strengthen my approach or suggest where I might be missing a trick.
Third – I simply want the vendor partner to be likeable. I want to like who I am working with. If you have a strategic partner, you’re going to be interacting a lot. TechTarget people are likeable and I’ve benefited from the continuity of coverage they provide to myself and my team. Even though they’ve been my partner at four different companies, there’s been a consistent alignment with the team I work with. I think of them as part of my extended team. Most important, they have been working with one of my team members and she has become a TechTarget rock star. She’s improved her brand in the company and learned a lot about the relationship of content, timing and demand.
When you take on a new role in a new company, you want to quickly make an impact and buy yourself some time to fix the harder problems. I feel that TechTarget is my “go to partner” for making an impact.
As a marketing leader who started her career in sales, what would you say helped you most in becoming a better marketer from that sales experience?
It gives me instant credibility with sellers and shows I have an appreciation for what it means to be standing in front of a prospect or client. They actually like to know that I have sold and that I appreciate how hard it can be. Marketing people can be hesitant to talk with sales people sometimes for various reasons, but I think if you’re willing to meet them halfway you will learn something and they eventually will share with you how marketing is helping them.
In conclusion, do you have any other advice you think would be helpful to other Technology Marketers on how to improve their marketing?
I subscribe to TechTarget and read their editorial and follow the analysts. It helps me learn and then educate my colleagues and other stakeholders using TechTarget content. I also make sure I have a pulse on what the competitors are saying and doing and look at our partners to get insight into their market approach. I make a point to engage directly at least once a week for 30 minutes with Qualified Sales Opportunities and contacts within the reports. It’s important to me that I touch the product so when I am meeting with sales or leadership, I can speak directly, without a filter about the experience.
I encourage my team to do the same. I want them to be the brightest penny in the box. Grooming and growing my team is just as important to me as growing the pipeline. TechTarget makes them more knowledgeable, trusted by sales and helps them make better decisions.