“Marketing is at the forefront of digital transformation initiatives”: Dell Technologies

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Spotlight on Canalys Channels Forum | ChannelDrive.in

Innovative marketing is the doorway towards digital enablement for a lot of enterprise and SMBs today and Dell Technologies is enabling its partner community to embrace innovative marketing tools in order to ensure that they feel confident in using latest technologies. 

As part of the company’s participation at the recently held Canalys Channels Forum 2019 in Taipei, Sudip Saha, Senior Director, Partner Marketing, APJ, Dell Technologies speaks with Zia Askari from ChannelDrive.in about the innovative marketing activities that Dell is driving today.

Tell us about the innovative marketing activities that Dell Technologies is bringing to the partner community.

At Dell Technologies, marketing partnership is not a one-time posture but a continuous process. When it comes to marketing tactics and using different technologies to enable marketing, our partners are at different stages of maturity.

In many of our customers’ organizations, marketing is at the forefront of their digital transformation initiatives. Therefore, our engagement with partner marketers aims to ensure that they feel more confident in using the latest technologies and methodologies to do marketing in today’s digital world.

The two primary pillars for our engagement with partners are: Aligning with their priorities and enablement. No priority alignment makes any sense if we’re not enabling our partners to go and be ready to do that. In this year, particularly, we’re focusing greatly on enabling our partners on the marketing front.

Last year, we organized SPARK to bring the marketing people in a partner organization together to create a news ideas and creative ways of driving the business for the future. It was held in Vietnam last year and Melbourne this year. We had 75 partners attend the event in the first year, and over 100 in the second year.

This shows that our conversations with partner CEOs is resonating with them – they see marketing as a growth driver for their success in the business and hence they are also investing in dedicated people who take care of marketing in their organization.

Bigger partner organizations have dedicated people handling marketing but not the smaller-sized organizations who may only have a person handling marketing, and this person often wear multiple hats. It’s difficult for these people to hone specialized marketing skills, so you need someone who can continue to drive dedicated marketing for these organizations. This is one of the things that we’re trying to influence partner CEOs while also enabling the partners who are ready to employ more and new ways to marketing.

What are some of the innovative tools that Dell Technologies as an organization is delivering for the partner community on the marketing front?

We’re using a lot of technologies for marketing today. Our partner marketing portal allows partners to leverage content and messaging for their campaigns. There is a dedicated section for marketers where they can download assets, campaigns and materials depending on the marketing tactic that they would like to employ. E.g. if they are doing an event, they can download templates from our Campaign Demand Center.

Partners can also activate the campaigns directly from the tool using the Advanced Technology support which we’re providing. For partners without in-house marketing engine, they can use the digital marketing tool to blast emails and create their campaign execution.

They can also do web syndication – if they have a website but no dedicated page that talks about Dell Technologies’ portfolio, they can use APIs to replicate a page that will give more information about Dell Technologies portfolio in their website. Partners are also able to conduct social marketing on their company’s LinkedIn pages, employees’ personal pages depending on the content they would like to amplify.

In my mind, the partner community is not doing enough in utilising social media or the marketing tools. What is Dell Technologies doing to educate the partner community especially on the marketing side? 

Education happens on two levels. First, partner CEOs need to believe that marketing can be a differentiator. Globally, we’re seeing a very progressive trend where analyst research is showing that 70% of partner CEOs are now believing that marketing is a true differentiator for them to deliver business success for the future. That percentage used to be much lower a couple of years back.

Secondly, now that the partner CEOs believe in marketing, do they have the right resources and team to enable and train them. SPARK is one of the platforms but it’s only an annual event. We need to do a lot more smaller-sized SPARK in the countries. Besides that, we also have a lot of communication with the partner community.

We’re regularly communicating with them on industry trends, latest campaigns and product launches upcoming to keep the partner marketing community well informed. Keeping them informed ahead of time and set their expectations. Then give them the platform where they can experiment these things and then do the training through a marketing institute. We have a Dell Technologies Marketing Institute that not only trains them but also provides formal accreditation to partners. We also do quarterly webinars as it’s not always possible to engage with them frequently face-to-face.

We ensure a good mix of industry trends, knowledge sharing, best practices across geographies so our marketing partners can benefit from knowing the success stories in the other regions. Through these efforts, partners are now seeing a lot more lead generation, conversion into deal registrations and therefore higher revenue.

We also heard a lot about technologies such as AI, software-as-a-service. Keeping these technologies in mind, what kind of trends do you see happening in the marketing space in terms of tools

For most of our customers, marketing as a function is probably one of the frontrunners for them as they embark on the digital transformation journey. The backbone of the digital transformation is data. How much of customer data do we have?

Interestingly, at Dell Technologies, we’re making a huge amount of investment in a customer engagement platform. It’s almost like end-to-end customer intelligence cycle, which allows you to do a true 360-degree marketing with customers.

Think about it in a simplified manner today, you have your CRM data about the customers – their buying history, frequency of the buys etc. Then you also have your marketing platform related customer data – when are they attending your event, webinars, visiting your websites & clicking onto content, downloading content.

Then you also have your sales cycle data – pre-purchase, marketing engagement data, and post-purchase of services data and whether the customer has been satisfied, challenges they had and our response time.

Combining these internal data and external data allows you to determine what the customers are doing, and this gives you much better predictability about the customers’ next step and you can design and frame your marketing campaigns accordingly.

Dell Technologies is already embarking on this customer engagement journey in America and EMEA and will soon launch the customer engagement platform in one quarter’s time in APJ. The platform captures all customer data, whether it’s led in a direct motion or partner-led motion.

If we have the data and the intelligence, I’m confident that a few quarters down the line, we will be able to share this data back to the partners to let them know the trends which we are seeing in their customer accounts and propose for them to take these marketing tactics and execution.  There is tremendous opportunity when it is AI-powered. The more data we bring in, the more self-learnt the tool would be and the better the predictability.

Full video of the interaction can be accessed here

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