How Bill Borrelle Has Helped Digitize and Accelerate the Go-To-Market Process
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Bill Borrelle is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Pitney Bowes. He leads a global, modern marketing organization that includes responsibility for digital selling channels for Pitney Bowes (PBI). Over the past 7 years, he’s been part of the team that has been working to transform Pitney Bowes from a mailing solutions company into to a growth business that offers market leading mailing, shipping, e-commerce logistics and financial services solutions.
Below, I asked Bill to share how Marketing has been able to contribute to the transformation of Pitney Bowes in his role at CMO at Pitney Bowes.
Stephen Diorio: Pitney Bowes has undergone a difficult but impressive transformation of all aspects of its business – from reinventing the go to market process to digital transformation and product innovation. What role has marketing leadership played in this transformation, and how have you worked with your peers in sales, service, and product to get where you are?
Bill Borrelle: First, I want to remind everyone that transformation starts with leadership from the top. Our CEO Marc Lautenbach joined Pitney Bowes 8 years ago on a mission to turn a business in secular decline into a growth business. Marc provided the leadership the business needed to deliver more value to our clients – from launching digital channels, to championing go to market transformation, to investing in product innovation in mailing, shipping, and logistics markets. We’ve achieved revenue growth the last three years. And Marc has the entire organization focused on accelerating profitable revenue growth going forward. He empowered marketing to contribute to that growth by tasking us to build an outcome and growth-driven marketing team that included the remit of digital sales and service channel for our Sending Technology business as well as to improve the customer experience and better support our field and inside sales channels.
Diorio: Leadership from the top is critical to growth and transformation. How has your marketing team contributed to this growth journey?
Bill Borrelle: The three objectives that we had were to grow revenue in the digital channel which did not exist in its current form when we started, reduce our selling costs, and improve the customer experience – in particular, digital customer satisfaction which did not meet our standards. Growing revenue in the digital channel is accomplished through new sales, lease renewals, and selling supplies on pitneybowes.com. Today we sell the majority of our simpler transactions directly on the web. The second objective was cost reduction with a focus on reducing inbound service and support phone calls. We’ve been able to reduce inbound phone account servicing calls 55% (BB internal check: “by half”) by migrating those transactions to a digital sales and service channel – while achieving our third objective, which was to significantly improve the client experience. We knew our clients wanted to transact on the web, but we also knew that our experience on the web was inferior. Today, client satisfaction has never been higher on the web. Our digital customer satisfaction scores have risen to above 80%. It wasn’t easy. It was a long journey. And it took a lot of capital expenditures to improve our web infrastructure.
As a byproduct of all this effort, we’ve been able to free up sales resources to focus on growth, higher potential market segments and most importantly, deepening our client relationships. Beyond offloading the sales and services of simple mailing products and small customer transactions to online channels, some of the bigger ways we’ve helped our partners in sales is by building Virtual Demo Studios that help them visualize and sell larger more physical products in remote sales calls, and better enabling them with social selling in social media channels, sales enablement, and rich customer insights that keep us focused on our clients.
Diorio: Those are some pretty big changes to the go-to-market approach and a major shift in sales force focus, emphasis, and roles. How did you manage all that change?
Bill Borrelle: You are right. Along with my partners in field and phone sales, we had to refocus our teams on new products, transaction types, and stages of the customer journey to ensure we are creating channel efficiency and allocating the best-selling resource to the biggest opportunity.
We’ve focused salespeople on more complex and valuable transactions because the simpler transactions – a client buying supplies, a single piece of equipment that they will install themselves, or a lease renewal – can happen online. We need our valuable sales team working on complex transactions like an enterprise client that spans many locations.
From an execution standpoint, segmentation and market sizing helped to understand the opportunity, and where to focus. For example, shipping clients will have more complex workflows, a greater mix of inbound and outbound volumes and bigger packages. We had to get more precise, and data driven to identify opportunities. We’re starting to use data and analytics to create a new type of “selling book”. We’re also using IoT data from our equipment to look at usage, volume, size of package, and industry to better value, segment, and align selling messages and channel assignments.
Diorio: Can you talk more about how you have been able to facilitate that level of teamwork, alignment, and common purpose across these channels? In particular, how have you adjusted your coverage model, incentives, and other elements of the sales architecture?
Bill Borrelle: To make this happen we’ve had to constantly optimize our coverage, territory assignments and incentives — particularly as we balance coverage and interactions between the digital sales and service channel and the call center. Given the rate of customer migration and behavior change, we are adjusting our assignments in those channels every 45 days to get the interplay and mix of interaction between the call center and the digital channel right. Managing all these updates to territories, sales goals and assignments using spreadsheets became cumbersome and slow, so we automated the update process.
We’ve had to adjust many other elements of our selling architecture as we evolve. As I mentioned, segmentation gets more and more sophisticated as we mine the steps of the customer journey, target different transaction types, and better understand the relationships of customer size, industry, and behavior to shipping volume and opportunity.
As a byproduct, we’ve had to refine the roles that different channels and people play in the process. For example, Customer Service Reps get involved in more complex transactions and our digital marketing teams are taking on more work “warming up” new leads and activating renewals later in the cycle. This needs to get translated to goals and incentives to motivate the teams to focus more attention on the right products (like shipping), activities, and goals.
Diorio: What about teamwork? How have you gotten salespeople, marketing specialists, and service reps aligned with the digital sales and service channel and working together as one revenue team?
Bill Borrelle: Now you’re asking a question about cultural change, something that we take pride in across Pitney Bowes. A big factor in accelerating growth has been our efforts to create better teamwork across the different roles. Some of the ways we’ve facilitated alignment are by creating common channel structures and systems . We’ve defined a common customer journey, common CRM platform, common channel assignments, common data infrastructure, and common incentives across these teams as best we can.
Rules and policies can only get you so far. In many cases it really comes down to a 1:1 conversation with the owners of client relationships about how to best develop that opportunity.
Diorio: Can you talk more about the ways you are enabling the sales force with virtual selling tools, customer insights, and enablement technologies?
Bill Borrelle: One of the ways we are helping sales reps sell our equipment and solutions to customers is through our creation of a Virtual Demo Center that helps clients visualize how they will use our portfolio of SendTech shipping solutions in their businesses.
Using a virtual studio environment can be a game changer because it differentiates the client experience, helps clients visualize how large physical products will work in their environments, and helps sales reps be more effective selling remotely in the wake of the pandemic. Clients want to see, touch, and feel the equipment they are buying. They ask us to “bring together exactly what I am buying so I can see it in operation”.
So, we created a studio environment to support selling. It’s a large open space with lots of lights, cameras, and production support. We display all of our physical shipping technology equipment including large, medium, and desktop machines in different displays and configurations and use cases. As you move through the studio, you can see the equipment in action – finishing, folding, sealing, and shipping packages. We staff the studio with experts and demonstration staff, and sales reps can access it with their clients in virtual calls.
We are continuing to experiment with different platforms to refine and evolve our virtual selling approach to adapt to customer needs and continue to improve the selling experience. for example, we’re experimenting with different virtual whiteboarding technologies in consultative selling and developing augmented reality platforms to help clients experience what it is like to be in one of our ecommerce logistics fulfillment centers which are the backbone of our ecommerce and logistics business.
Diorio: What other ways have you been able to use digital technologies and advanced analytics to create more leverage for your revenue teams?
Bill Borrelle: Our digital selling infrastructure includes systems that help sales reps sell better in social channels, better utilize our selling content, and automate certain selling tasks. As much as I’ve talked about digital channels, we also have a responsibility to better enable field sales. Beyond the virtual demo center, the big ways we did that was by deploying new sales enablement content management technology, social selling, and call center automation. Our content management tool, Asset Central, houses all the content, case studies and demos that enable the field. We introduced social selling by giving LinkedIn Navigator licenses to field salespeople, and phone-based reps.
Diorio: You’ve really executed on the core drivers underlying transformation of the commercial model – leadership from the top, teamwork across functions, incentives to create common purpose and using technology as a “force multiplier.” How do you plan to take your growth to the next level?
Bill Borrelle: I see data and insights as the next frontier for unlocking more growth and value for our customers. Our digital channels, devices, and marketing and sales technologies are generating new IoT of data we can leverage to sell better and improve the customer experience. We’ve got an assortment of initiatives under way to leverage new sources of data. We’ve recently partnered with a Customer Data Platform, Snowflake, to organize all that information about customers to inform better campaigns and customer actions. We’re starting to use conversational intelligence and NLP (Natural Language Processing) to mine our customer conversations for feedback to help customers onboard, solve their problems, and deliver better service. And we’re continuing to find ways to use technology to combine first party customer data from our digital channels with third party customer insights to develop richer signals of buying intent, churn, competitive activity and upsell opportunities for our sales teams.
Bill Borrelle is Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Pitney Bowes
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