It took Dialogue Group 19 years to build a business worth £13 million; it took just another two to take it to £30 million. “We’ve not only reinvented our business; we’ve reinvented SMS in the enterprise space,” reveals Perry Offer, Dialogue’s Global CEO.
Salesforce has been fundamental to this transformation, helping Dialogue to work smarter and innovate faster. “If you have an idea one day, it can be a reality the next,” says Offer. “Salesforce doesn’t enable incremental change; it enables transformational change.”
Dialogue is at the forefront of the application-to-person (A2P) text messaging market, and is leading the charge against fraudulent use of mobile networks for messaging traffic.
“We saw a new business opportunity around A2P traffic, and we grabbed it,” explains Offer. “As an SME, if you don’t move fast enough, your competitor - who could be two doors or two continents away - is going to eat your lunch.”
And the A2P SMS lunch is set to be a real feast: it’s predicted that annual traffic volumes will top two trillion by 2017 1, with the market tipped to be worth $70 billion by 2020 2.
Dialogue hopes to eventually land around £100 million of this market, but it must keep evolving and growing to achieve this goal. “Every company has to decide what platform they are going to build their business on,” says Offer. “For Dialogue, Salesforce is that platform.”
The company began its Salesforce journey in 2008 with the deployment of Service Cloud. It has since added a range of other solutions that touch every business process – from delivering projects and creating new customer accounts to providing technical support and managing holiday requests.
“By tapping into the Salesforce AppExchange, we can deploy solutions to commercial, operations and finance, and tie them together to get a 360-degree view of the business," says Offer.
Despite the growth of business apps, Service Cloud remains at the heart of the Salesforce implementation and Dialogue’s transformation. “When we decided to change business direction, we also had to change our business processes,” explains Offer. “We used Service Cloud and Force.com to develop templates and workflows that help maximise productivity through greater automation.”
Using Salesforce Communities, Dialogue has also created a community for customers where it can share A2P SMS market analytics captured by its pioneering SMART Sentinel tool.
“Exploiting big data analytics will make our offering more compelling, and help mobile operators monetise their A2P messaging traffic,” says Offer. “With Community Cloud, we can create an unforgettable customer experience that people will be talking about for years to come.”
To ensure mobile operators know about the new tool and Dialogue’s pioneering approach to carrying A2P traffic, the company is set to embark on a major marketing push.
Using Pardot, a marketing automation tool that forms part of the Sales Cloud family, it will be able to create campaigns and customer communications with less effort and expense.
Dialogue has already made some significant efficiency gains since first deploying Salesforce – especially within its finance operation. As Offer confirms: “It used to take up to four days to do a credit check, now it takes a few minutes. Despite growing the business, we’ve not had to grow our finance team.”
With all commercial, operational and financial data captured in one platform, reporting is not only easier but also more accurate. “Salesforce is both our tripod and our camera lens. It provides us with stable business foundations and valuable insight,” says Offer.
For Offer as Global CEO, his information priorities are new leads and old debts – both of which he can monitor via personalised dashboards developed on the Salesforce1 Platform.
“With the dashboards, I can spot ups and downs on a daily basis,” explains Offer. “We’re now looking at developing KPIs for every role in the business, so we can keep tabs on our performance.”
Conversation threads on Salesforce Chatter, an enterprise social networking tool, also help Offer take the pulse of the business.
“Chatter helps cut out the noise,” he says. “It also provides a full history that can be accessed by everyone in the group, unlike personal email or instant messaging accounts. The more information you capture centrally, the more insight you have into the business.”
Dialogue is just as passionate about developing its people as its solutions. After participating in an event with the Salesforce Foundation for disadvantaged youngsters, the company hired two interns who are now full-time employees.
“They pitched to us, and we pitched to them. As an SME, we offer our people a great opportunity to be in the innovation front-line,” adds Offer.
For Dialogue, the A2P revolution is just beginning. With Salesforce at its side every step of the way, the company will be able to keep unlocking new opportunities.