Aligning technology and business strategy helped News Corp transform its sales processes, according to the publisher’s technology chief.  

Speaking at Salesforce’s World Tour event in Sydney last week, Dominic Hatfield, CIO of News Corp, said it was vital technology and business work together to identify a goal and design a blueprint for how to achieve it.

The Australian publisher’s sales department has undergone a transformation process to move from being product-centric to customer-centric, re-evaluating its operations to get the most out of its existing technology investments.

At the end of an 18-month journey, the biggest lesson Hatfield learnt was to “stop doing technology projects and start doing business projects”.

The transformation required executive endorsement from both a business and technology leaders.

“If you don’t have that alignment you will really struggle to drive forward,” Hatfield said.

Sales Silos

Historically, Hatfield said, the sales organisation focused on products and geographies.

“As a result of that we had siloed platforms, siloed systems and siloed products. That created an inconsistent journey and inconsistent experience for our clients and salespeople,” he said.

Those silos led to adoption challenges with Salesforce. Without a clear purpose and with many platforms in the technology ecosystem, sales staff could bypass the Salesforce platform, he said.

As part of the transformation News Corp wanted to make Salesforce “the primary place to work” for its sales team.

“We’d invested in [Salesforce] for quite a while, we had Salesforce for well over five years when we started that journey, we wanted to make sure we could maximise that investment,” Hatfield said.

“We didn’t have a thought to throw it out and start again. The capability that’s in the platform was clear and we wanted to make sure we optimised it. It was about joining the technology strategy and augmenting that with the business strategy so it became one. That really is the key to how we turned that corner.”

To do that News Corp moved its sales operating model away from focusing on products and geography to identify customer needs and value. Hatfield said the technology organisation also re-evaluated its own strategy, technology stack and its ecosystem of partners.

“18 months later we have a consistent selling process across the platform. We have integrated products that we can bundle, package and price. We have campaign tracking and other reporting that gives us analytics into the success of our sales programs and our customer programs,” he said.

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