Q&A: Carolyn Sewell – Toll Global Express

We interviewed GM of Digital & Telesales, Carolyn Sewell, on how she navigated the transformation journey at Toll Global Express.
 

Blackdot: Hi Carolyn, what’s your current role?

Carolyn Sewell: I’m the General Manager for the Digital and Telesales team at Toll Global Express. Toll is a global logistics company that has business units in all sorts of areas of transport – we do air, road, rail, sea, and we also do recruitment. I think most people would be quite surprised by how diverse the business is.

 
BD: What sparked the need for Toll to begin transformation?

CS: We needed to engage in a transformation project because we had absolutely no visibility of our smaller client base. We had this massive long tail of customers, and we had no touch points whatsoever to them other than a once a year letter – generally with a price increase, or just some information around fees and surcharges. We didn't reach out, we didn't engage, and we really didn't even know where to start. We heard for years from our customers “we want a single point of contact, we want a single invoice” but we weren't able to achieve it. We changed our CRM earlier this year and we knew that Salesforce was potentially going to give us some capability, but we didn't know what. The biggest issue we had was that being a fairly resource-lean business, we didn’t have the expertise in the digital space to know what we should and shouldn't be doing.

“We had this massive long tail of customers, and we had no touch points whatsoever to them other than a once a year letter.”

Carolyn Sewell, GM, Digital & Telesales – Toll Global Express
 
BD: How did you approach the project, where did you begin?

CS: It was a really big task, and to be honest it took us quite some time talking in-house about what capability we may or may not have, and looking at some external providers and what they did well.

 
BD: How did Blackdot get involved?

CS: We actually learned about Blackdot from one of my colleagues coming to one of the functions in Sydney. I met with the team and we engaged in a scoping exercise. They really partnered with us exceptionally well; they were an extension of our business for a period of time and really got into the nuts and bolts, delving into our data, our client base and our processes. At the end of it they were then able to offer solutions on how they thought we could turn things around to create a better customer experience, and also to really engage with our people.
 

BD: What were the outputs of the actual project?

CS: Our data was terrible, but Blackdot were able to work with what we had to segment the data into different industry types, so we had a very clear focus of where the majority of our longtail customers sat by industry, across five or six in total. The next process was to look at integrating Salesforce, which we had changed to in the beginning of the year. We bought the basic package and had a lot of functionality that we didn't really know how to use – we didn't get a lot of the training in that area – and the team at Blackdot were fantastic. They helped us maximise the functionality we had within our Salesforce CRM and to introduce the marketing component, which we hadn’t known what to do with. To actually be able to have a marketing platform linking in to your Salesforce CRM and producing an output was amazing for us, and something that we never thought we would be able to achieve. Working with Blackdot was something that I will always remember to be the most successful step that we've taken in digitalisation.

“To actually be able to have a marketing platform linking in to your Salesforce CRM and producing an output was amazing for us, and something that we never thought we would be able to achieve. ”

Carolyn Sewell, GM, Digital & Telesales – Toll Global Express
 
BD: If you had a crystal ball, what do you wish you’d known about transformation before you started?

CS:  Probably how hard it was going to be! I mean you always know it's going to be hard, but I think that the reason a lot of transformations fall over is because they don't have clear direction. Communication is the key – at times, people just assume information is being passed down, so I think communication is really important at in all directions.

– Interviewed by Blackdot

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