The Reason Going Private Has Changed the Game for Sales Makers at Dell

“We can do whatever we feel is best for our customers!” Bill Rodrigues exclaims enthusiastically.

I was intrigued as well as everyone else in the room by this powerful statement. Dell’s President of North America & Global Sales was describing the role of sales maker within his organization. Rodrigues—who has been with the company for sixteen and a half years—was speaking about Dell’s investment in growing the sales organization. And right now, it has never been a better time to be a part of it.

Why is that?

“Because being a private company allows us to do some unique things, especially for the customers we serve and the industries we are in,” says Rodrigues. “We only have one thing to think about—which is, the customer.”

This total focus on the customer is a message that has resonated with team members ever since our company went private in late 2013. As team members, we see exciting investments and long-term planning that is a lot harder to achieve as a public company. As Rodrigues points out, our customers are telling him that they can see a difference. There are no shareholders. It’s just us and the customer. And as a result, Dell is in a much better position to serve the needs of the customer.

“Our focus on the customer also resonates with the sales teams across the company. We are a unified force passionate about winning with ‘One Team, One Goal’ in mind and to serve our customers,” says Rodrigues. 

How does this extreme focus on the customer help a sales person?

“I’ve built a career in sales and even though I’m leading a team, I still consider myself a ‘sales person at heart’. We have created an environment that is better for our customers and our people. We have made a number of acquisitions to bring value-added solutions to our customers in areas that businesses can leverage to drive efficiencies and differentiate in the markets they serve. Customers talk about things like security, virtualizing client, big data, data center optimization, legacy mainframe migration to x86, and of course cloud. We can assist customers in each of these areas. The technologies they need to propel their businesses forward are in our solutions portfolio,” adds Rodrigues.  

Why make such a large investment in growing the sales organization at a time when many competitors are scaling back?

Rodrigues points out, “We value our people. We wouldn't be hiring hundreds of people if we didn't. This is a key strategic ingredient to the long term success of our company. If you are a public company right now you are concerned with the fact that the market dynamic is very different than a year ago. This year there is no XP migration driving a significant increase in client refresh volume. In most cases, as a public company, the automatic thought process is one of scaling back and cutting costs. We are doing just the opposite! We are investing. We are investing in our customers through our people for the future.”

For obvious reasons one of the key drivers for public companies is around achieving Wall Street quarterly expectations. In the last several months, I have been blown away by how many meetings I have attended that have the future in mind and looking at what will position best to win now and more importantly position us to win in the future. I have never been part of a company that actually had a five-year plan. For a team member listening to Rodrigues, passionately describing how sales makers are building the future of the company, it is refreshing. 

“We understand the value our people bring to our customers as well as our business each and every day. Their number one priority is getting to know their customer’s business to the degree that it becomes perceived as a competitive differentiator by the customer. Is this a reasonable expectation? Absolutely! I hear from customers all the time that one of the primary drivers for them doing business with us verses the competition is the account team. If you love to sell and you love dealing with people and customers—this is the place for you! The future here is bright. Taking a longer term view with a maniacal focus on customers and our people creates a triple-win scenario. A win for the customer, a win for our people, and a win for our business,” says Rodrigues.  

Dell continues to be aggressive and investing in our channel business as well. We announced $125 million in new investments for Channel Partners at Dell World. We have grown that business to be greater than 40 percent of our overall revenue and continue to prioritize the channel. These sales makers will help hunt for new deals with customers, while driving more opportunities for our partners.  

What makes a great sales person at Dell?

“I want people that are great customer advocates, passionate about what they do and are going to invest he time to really understand their customers’ business,” says Rodrigues, “If they do that and have a great understanding of what we have to offer—the conversation with the customer becomes relatively easy. The customer views you not as a salesperson, but as someone that sincerely has their best interest at heart. Some of our best become perceived by the customer as an extension of their team and put themselves in a very unique position of becoming a trusted advisor.”   

Rodrigues indicates that being successful at sales isn’t about being all things to all people. In his words, the best sales people are able to “call it the way they see it.” They provide the best consultation to the customer, no matter the outcome. This is never an easy task on its own, but when sales professionals are able to leverage internal and external resources, like they do at Dell, it changes the game.

This brings us back to that statement that got our attention in the first place: “We can do whatever we feel is best for our customers!”

This is a powerful advantage for any sales person considering their next move in their career. Bill Rodrigues has never been more excited about being with Dell. And now we know why. 

If you are a sales maker and looking to change the game by doing whatever is best for your customers—we want to talk with you. We are rapidly growing our inside sales and account executive team in the United States, Canada, and across the globe and we invite you to check our latest opportunities at

About the Author: Eric B. Smith