They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, but DLL is showing ‘them’ wrong. “We are listening, even if it means we change what we do and have done for the last 50 years,” says Rafe Rosato, Chief Innovation Officer of DLL. Rooted in its history, DLL remains committed to supporting the communities in which it operates by offering financial services, expertise, manpower, in-kind contributions and more. Rafe says, “Ultimately, our mission is to first do good in the world.”
DLL has kicked off a new journey in which they leverage diversity and the power of scale and partnerships to help them in becoming a value-led, customer-centred business that will fuel growth— naturally.
Forwarding the Strength of Community
Rafe shares the DLL story: “DLL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Rabobank Group, which is a Dutch cooperative bank. The bank itself has been in existence for over a hundred years. DLL was launched in 1969 by five individuals who worked for Rabobank. They started up this little Dutch equipment finance company when a client asked if Rabobank would be interested in financing equipment and providing a lease product.”
Rabobank itself emerged from the Raiffeisenbank and the Boerenleenbank, two banks modelled on an agricultural credit cooperative established by rural German mayor Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen (1818-1888). Raiffeisen believed that credit cooperatives could structurally improve the daily lives of rural people and bring an end to suffocating usurious practices.
Rafe continued, “The Raiffeisenbank was an early version of what we would refer to as a credit union now. And essentially, those two organisations came together with the belief that the community was important and the idea that financing the community was critical to its strength. So, therefore, those who were successful in the community pooled their money to promote and support others so that they could likewise be successful.
“The way we translate that today is that there are many businesses in the world that are looking to acquire equipment and technology that generates value in a community – whether it's in goods and services, whether it's employment, or whether it's just general economic activity. At DLL, we are partnering for a better world by providing financial services to communities so that businesses can get the goods and services that they need in order to create value for their customers. And ultimately, every day are we ask ourselves, what have we done to further the strength of our communities?”
The Power of Scale for a Better Customer Experience
“The power of DLL is our global scale, the diverse portfolio of the industries we operate in and our ability to provide scalable solutions and a seamless experience around the world,” says Daniela Weitmann, Head of Digital Transformation at DLL. She continues, “That global scale is one of the key differentiators for our success today. It's a particularly critical advantage as we fuel our digital transformation.
“There are some things that we are focusing on in our digital transformation. The first one is we are creating products that are informed by what our customers want and need. This is critical. Our second area of focus is to move away from letting technology dictate what type of experience we provide to our customers. Rather, we are putting the customer at the centre of everything we do and allowing their input to influence and shape our digital solutions.
“We know that our customers want a premium, consistent, and seamless experience. We know that our customers want self-service and through multiple channels, such as mobile chat, email, phone and more. Therefore, we are leveraging the knowledge and experience that we have to deliver amazing customer experiences at a global scale.”
Rafe further explains the imperativeness of understanding customer needs. “Part of our value proposition is this concept of co-creation and the idea of authenticity. We don't have all the answers, but we have a willingness to find answers. When we talk about our customers, we really don't think of them in that traditional supplier/customer relationship sense. What we're looking to do is really create a partnership with equal contributions to the outcome for each party. It would be easy to say we provide payment solutions for our partners, but our partners need many more things than just some way to pay. They need new ideas. They need new access to markets. They need training. They need tools. They need new products and services.”
DLL aims to bring more customer-friendly options, such as utilisation products, and scale it across DLL’s long list of partners and geographies. Rafe says, “It is very important and vital to our success that we really understand the customer needs. And then leveraging those needs to identify commonalities across different channels, geographies and industries, and create scale. How does one industry benefit from the learnings of another and vice versa?
“Our global reach is putting us in a position to simplify the equation. It creates easier access. And if we can create easier access through these types of partnerships, it'll poise us to really accelerate our growth, and more importantly, the growth of our partners.”
Customers: The Epicenter of Digital Transformation
Across the spectrum, customers are calling the shots. Having worked for big-name brands for many years, Daniela would know. She shares, “In the retail world, we say that in the end, the consumer decides, not your boss. It's not the strategies that you put on paper. It’s the consumer that will decide how to access your brand. There are three main aspects that are driving consumer choice, and if we make a parallel, to our world, those three main drivers are access, experience and price.”
Looking at the consumer trends that are making their way into the 'business to business’ world, Daniela says, “The first one is that consumers want whatever, whenever. Therefore, it’s critical for us to provide that self-service capability. The second lesson is that consumer patterns are shifting based on the experience and price parameters that we considered sacred in the past.
“It's experience versus transaction, it's premium versus value. At any point of the customer journey, relevant experiences will provide a lifelong relationship with your customers, not a transactional one.”
DLL has been advancing on their digital transformation journey for many years, “I like to believe that bringing in diverse leaders is a testament to how serious DLL is about our digital transformation,” says Daniela.
She continues, “The main shifts we are experiencing in digital transformation is that we are now starting with the customer at the centre and working ourselves backwards to see what the shifts are that will enable our business growth and the growth of our partners going forward, knowing what the end-user wants and needs.
The DLL Partnership Ecosystem
“We've operated for 50 years with our core strengths in financing and risk management. Our core strength has not been creating unbelievable user experiences in a digital ecosystem. So that's why we're pulling from the outside and looking to partnerships to really, truly further our understanding.”- Rafe Rosato
When it comes to choosing the right technology and solution partners, Daniela says, “There are three things that I usually like to reflect on when we look into ecosystems. The first one is our identity, purpose and values and simplifying what we offer, so people understand. The second is our agility. We need partners that will complement and enhance our agility in this fast-paced world. And the third one is how we are going to scale? Is it going to be a territorial expansion, are we going to expand to other services, or is it going to be towards different demands? Those three aspects are critical when we look into which partnerships to select when we look into ecosystems.
“We've got a number of technology and solution partners that we work with within our digital transformation and within our CRM program. You have to choose wisely because you are with these people on a day-to-day basis, and you need to have some shared values. We've partnered with Salesforce, Cognizant and Traction on Demand as our core partners for our CRM program. It's really about understanding who their people are and ensuring they will mix with our people. Do they understand our strategies, values, mission, vision, and can they contribute to it? Those are key things. You want to be able to pick people and organisations that will help you see around the corners and call things out and help bring your organisation along so that you can reach your full potential and really maximise the efforts and the investments that you're making.”
Rafe explains that in leaving sales and changing roles, he began to see things in a different light. “What dawned on me was that as a company, we did not have a unified way of understanding who our clients were. With over a thousand commercial representatives in 30 countries, we had very different means and understanding of who our clients were. And that's an existential risk because you're only as good as that one pinpoint of a person in the field. And we needed to pull together and gain a better understanding so that the other members of our organisation would understand who our clients are and what their needs might be. And with that, the entire global organisation then becomes exponentially better.
“We started a process with Salesforce through some innovation efforts a number of years ago. Salesforce allowed us to use a CRM system in a manner that was right for us. It was done with the mindset that using the tool gives all of our members a better way to understand who our customers are. We have put a lot into successfully setting it up, allowing us to truly leverage it and really get the value out of it.
Mathew Moore, Global Head of CRM at DLL, picks up the conversation from there. “With Traction on Demand, we ran a traditional RFP process almost two years ago now. Almost from the get-go, when we met the team at Traction on Demand, we could tell there was something different about them just in terms of their approach, their language, and the thinking that they had. As we went through rounds of interviews and responses, we recognised that Traction on Demand was the best fit for us from a cultural standpoint, but also a willingness to have that persistence and flexibility that would bring the right thinking and experiences and could flex with us as we navigated deploying and expanding our Salesforce and CRM footprint.
“DLL has got a fantastic team, but we recognised that we had some gaps that we needed to fill. We recognised pretty quickly that Traction on Demand had that scale and had those experiences and could really come alongside our people and compliment them and help us to accelerate our digital transformation journey.
“The organisation has heavily invested in our CRM capabilities with Salesforce as a core of that platform, and it’s not just investing in the technology; it’s investing in the people and the process to understand the customer journey and the experiences that we want to create. The organisation has brought forth the right resources in terms of the right people and external parties, as well as the technologies to really dive in and recreate the ways of working.”
Building a Stronger Future Through Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
At DLL, everyone gets a seat at the table. “The most important part about our company culture is driving diversity throughout the organisation and giving each member a voice in the outcome. We are a consensus-oriented type organisation, and that's because our lineage over the last hundred years was really built on community. This created cooperative fields throughout everything that we do” stated Rafe.
“What we're looking at right now is how we can bring in voices from different backgrounds, overall enhancing our diversity. We have an intense focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in our organisation because if we get that right, we can collectively make our future brighter and more rewarding. It’s a process. We're certainly nowhere close to where we would like to be, but I believe that we're taking the right steps to being a more diverse and inclusive organisation.