"The Ferrari of products" - DPD's Head of Salesforce on why the platform delivers value for the courier firm

Madeline Bennett Profile picture for user Madeline Bennett February 9, 2023
Delivery firm DPD was a pioneer with Salesforce 13 years ago. Today, the platform underpins critical business functions for the company.


Delivery firm DPD has been using Salesforce since 2010, back when the cloud and SaaS were seen as mainly suitable for SMBs, on-premises was the primary way of delivering enterprise apps, and there was a lot less competition in the market. 

Flash forward 13 years and DPD currently runs Salesforce across 39 departments, mainly in central functions. So while the software isn’t directly involved in the delivery of parcels, it’s responsible for DPD’s marketing, finance, HR, call centers, sales and CRM. The firm began using the technology for sales back in 2010, and then added the first version of its call center with just emails in 2013 and added phone calls in 2014. The delivery firm has since added Sales Cloud, Service Cloud and Salesforce Marketing Cloud Account Engagement (formerly Pardot) for B2B marketing.

Despite Salesforce’s longevity and footprint within DPD, the platform needs to continue to deliver in a more crowded SaaS market than the one in 2010,  according to Adam Hooper, DPD’s Head of Salesforce:

I'm challenged very hard in my job to make sure that we're getting value from Salesforce constantly. We spend a lot of money on Salesforce. The fact that it drives parts of our business is great, but we want to keep getting value from the product. Prices go up every couple of years. There are lots of alternatives out there.

But given that DPD needs an enterprise platform capable of supporting its £2 billion business, he adds:  

We've bought the Ferrari of products. We like to think of ourselves as the top of our game in what we do delivering parcels, and we go out there and say we use the best technology available. That's part of our DNA as a business, and that's the reason why we have Salesforce.

Part and parcel

Prior to the original Salesforce rollout, DPD was using SalesLogix (now Infor CRM) but wanted a platform that offered more flexibility and usability, especially around onboarding customers and managing their journey. 

There are around 2,000 Salesforce users within DPD. One challenge is during peak time, its busiest period from November to January, the company increases its call centers by about 40%. It is built into the firm’s contract with Salesforce that it can uplift for certain months of the year and have that flexibility. 

Outside of peak periods, DPD delivers 1.5 million parcels every day, powered by over 7,000 vehicles, and 80-plus sites including a £100m superhub that can sort up to 72,000 parcels per hour. Jonathan Pratt, Director of Sales and CRM at DPD, says:

Salesforce is responsible for helping us to manage customer contacts around those one and a half million parcels – though clearly we don't get contact for all of them.

For the DPD sales team, Salesforce is crucial to winning new business, and retaining and upselling existing customers. If a customer suddenly stops trading or is on a downward path where they're reducing the amount of parcels they're sending, Salesforce will usually pick up on that before a human does. This information then gets presented to a sales agent to act on. Hooper adds:

We used to anecdotally track why customers were leaving us, but now we can pinpoint down to a depo or, if we really wanted to, an individual driver who is causing problems with customers. That's all through the data that we get from outside of Salesforce, and then the processes that we have within Salesforce to understand customer retention and customer losses.

Salesforce Service Cloud supports the two distinct sets of customers DPD serves: business customers, such as major retailers, that send parcels via the company, and the individuals receiving them. Call center staff get access to data via Salesforce, so when, for example, Marks & Spencer calls with an enquiry, they can take the opportunity to deal with other issues at the same time or pass on a relevant piece of information, as everything is tied together in one system. 

For consumers receiving parcels, Salesforce is key to DPD being able to give real-time updates on the parcel. If a van is delayed due to road works, every parcel in that van can get flagged in Salesforce to tell the consumer this parcel will be late because of road works. Hooper explains: 

We can drill down to that level of detail within Salesforce to give a better experience to people that are contacting us. No-one contacts DPD to say, thanks for delivering my parcel, they contact us because they've got a problem, I need some help. It's about how can we surface data to our guys in the call center to make that that experience as easy as possible.

Catching up

DPD has been running its current sales solution since 2017, and there are imminent plans for an update as both the business and the platform have moved on. Advances around AI and data could help DPD spot opportunities or problems faster, Hooper notes:

We need to catch up a little bit. There’s lots of nice automation, lots of clever stuff. It'll be interesting to see what Salesforce continues to do around AI and IT analytics to see how that can help us grab those opportunities for selling that we're not always catching. We have a lot of data in Salesforce that we're not always brilliant at doing stuff with.

The plan is for a redesign of the sales platform that will surface best in class behaviors and practises to DPD’s sales and account management teams. Pratt says:

I'm looking for Salesforce to be able to bring these to the surface and then share that information with the rest of the team to either improve their chances of winning a deal, make more money, make sure we retain that customer and understanding all the data that we've got and that we're sharing. 

We capture many bits of data in all aspects of the life cycle of the customer. It’s bringing that all together and understanding which customers are at risk, which customers are ready to upsell to, which customers can we offer better solutions to, and to use AI to grab that data and surface it for us.

There are capabilities within Salesforce that DPD isn’t using today that will enable the firm to access this kind of information. The overall priority for the tech team is doing more with data, which is the key to everything in its business. DPD wants to find ways to expose more of the powerful data that lives within Salesforce out to the rest of the business, and use that to make and influence decisions. Unlocking the power of the data is the next goal for the firm.

Looking forward, DPD is consolidating all its IT on Google and Salesforce, and that will remain the strategy for the next five years. Where the firm is developing its own technology, a key part of the conversation is whether to build it in Salesforce or in Google. Hooper concludes:

Then we've got a very clear roadmap and clear sets of rules around what gets built where 


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