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‘Search Starts Here’: David Sharman on Dex One’s Digital Transformation

In a fireside chat this morning at our “Search Starts Here” conference, Neg Norton talked with David Sharman, chief strategy officer at Dex One, about his company’s fast-paced digital transformation.

Sharman, who has been with Dex for a year and a half, said his company is going through an “amazing transition” to leverage better position itself to participate in the local digital advertising space.

Sharman said that Dex looked carefully at its strategy and determined that creating a truly digital savvy sales force that also knew how to make local businesses successful was its most important priority. He said that Dex realized that while it had a great existing sales force in place, the company really needed an even more sophisticated sales force that was as compelling in digital as it was in print.

To that end, over the past 18 months, Dex has completely reconfigured its sales force into a digital products sales team, a move that required a significant changeover of about two-thirds of its employees. Sharman said that Dex salespeople today can explain key digital advertising options like SEO and geotargeted mobile offerings in addition to traditional print ads, and carry around iPads to explain new digital options to customers. Sharman also talked about the company’s new online sales academy that continuously trains and provides accreditations to its sales team in digital.

Sharman said that Dex’s culture has embraced digital – from the “top-down” to the “bottom-up.” He said that the company is benefiting from customer’s long-term trust in the brand in testing and debuting new digital products.

As a result of these efforts, Dex is seeing great results in its digital growth rate, which was a remarkable 32% in the first quarter. Additionally, Sharman noted that 30% of new sales at Dex are digital.

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