Digital transformation is redefining business operations. Digital technologies are reshaping the way sales teams operate, converting prospects to customers with the help of “digital” engagement and customer service solutions. Many top 50 global companies have welcomed success because they embraced digital solutions at the right time. These technologies help improve brand perception and enable brands to exceed client expectations.
An increasing number of sales leaders are adopting digital transformation technologies to revolutionize the sales process, take advantage of market dynamics, and ensure they are future-ready. Sales leaders need to keep a close watch on up-and-coming technology trends and incorporate into their go-to-market strategies and client interactions where they can bring the most value.
For growth, sales leaders should:
- Embrace digital client engagement methods for ongoing client / prospect nurturing for a modern and simplified customer experience.
- Incorporate technologies like RPA, machine learning, cloud, and data analytics to save time, reduce the cost of sales, condense the sales lifecycle, and improve win ratio.
As products and services become more commoditized, consumers become more selective. Gaining client mindshare digitally via an outstanding customer engagement experience is imperative.
Sales Growth via Digital Transformation: Firms Who Got it Right
With an increasing number of millennials with buying power, and their inclination towards digital-first, sales leaders are being forced to change traditional sales approaches and methodologies. As an example, Apple Inc. focused their sales and marketing strategy on what modern consumers wanted, E.g., – Apple took advantage of the Oscars telecast (one of the most watched awards shows) for a high-profile launch of the iPad tablet. They made use of a platform where modern buyers where with a simplistic ad in creative vision, formatted like a video instruction manual. This made the viewer immediately familiar with how easy it was to use an iPad. This, among other strategies that show they have a keen understanding of buyer psychology, helped iPad sales to boom.
Digital technology has transformed customer habits. Smart phones, apps, machine learning, intelligent automation etc. allow customers to get what they want almost exactly at the moment they need it.Their methods of communication and engagement vary substantially as compared to the previous generation. This is where a technology-driven, socially active organization can win some extra points in the buying decisions. Eg., Air BnB, the world’s largest digital-only accommodation provider without owning any real estate, has enjoyed exponential growth by utilizing digital technologies like social media, mobility, responsive website technologies to enhance communication and engagement with clients. Everything from bookings, payment, and verification is done online along with a virtual tour of the property. Their business model and communication strategy focused on providing a digital-focused and hassle-free experience made them quite relevant to today's traveler personas ranging from millennial seeking global experiences to executives who travel regularly.
The digital age has also compelled companies to focus on innovation in services, customer interaction, product development and sales and marketing. Businesses who have invested in digital marketing channels and social media marketing tend to gain results faster. Eg., Jetblue started using Twitter to address customer queries and complaints quickly and transparently, and today is known as the most trusted airline brand in the US. Using Twitter as a platform to market their brand has worked extremely well for their sales and marketing team. With around 1.96M twitter followers currently, they managed to revolutionize the traditional airline marketing strategy altogether.
Digital Transformation: Which Digital Technologies can help Sales?
Technology has made a massive impact on every department within an organization. Data is an important factor in this digital shift. Sales, a key function in any organization, needs to be willing to adopt a digital-driven, tech-savvy, and sometimes, disruptive, approach in developing sales strategies.
I am a big follower of Simon Sinek's "START WITH WHY" which emphasizes three questions - Why, How, and What. The “Why” defines your purpose, “How” defines your process and “What” defines the result of Why, as proof. Advanced analytics and intelligent automation tools like RPA, IoT, and machine learning can give sales executives access to expansive historical data and computing power making it easier to answer the “WHY”. Data, when harnessed well, can also provide accurate insights / predictions to improve the scope of sales opportunities and conversions. The sales process becomes less uncertain and more data-driven, powered by efficient digital tools and advanced analytics which revolve around the “what, why and how” of customers.
To change the game, Sales leaders should partner with their internal counterparts including Marketing and IT to become more fluent in the digital technologies available and build a strategy for innovation where possible. At a very high level, let’s take a quick look at a few technologies that can help sales teams innovate their processes:
- Big Data Analytics: While big data isn’t a magic “conversion” wand for sales leaders, it offers the ability to analyze and understand their performance and how they can improve further. As it evolves, sales leaders can gain actionable business insights on customer behavioral patterns in real-time, allowing them to deliver each client the most-suited products and services based on their particular interest or need.
- Intelligent Automation: Intelligent Automation, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and chatbots, all supported by Cognitive technologies and Artificial Intelligence (AI), can provide sales with the information they need to effectively follow up on leads but also manage time-consuming, manual, repetitive or mundane tasks. AI can help sales leaders focus on high-value client interactions while bots manage the repetitive stuff. The data generated by these bots based on their interactions also help sales build better client profiles and customer engagement models which fine-tune sales and customer service strategies toward success.
- Cloud & Mobility: With communication and data playing an important role, cloud computing solutions have transformed the way decisions are made on the go, resulting in smoother inter-departmental and client communications. It is highly cost effective when implemented right. In just one example, Cloud has streamlined the sales process allowing flexibility, while ensuring data is accessible to the sales team during critical client decisions from anywhere in the world but still highly secured. In similar way, with enterprise mobility solutions, proper devices (tablets, laptops) are connected to information sources like ERP, CRM, files and folders through the cloud. Mobile apps provide quick access to customer profile and order data, content like presentations, or support tickets to improve win rates and increase customer satisfaction.
Digital transformation services leveraging modern technologies and tools can accelerate and streamline the sales process. The challenge is how to effectively integrate these technologies into sales focused systems and processes to drive growth. To learn more about how we help sales teams embrace digital, contact us.
Coauthored by Shweta Joshi.