- Buyers’ purchasing habits have changed dramatically, but many sales organizations still sell the old way
- Sales leaders need to reorient their entire go-to-market model to match how buyers purchase and use products
- Sales leaders can transform teams and achieve the dual aims of winning more deals and lowering costs
Three key trends are driving the need for sales leaders to digitally transform their organizations. First, B2B buyers are conducting more of their purchase journey in the digital arena and demanding the same kind of frictionless and seamless customer experience they enjoy as consumers. Second, the subscription economy continues to grow rapidly, as consumers and B2B buyers want the ability to try products, pay for them monthly, and turn them off quickly if they’re not receiving the expected value. Third, data is widely available – therefore, buyers expect highly personalized interactions from sales. B2B organizations that can respond to these trends by reimagining their buyer and customer processes will enjoy a sustained competitive advantage. But what is a digital sales transformation, and what are the key tenets underpinning a successful one?
What Is Digital Sales Transformation?
Digital sales transformation means changing the way your sales organization sells to prospects and engages with customers to match the way that buyers buy and use products today. Digital transformation requires organizations to reorient their entire go-to-market model to make it easy for the modern buyer to purchase, use and get value from their products. This includes changing the routes to market they use to reach prospects and support customers, the organizational structure that supports the sales organization, the talent they hire, the demand generation and sales execution processes they implement, and the productivity initiatives they prioritize to attack complexity.
It means incorporating data-driven selling by arming sales with the right information at the right time, and re-engineering processes to enable sales to facilitate a frictionless buyer and customer journey. Technologies such as artificial intelligence will play a big role in enabling the sales team to deliver a best-in-class experience to the digitally enabled buyer.
Why Should Sales Leaders Undertake a Digital Sales Transformation?
Buyers are demanding that organizations change the way they sell and support them and will pick winners on the basis of the offering and the entire buying and customer experience. Successful sales organizations will consistently meet the buyer in the way they prefer to evaluate and purchase products. Sales leaders have an opportunity to drive more efficiency in the sales organization by adopting digital capabilities. In many cases, the buyer’s desire for self-directed and digital evaluation of products means lower costs of acquisition and a more profitable relationship.
The Foundational Elements to a Digital Sales Transformation
There are six priorities to successfully execute a digital sales transformation:
- Sales strategy. Chief sales officers (CSOs) need to work across functions to redesign the way their organization sells to buyers, acquires partners and engages with customers. This starts with aligning with marketing and product on the persona, buyer and partner journey maps, and the customer experience. Mapping out buyer, partner and customer journeys means identifying the digital and human interactions that buyers require to make a decision and utilize a product.
- Organizational design and investment. CSOs need to redesign their current sales structure to support buyers’, partners’ and customers’ demands for a frictionless, digitally enabled purchase journey. CSOs should leverage the five key trends in organizational design – specialization, collaboration, advocacy, efficiency and personalization – to orient their sales team to sell the way buyers want to buy, and to become more efficient.
- Talent management. CSOs need to ensure that up-to-date competency maps are in place – with skills, knowledge and processes – that reflect what’s required for each sales role to succeed with today’s digitally enabled buyers and customers.
- Demand engine. CSOs should arm their sales teams with thought leadership content that’s required to start conversations with prospects in the digital arena. Digitally enabled buyers demand insights from sales above and beyond what they can already find online.
- Sales execution. Sales leaders must design buyer-driven sales and customer processes to sell in a way that’s aligned with how buyers want to buy. To do this, sales must invest in technology hat can deliver data at the right time for reps to personalize their interactions.
- Sales productivity. CSOs should focus on finding ways to reduce complexity to provide impatient buyers and customers with a seamless and frictionless experience.
Sales leaders who can digitally transform their organizations to meet the digitally enabled buyer on their terms will build a massive competitive advantage. Delivering the best buyer and customer experience – one that delights buyers and customers and turns them into passionate advocates – is the new battleground for B2B companies.