We’ve often heard that technology doesn’t amount to much if not implemented effectively. There cannot be a better example to illustrate it than in the case of sales transformation. If you look at the way sales operations have evolved over the years, it is evident that using technology to enable sales is no longer a differentiator but a necessary component.
Sales transformation is all about being able to leverage data and technology, to optimize your demand generation, prospecting and other sales enablement processes. It aids companies to sell to relevant personnel/businesses in an efficient way.
Modern B2B buyers want to buy from sellers who understand their business and are consultative in their approach. It boils down to being able to offer a great customer experience as part of the process. In fact, in our recent #fiindchat on sales transformation, Jim Dickie – the founder of CSO Insights, precisely pointed out the misalignment between buyers and sellers today as follows:
This means the core objective of sales transformation is to ensure organizations are more customer oriented than ever and are aligned with their buying journey by focusing on the signals exhibited by them. Organizations could leverage AI tools to understand customer intent, which offers a score of their sales propensity and more.
That said, while the sales transformation exercise gives you an amazing opportunity to redesign the technology landscape and implement new organizational structures, there are few areas that need to be taken care of.
Let’s look at each of them:
1. Getting the data part right
As we are entering 2018, we see that a lot of firms will are investing heavily in digital channels such as artificial intelligence and marketing automation for sales enablement. In most organizations, the first phase of sales transformation is the productivity phase. Before trying to improve the sales productivity, one needs to understand how sales reps leverage data to establish relevant conversations with their prospects and customers. However, the important factor to be recognized is that even if you are highly data-driven, things can still go wrong unless the data quality is accounted for. The primary reason for that is, in today’s interconnected world, if you have bad quality data, it flows across your organization, processes and business applications.
It means, marketing messages are sent to the wrong people, sales professionals waste their time trying to reach prospects who aren’t sales ready. Also, it can lead to misclassified prospect segmentation and reach out tactics.
2. Process alignment for sales transformation
Another key phase in sales transformation is using technology for lead scoring, after which the sales qualified leads are assigned to appropriate sales reps, based on region, product category, etc. This is a critical phase because – the borderlines for sales and marketing differs from one company to another.
For example, in some organizations, the role of marketing may be to manage stages prior to opportunities entering the sales funnel. Whereas in some other organizations, there’s a shared responsibility on lead conversion.
Therefore, is important to establish a closed-loop learning process to continuously improve the automation and break down the silos. This means, the choice of martech tools used should be based on their ability to integrate processes with different tools such as CRM and marketing automation software, ensuring a smooth insight to execution cycle.
3. Justification of investments
While these are exciting times for a B2B marketing or sales leader to be spearheading sales transformation – the primary factor to ensure is that the implementation doesn’t do harm even if not good.
In fact, as part of the #fiindchat on twitter on this topic, Jim emphasized on the fact that one needs to evaluate the cost of doing nothing. This means one has to understand the current customer win-rates, customer churn rate, margins and more to understand what the current run-rate is costing you today.
It also gives you a clear idea of the goals you need to set as you invest in technology, and be able to clearly set an ROI roadmap.
On that note, if you are also interested in checking out the blog post on exploring the missing link in salesforce automation, click here.