Written by: Wael Farah, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
This comprehensive document highlights the characteristics of a traditional selling model and how changes in consumer behavior has facilitated the shift towards a digital outlook. Further covered are the general challenges encountered in the traditional selling model, the emphasis on the implications of COVID towards this model and the new selling mode – organizations should embrace. Lastly, the main steps required to launch your B2B digital transformation are extensively covered with a clear outline on how to create a long-lasting successful transformation journey.
The shift towards digital away from traditional – Impact of behaviors change especially POST-COVID, more into seamless and virtual interaction
Here lies the dilemma when many C-level executives were asked whether human or digital interaction was more impactful and effective along their customer journey?
According to a study, companies that incorporate a human touch into their digital sales typically beat their competitors. They generate five times more revenue, eight times more operating profit, this data stands true over a four- to five-year timeframe.
Practices discover that most B2B interactions have moved to either remote or digital based on a study conducted in 2021 portraying the interaction mode with suppliers at each stage. This shift towards digital is increasing as an impact of COVID and has significantly influenced the business model of the organizations.
Customers are becoming more powerful in making their own purchasing decisions.
They have changed the way they search for something, compare and the way they buy something.
Most important they changed how they interact with salespeople and what they expect from salespeople.
Challenges in traditional model vs. Solutions in modern
Yet, most of the firms are facing difficulties implementing this human-digital approach. The truth is, companies must develop the human-digital mix that is best for their business and their customers.
The following presentation will demonstrate the challenges faced in the traditional selling model and indicating the solution provided in the new selling model.
Challenges in traditional selling model – Key challenges faced by traditional business models
The traditional approach highly depends on the salespeople’s effort and skills to initiate contact and reach decision makers or in best case, to reach out on in-bound leads.
With the changes of customer behavior, it became tough and inefficient to reach customers whilst using old methods. Furthermore, with the Gen Z Salespeople and their programmed way of operation, it is merely impossible to execute.
Sales and marketing tools
Interactions in the traditional business model are usually split based on their marketing or sales function. Initiated by delivering marketing content to the customer, then by pushing sales communication, customers tend to feel overwhelmed; furthermore, the crossover between sales and marketing is not
considered in this rigid split.
Friction in sales process
With the changes in customer behavior and expectations from salespeople, a lot of friction was added to the process, which could not be solved in the old traditional way.
Additionally, without tailoring to the individual customer and customizing the sales process to the identity of each customer, this will push customers to believe that their journey is less important than completing the sale.
Companies look at how much money they are making but miss the point of how fast they are generating the money. By focusing on the dollar value, these companies pay more attention to the average deal rather than taking into consideration different factors such the number of opportunities, sales cycle duration, and the conversion rate.
Solution provided by the new business model – Overcoming obstacles by adapting your business to new modern selling
The new methodology clearly serves the scalability of a business, by building a long-term relationship with the customers starting from the way of reaching prospects through different channels and moving to introducing products or services while presenting the solution that satisfies customer needs.
Friction in sales process
The new business model offers a customer centric process that embraces each customer's needs by understanding his/her current position in the buying journey. By pinpointing customers' pains and gaining their trust, this process forces salespeople to tailor their offerings to each individual, while aligning this tailoring to the customer's buying journey. This allows customers to contact salespeople regardless of their current stage in the sales & buying processes.
Sales and marketing role
By creating an overlap between the sales and marketing touch points, we can create pull content from marketing, then initiate the sales process. However, marketing content will be integrated throughout the customer journey. By gaining insights from salespeople, the marketing team will customize their content, and this serves to a better engagement with the customers; as well as create a tailored experience, improve customer loyalty, and drive revenues.
By tracking sales velocity at regular intervals, companies can compare the effectiveness of changes in the sales process. Several approaches could be taken: Improve the opportunities conversion rates, optimize the average deal size and shorten the sales cycles. As a result, they focus on elements that improve the entire process.
Critical steps for a successful digital transformation
Path for a successful transformation – A full fledged built, execute, and sustain model
1. Define Strategy
Define your strategy first, do not fall prey to the rapidly changing technologies and innovations in the business world. To adapt successfully, you need to adopt a long-term strategy centered around the following three questions:
Where are you today?
Where do you want to be tomorrow?
What are you going to do to get there?
These questions prevent the disruption of the workflow and help companies establish a clear and concise roadmap to identify short list of high-value digital moves that build on their strengths. It also lays out the transformation plan, accountabilities, and metrics needed to bring digital strategy to life.
2. End-end customer journey
One of the most important measures to improve customer experience, lower costs, and boost revenue is to create an end-to-end customer journey based on today's customer perceptions, demands, and behavior.
In today's heightened customer expectations, It is crucial to put the following into practice by:
Re-inventing the entire journey
Redesigning the sales process to make it more customer-centric
Look for chances within every phase and its related steps of the customer journey to find Digital Opportunities to implement.
3. Initiatives & technology
The methodology begins with a detailed design thinking strategy and process, followed by the definition and conceptualization of the requirement.
Afterwards, investigate the most efficient options and based on your findings, either integrate existing technologies or develop new ones with adequate prototyping, testing, and implementation.
Regardless of the selected method, the digital activities must be aligned with the company's digital strategy, culture, and built as a growth investment.
4. Digital organisation
It's common for businesses to mandate digital change without relating it to their workforce' day-to-day experiences.
Eliminate mismatches between reality and rhetoric in order to effectively establish the correct structure and design resource roles for the transformation's success, particularly in the purpose to support next-generation sales, personalized digital marketing, data analytics, and digital coordination across all divisions.
Digitizing the core of your business can lead to greater customer satisfaction in relation to existing services or products, thus multiplying your strategic advantages over newcomers in digitization in terms of brand, customers and scale.
5. Power of data
The amount of data available has increased dramatically and shows no signs of slowing down, while analytics exposure has continuously improved and become point of focus across businesses.
Harnessing the power of data can assist your organization in leveraging your own insights to differentiate products and services in the market through innovation, as well as generate efficiencies through cost optimization initiatives.
Therefore, It is recommended to put the data to work and adapt smart technology algorithms and platforms to provide ongoing valuable and actionable decisions to drive the transformation efforts.
Heed is a sales management and data driven consulting firm focused on driving revenue growth for clients by putting science, people, and technology into selling.
Whether your commercial arm (sales and marketing) needs optimization, an entire transformation, or riding the digital reality, heed takes full ownership in getting this well crafted and executed through its three main pillars: consulting, digital, and analytics.
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Wael Farah, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Wael FARAH is an experienced management consultant, specializing in revenue growth strategies. Driven by science and industry best practices he takes pride in developing the most pragmatic and effective solutions. In addition to being a Partner at HEED, Wael has been recognized by several clients as a trusted advisor for his extraordinary commitment to bringing client success.