Going digital

is about connecting better

Going digital is a top management matter

Going digital in Sales is a broad term, yet the focus here is on digital technology helping companies to deliver value in every customer interaction, and not least in the sales conversations.

The interesting thing about going digital is, that yes technology is a helper, yet technology also sometimes opens new doors to markets or segments you first had excluded but now could decide to go for. Digital solutions can influence heavily on your setup in sales.

Going digital can mean changing small things – and it can mean big change: Sales transformation where customers are approached through new “channels”, and sales organisations are restructured to better match the well-informed buyers.

If a CEO or VP Sales knew, that new technology in Sales could add an extra 4% to their revenue growth would they not like to listen and understand the possibilities?

This should be the starting point. Because “Changing Sales” is more than “Changing Selling” – as in how to sell. It is about looking broader at the Sales, which customer group to service how with which sales organisational setup. It is also about how to interact with

Thereby Changing Sales and Going Digital naturally becomes a much bigger and strategic topic than just picking a technology.

From silos to the dynamic magnifier

I believe we all know the feeling of Marketing and Sales working in Silos. That was one of the reason I started Prezentor. And the same goes for other departments with some kind of customer interaction: Like Service or Product Management. In small companies, they merely blend, but the larger the company, the higher degree of specialization takes place. Marketing professionals focus more and more on their area of special competence. It makes sense but is for the alignment and cooperation bad.

Sales live in “their own world”. When presented marketing concepts and material Sales seldom reject it. It is professionally made, catchy, beautiful and hard not to like. But do they use the content in the most essential part of the selling – the sales conversation? We all know the answer. Sales is a silo.

But it is actually even worse. Sales Consultant work like a silo in the silo! They do have IT systems to support their approach to customers: ERP and CRM. They often have a company-defined Sales Method and they do get training to help them deliver that. But what actually happens in their sales conversation is a black box. Imagine knowing what is in that black box. How sales conversations are done. What works – what does not work. How different customer types reflect on your selling method and your people. Knowing if your sales team having had training in Solution Selling actually also conducts it in their sales conversations – and succeed with it or not.

Sales Enablement is a serious answer to this – or at least an approach whereby you have the chance to change it. A chance to eliminate the silos within sales, and – when done well – the silos between the departments within the company.

Sales Enablement is about enabling Sales Consultants and others with customer contact to deliver value in every customer interaction. It is about making it digital because it then becomes transparent, which is the key for data, insight and learning, and the vehicle for scalability. We need to go digital to have a chance to get data and insight. We need to move from the silos into a more dynamic and integrated approach.

I like the simple image of “The Dynamic Magnifier”. Where there are three important parts.

  1. The Magnifier: The focus on the customer and customer value created in any sales conversation and customer interactions.
  2. The Frame: A Dynamic frame, where Marketing, Service, Product Marketing and Sales cooperate with the focus on delivering customer value. Where they co-create tools and content, learn by the digital tracking, and adjust accordingly in a dynamic loop.
  3. The Handle: The Sales Strategy. It is pretty steady and includes the chosen customer segments/markets to focus on, the overall value proposition, the channels, the sales philosophy and sales method, business model, pricing etc.

I intentionally start with the Magnifier / Customer Focus. We see too many “inside-outside” approaches, and the extra strong focus on the customer and on creating value in every customer interaction and sales conversation sends a strong signal. The better sales enablement technology can help to add value in the very sales conversation the better, as that would mean that data will be gathered at the very heart of selling.

The Dynamic Frame / Evolving organization might be easy to label like that, but it should be more than a label. It is about bringing management together about creating a vision and plan for how to collaborate in delivering coherent customer experiences across function, how to engage smarter in the sales conversations, and how to learn to read and use data to become even better.

The Handle / Sales Strategy is about setting the direction, making the choices and then focusing on delivering accordingly. It should not be shaky, but still, it will be influenced by the dynamics of the frame. In an organization there can be a focus on different target groups with different solutions and sales approaches. One big magnifier but with the ability to focus even sharper on subsegments.

Sales Enablement is about this whole setup – getting the Sales Strategy, the dynamic organizational collaboration and the customer interactions in sync facilitated by the use of digital platforms. The digital part of it is to ensure to make things transparent, but at its best Sales Enablement Platforms should do more. It should add value, improve efficiency and secure a certain quality level.

Sales Enablement is the chance to challenge Status Quo, becoming even better at creating customer value, and as an organization to move ahead much smarter.

My message is: Take that change. Challenge Status Quo. Now is the time.