Sales and Distribution Digital Transformation: Why is it necessary? and how can Sales Leaders make it successful?

Digital transformation has ushered in every business activity, and the Sales is on top of the list. In fact, it is emerging a new way of having a fast and efficient sales operation.

John Chambers, the executive Chairman of CISCO System declared that at least 40% of all businesses will die in the next 10 years if they don’t figure out how to change their entire company to accommodate new technologies.

In such remarkably growing trade market, differentiating your business and standing on top is challenging, since it is not a matter of tools only, but most importantly, how to use and implement it within your company. Digital transformation itself can be beneficial only if understood and adopted properly.

 

Digital transformation, the new Era of sales enablement

 

Altimeter Group, the specialist research company, defines digital transformation as “ The re-alignment of, or new investment in, technology and business models to more effectively engage digital consumers at every touchpoint in the customer experience lifecycle.”

With this technology taking place in every field, automating Sales and distribution process is equally crucial in order to follow the rapid growth of the market and satisfy customers at every step of the journey.

According to Frank Lheureux, Regional VP, EMEA, JDA: “Today, the most successful companies are planning for profitability from the earliest stages, and transforming their supply chains to be more agile and nimble in delivering goods to customers.” Thereby, they are emerging new, modern, data-driven, approach that leverages increased visibility across the entire supply chain and balances customer satisfaction versus margins on an ongoing basis.

Embracing digital sales and distribution brings about real changes and results; numerous research have been conducted to figure out the key benefits of implementing an automated sales strategy. Here are the top ones:

Improved Customer Journey & Loyalty

“Speed is the new currency of business” said Marc R.Benioff from Sales Force. Indeed, it is great to have quality products, but several experiences have proved that that’s not enough. The key to gain customer loyalty is to have organized and fast services.

As the sales activity is taking new dimensions were time is the game-changer , we cannot think of any better way to follow that and make it as seamless as possible than making it digital.
Indeed, the smooth and in-time flow of data and the tight synchronization between the team, that automated processes can offer, has a great impact on the customer.

Companies who have mobile sales forces are the best example. Most of their deals are treated and closed while on the field. During a meeting with a customer, the sales rep  or Van seller is required to present the products/services, take pre-orders / orders, check promotions and stock, then deliver the goods, all simultaneously. Achieving that with 100% success has become possible only when these organization equipped its sales force on the field with devices that are synchronized, and contains all the needed information in one device. Several similar companies revealed that the in-time flow of data and the quick treatment of customer-demands this tool offers, has raised the number of closed deals, hence customer satisfaction.
There’s no better strategy to attract and keep the customer.

Enhanced Sales Operations Efficiency with minimized cost

Mobile migration in the sales and distribution process gives a high-level of performance and productivity, and by consequence, it has an impressive impact on the running cost. According to a recent article by McKinsey article published in October 2016, investing and refining the digital sales process on an average are known to bring down commercial costs by 30% and increase revenues by the similar proportion.
Indeed, having a digital process automates many tasks, which gives the agents more time and energy to focus on activities that generate more sales and income.
Moreover, armed with real-time information, sales managers can have instant access to sales agents activities, achievements, sales figures, opportunities, customer complaints, and other data used to determine sales success which help them take action and make adjustments quickly to optimize efforts. This reduces errors and lost deals.

Deeper Data Analysis

Data analysis is the reason many customer experiences are becoming better these days. For any company, in any business and sector, having statistics concerning sales activity, customer behavior, and sales force performance, is crucial in decreasing customer attrition rate, take more informed and oriented decisions, optimize team performance, and adapt network design. On one hand, this gives the company the opportunity to detect the problem and its origins, thus solve it before it causes any damage. On the other hand, it helps for a better and deeper understanding of the market and the customer orientation.

Customer data and journey mapping can lead to insights that contribute to serendipitous product and service
innovation” Brian Solis, Altimeter

Empowered Company Image

The way your company is presented is the icing on the cake. The more modernized, trendy, customized it is, the more you can attract, engage and captivate the customer. Today’s customers give so much importance to what they see. Company image, vision and culture are broadcasted -then enhanced- throughout the manner it is exposed. If any company, either big or small, has the chance to use digital interfaces when presenting its business, it needs to take advantage of that!

Let’s take the example of companies who do the direct selling. Nowadays, they are able to replace the heavy and old catalogs with digital ones that come with high-quality pictures, videos and different marketing materials. This new way of addressing the customer has proved to be an efficient way to boost brand image and gain a positive lasting first impression for any type of product presented.

Sales Leader Role: Successful Transformation Commander

 

Technology alone cannot change, unless it is merged with strong internal politics and innovative organization culture.
And regarding how unique and different the Sales unit is, emerging an effective transformation has to woven together with a tremendous internal effort to create engagement within Sales agents. When deciding to automate the Sales process, companies MUST find the best commander to lead the transformation.

The key to digital transformation in re-envisioning and driving change is how the company operates. That’s a management and people challenge, not just a technology one”, Capgemini Consulting

In fact, companies with most fruitful digitized sales process have strong leaders who exercise control, keep the team on track, establish the code of behavior and determine strategic directions.

Sales leaders who closely monitor and enforce sales process, are also conscious of the importance of the people on adopting such transformation .If it is welcomed among the team, then its success rate will be high.
Sales leaders should make the transformation energizing and empowering among their sales force by involving them in the change process and let them be part of it. It will be better to convince them, with facts, about its importance to the company and, most importantly, to them. This may be done through trainings that clarify and simplify the use of the new technology and highlight its benefit to their work flow (Digital Transformation is able to make their work easier and faster. Thus, they will be more productive, which will rise their earnings). This will boost their engagement and collaborative behavior, which would be needed to deliver a smooth migration.

Besides, they have the ability to convince the stakeholders about the importance of digitizing the sales process and equipping their agent with all the needed data in real-time anytime anywhere.

They are the ones who understand the process the most, so they are the best to know where the gaps of traditional sales process management are, and figure out the best use of technology during the sales journey.

Furthermore, the most important point is that sales leaders have a deep knowledge about the market inflections and customer behavior, this gives them the ability to establish specific sales strategies, dispense tactical sales advises and adopt the new transformation.

You can’t delegate digital transformation for your company. You and your executives have to own it. Executives need to engage, embrace and adopt new ways of working with the latest and emerging technologies.” Barry Rose, CEO and Co-founder Ross&Ross

 

Automating the sales process has become an imperative for all the companies, regardless of its activity sector. Yet, to integrate this game-changer transformation, Sales leaders role is highly crucial and important for a seamless implementation of Sales process transformation.

 

 

 

Sources:

Digital Transformation: A Roadmap for Billion-Dollar Organizations, Capgemini Consulting

How telecom companies can win in the digital revolution, McKinsey Company, October 2016

Digital Transformation: Why and How companies are Investing in New Business Models to Lead Digital Customer Experience, Alimeter Group