The trouble with digital transformation is that it is everywhere. The term is so broad it can mean anything from deploying an app to adding a portal, from large scale data analytics to equipping your team with a conferencing solution. Everyone wants to claim they are digitally transforming your business. But fundamentally, the heart of digital transformation is about using new technologies to gain competitive advantage. Will Morey, Director at Pragma, explains.
It can be difficult to know where to start the digital transformation journey and where it will have most impact. We talk to our resellers a lot about what they are doing to build and grow their business and how they are seeking to win and gain advantage in a very competitive marketplace. Many of these conversations tend to focus on sales and marketing and the lead generation activity it takes to win new customers. We have made this a major area where we are focusing our resources and energy in helping our partners change their business and undertake a digital sales transformation.
The way in which you win a customer has changed. Continuing on with the same approach of telemarketing and bought-in leads is now delivering diminishing returns. Alongside this, GDPR seems to be making traditional B2B direct marketing more challenging than ever.
As we started to look at this area we wanted to support our resellers in changing the way they prospect and sell. We felt there was a huge opportunity in Digital Sales Transformation.
Research from Forrester into the purchasing journey shows that “90% of customer buying decisions are starting online.” The most surprising thing about this stat is that it is from 2011 so imagine what the number would be now. Additional research shows that nearly 60% of the buyers journey takes place before the sales person is involved and over 75% of buyers use social media to research vendors.
Buyers are better informed than ever and social platforms, web research and your digital brand play a huge role in a buyer’s decision to go with your product and proposition. Many resellers may be reassured by the fact that the decision makers they are still meeting and signing deals with are baby boomers or Gen X but increasingly the research phase of a purchasing decision is done by Millennials. If you aren’t appealing to the Millennial researcher and providing them with what they need you may not be getting on the shortlist and involved in the opportunity.
Becoming a digital savvy sales company is a big change but one that can deliver huge results. The change is not just in the process and approach used but also in the mind set of the organisation. Digital sales is about influencing the buyer as early as possible and introducing them to new ideas and opportunities. If you can add value to the buyer by helping them better understand what technology can do for them or how you can help them deliver a project you stand a better chance of winning the sale.
It is easy when looking at digital sales to immediately start thinking about the platforms you can use to drive initiatives. However to be successful on any of the B2B social platforms you need to have a message and content to reinforce it. The leading B2B platform is LinkedIn and effective use of this can help sales people demonstrate their knowledge, capability and thought leadership. LinkedIn has a range of tools embedded to help sales and marketing people get their message out. Their acquisition by Microsoft is starting to have an impact and you can see why Microsoft made the acquisition and how well it fits alongside their CRM platform and other 365 products. The free version of LinkedIn offers a great toolkit to get started with digital selling and the paid LinkedIn Sales Navigator tools are a great place to start driving a more formal digital sales initiative.
One of the pitfalls many digital sales initiatives fall into is using platforms like LinkedIn to just broadcast messages at prospects through the LinkedIn inbox. Before you can target a prospect in LinkedIn or on other platforms you need to demonstrate your value to them and share content or knowledge that helps them.
My number one recommendation is to understand the opportunities and pitfalls in digital sales. There are many great books on the subject and a good place to start is Social Selling Mastery by Jamie Shanks. Also work with your vendor and distributor partner to deliver and drive your digital sales strategy as their support in content, training and marketing can help you get your initiative off the ground.
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