Did you know that 90% of organizations fail to become digital? It’s primarily due to factors like; not having an exact plan, skill gaps, cultural resistance and lack of alignment between businesses and IT. Yet, the ones who suffer are the sales reps. That’s because adapting to the digital sales transformation means less time for selling. Without the tools, knowledge and preparation to leverage the digital-first world that B2B buyers prefer, sales reps spend as much as two-thirds of their time on administrative data. The time they could spend talking to prospects your competitors are talking to instead. Don’t let your reps fall behind. Keep reading to discover 3 best practices to follow and ensure you survive the Digital Sales Transformation.
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What is ‘Sales Transformation’?
Undergoing a Sales Transformation is when sales organisations make an intentional effort to align their processes, technologies, and people. The point of doing so is not only to grow the business but to achieve organisational and financial growth in a purposeful, predictable and efficient way.
What is Digital Sales Transformation?
A Digital Sales Transformation (also known as DST) is the process of integrating digital technologies into all aspects of your company’s sales operation. In general, it’s also the broader subset for the business and cultural shift known as Digital Transformation (or DX).
The digital transformation in sales includes everything from automating repetitive tasks and using data analytics better to understand customers’ needs, problems and trends.
Overall, the goal of the digital sales transformation is to make the sales process more efficient and effective. As a result, increasing revenues and profits.
Digital Sales Transformation (DST) Vs. Digitization: What’s the difference?
While Digital Sales Transformation and Digitization may seem interchangeable, they’re not. More so, a company that chooses to digitize some processes, but not all, don’t necessarily transform anything in particular.
For instance, if a company were to change from fax to email, all they’ve done is digitize a process. But the process doesn’t change because it’s not modified in any way.
Yet, what does catalyze digital sales transformation is the data you produce as a by-product of digitization.
When companies learn how to use this data to uncover areas for improvement within their organization, they often gain a significant edge over their competitors who haven’t yet.
To summarise the difference between the two, Digital Sales Transformation requires organizations to accept and embrace technology. So much so that it is a fundamental concept of the business’s core strategy. Digitization, however, is more of a one-off optimization of processes.
5 Key Benefits of Embracing Digital Sales Transformation
1. Increase Productivity
As digital sales transformation focuses on streamlining processes by implementing technology, they make workflows much more efficient. As a result, companies boost productivity at both an organisational and individual level.
For example, research has shown that sales reps spend only about a quarter of their time selling to customers. By automating repetitive tasks, you’ll ensure salespeople are focused on selling.
2. Improve Customer Experiences
Now, more than ever, customers have high expectations for digital experiences. They expect endless choice, low price, and fast delivery. As such, it’s no surprise that Customer Experience is the new battleground for companies trying to differentiate themselves. Considering Gartner reports that more than two-thirds of companies say they compete primarily on customer experience.
One way to use the Digital Sales Transformation to differentiate your brand is to demonstrate how much you value your customers’ privacy in this digital age. For example, you can give customers control over how you collect and use their data – empowering them to decide what you do with their information. Remember, people only do business with people they know, like and trust.
3. Stronger Resource Management
Most companies use hundreds of applications. Digital transformation consolidates information and resources into an easy-to-use suite of tools for business. Rather than dispersing software and databases, it consolidates company resources and reduces overlap.
4. Gain a Competitive Advantage
A successful digital sales transformation ensures you use up-to-date sales techniques and materials, which help be more effective when selling to the modern buyer.
5. Increase Revenue
The fact is that businesses that undergo a digital transformation improve their profitability. Consider these results from the SAP Center for Business Insights and Oxford Economics:
- 80% of organisations that have completed digital transformation report increased profits
- 85% say they have increased their market share
- Most leaders (on average) expect 23% higher revenue growth than competitors
5 Pillars of Digital Sales Transformation (DST)
A successful digital sales transformation requires these five pillars of digital change:
- Understanding digital customer buying behavior
- Re-allocating sales resources
- Revising coverage, quota & compensation
- Automating sales workflows
- Becoming data-driven
3 Best Practices for Surviving Digital Sales Transformation
Adopt AI for Sales
Studies show that sales professionals only spend about 34% of their time actually selling. By automating repetitive laborious administrative tasks at an everyday level, salespeople spend more time doing what they should be doing; building relationships and selling solutions to prospects’ problems.
Not only is AI for sales taking the weight off, but it’s also taking it to the next level with automated lead follow-ups, routine touches and engagement.
But, like all new technology-based implementations, there will be some potential obstacles organisations need to address before getting started. Barriers can appear in any of the following areas:
- Management: It may be necessary to build demonstrable use cases to persuade executive buy-in from key stakeholders if your budget is on the lighter side
- Data: Organisations must ensure they possess robust data to secure a 360-degree view of their customers
- People: Sales teams stuck in their ways might find adopting new processes difficult or even fear becoming redundant in their role as AI for sales technology continues to develop
Regular Sales Coaching
Employees are likely to learn something new and immediately forget it. According to research, learners forget approximately 50% of a training within one hour of the training, with this figure increasing to 70% at a mere 24 hours! Within 30 days, the amount forgotten increases to 90%.
Developed by German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus in the 1880s, the Forgetting Curve below demonstrates how quickly memory retention drops after learning new information. Ultimately, to negate the effects of the forgetting curve in your sales training, learning how to reinforce training is key to maximising ROI.
When undergoing digital sales transformation, it’s essential to host regular sales coaching sessions with an expert sales coach who understands your sales strategy and business objectives.
Sales coaches act as neutral figures who guide your sales team in applying the processes they have been trained in and ensuring successful reinforcement. As such, we recommend the following structure to reinforce learning, any learning your team must retain to survive the digital sales transformation:
- Schedule group coaching to debrief the training participants
- Keep it focused. Each coaching session focuses on one training topic
- Ask about improvements. Ask questions like “What’s better since the training?”
- Goal-setting and commitment. Ask what they will change next
- Schedule the next session
Use a Customer-Centric based Selling Approach
In a digital-first, self-serving world, you can no longer define your business by the product. Instead, your biggest revenue sustainability option lies in maintaining excellent customer satisfaction and customer retention.
As such, customer-centricity marks the new shift in data-driven digital sales transformation as you use customer data to develop an experience-led approach to every stage of the buyers’ journey.
Final Word: Develop Sales Skills & Thrive
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