Digital Sales Transformation is closely related to the key sales management tool, namely the CRM (Customer Relationship Management), the IT platform for managing interactions with potential and existing customers.
Introduced in the 90s, it lets you to map, plan and manage the execution of sales, marketing and after-sales service activities and automate their processes.
The advantages of the tool are countless. Paraphrasing a recurring concept of the Enterprise 4.0 paradigm, it provides the information you need, when you need it, where you need it.
Sales staff can therefore work more effectively, faster, more proactively, with a clearer vision of targets and achievements. It can better balance short and long-term actions. Develop and cultivate a better knowledge of market and customers.
New hires have easy access to all the necessary information and can become effective in a shorter time.
Similar to other information systems, however, it requires a disciplined approach. Which, for sales, is an added benefit. Without discipline, there are no sales! At most, only public relations :-))
The current business environment
Today’s world feeds on the Internet and has acquired two of its fundamental characteristics: speed and personalized content. We really have unlimited, tailored information available.
Here, in the world transformed by digital, those who buy have a range of choices like never before. And the bar of expectations, in terms of time and quality, rises constantly as prices fall.
Consumers therefore become accustomed to new levels of service and since we all are consumers, the new model also spreads into organizations and help transition digital transformation from B2C to B2B.
This, in turn, adds considerable pressure on those who sell. Always ready, always connected, 24/7, up-to-date, reliable, reassuring.
The password is now customer retention. Retention has always been important but in the new context it is imperative.
Secondly, sales opportunities must be maximized. Donal Daly, in his recent engaging book (¹), underlines two essential reasons for which negotiations are lost: the wrong opportunities are pursued or the sales process hasn’t worked properly (bad strategy and / or execution). It is therefore vital to intervene both on the process of qualifying opportunities and on the actual sales process.
Regarding opportunities qualification, it is interesting to note how some channels perform better than others (customer and employee referral, events, website, social media, email campaigns …). It is therefore not surprising that the best conversion rate “qualified opportunity” to “acquired opportunity” comes from customer and employee referral (14.7%) (²).
We can summarize the need to act with greater determination on opportunity qualification and sales process planning, by stating that sales and marketing, in the current context, require a more qualitative than quantitative approach.
Making quality and creating value only requires one thing: information, that is, processed data.
And this is nothing else but digital transformation.
Evolution of CRM
CRM systems, in order to better respond to market developments, are evolving by integrating applications that maximize information and quality.
We find solutions for social selling, marketing automation, account based marketing, intelligent analysis of data and opportunities, productivity on the move, real-time chat, IOT integration, self-service portals.
In all this advancement, the technology in the limelight of the news, that is artificial intelligence, plays an increasingly important role.
Thanks to artificial intelligence, the CRM can analyze the data of past activities and put them in relation with current activities to detect any inconsistencies or signs of change, provide reliable predictions and operational indications of what to do to improve execution, as well as notify operators ahead of time.
Sales activities, although complex, are organized in a series of steps, more or less sophisticated and structured depending on the context, but which get repeated at each initiative. It is therefore a process that lends itself well to the integration of artificial intelligence.
However, it contains many critical issues that cannot be managed by machines. The machines, in fact, are able to operate on tasks and activities that are programmed to solve.
They are not able to imagine, judge, manage interpersonal relationships or sudden changes. Human intervention and experience remains essential.
Technology is undoubtedly an accelerator and digital transformation, by integrating technologies and people, can really help us sell more, sell better.