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It’s a hard fact that digital sales are bringing in ever more revenue for most companies — either directly or as an enabler. This makes the role of IT increasingly crucial for business success. But what is the role of IT as a sales enabler in future companies? Can new ways of working make IT an active driver for digital sales instead of being just a back-office function?

To understand what kinds of challenges different types of companies are facing currently and what solutions they’ve found, we decided to have a panel discussion on the topic of IT being an enabler for digital sales. …

It is understandable that many people who are responsible for digital services want the absolute bare minimum of downtime. Why would you want anything less than perfect? If your webshop isn’t working, you aren’t making money. This is completely true — but at what cost? The most stable service is the one that never changes: it must be built perfectly at the first time of asking, and it must never change from then onwards. The business-driven among us understand that this isn’t an option; If you are sitting still, you are being left behind. So how do you balance development speed vs service stability? How do you ensure that your digital service stability isn’t a bottleneck for the rest of your business operations? …

Are you still grappling to find success in your digital sales efforts? The digitalisation of sales has of course been a hot topic for many years, but due to its surge in the past year, the subject has become even more pressing. Many companies are struggling with it, expressing that digital sales is not easily adopted in their industry. However, global players like Amazon and Alibaba have proved that there is hardly anything that cannot be sold online. This means that it is not only the digitally native companies that need to focus on digital sales to provide the ultimate customer experience. …

Your company is using a traditional, fully-featured CMS that promises to provide an all-rounded digital customer experience, but teams continuously need to work around it in order to deliver? Licensing and hosting costs are high, and in addition, you also need developers just to maintain the product and assist content creation teams? You hear complaints regarding the CMS from different parts of the organisation, saying it’s limiting capabilities in digital marketing and new service development? …

Organisations already know agile product development is the way to go, and have their DevOps team working in sprints. As design is tightly coupled with development work, even designers have design ops frameworks. But what about marketing? Sometimes it feels like marketing is the last corner of the organisation that refuses to let go of old processes.

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Agile marketing in a multi-vendor environment

It is very typical that marketing is a joint effort of several specialised vendors. There is an analytics agency managing tracking and reporting, a PR agency managing press and official communications, a branding agency managing the overall look and feel, a graphic design agency creating banners and other graphic assets, a trafficking agency managing all the different marketing channels, and a separate performance marketing agency managing search engine visibility. …

In the first part of this series, we took a look at how bookmarklets can be used to add small behaviours in web apps to automate repetitive tasks. Unfortunately, for many use cases, bookmarklets fall short because of their technical limitations. In those cases, it is good to consider a web extension.

Web extensions are the more powerful family member of bookmarklets — they can do nearly anything in a web browser on behalf of the user: inspecting and injecting web content on any page, communicating with APIs, integrating with browser menus. They can even run special background tasks such as intercepting and modifying web requests. …

What will be the top challenge for your business in one year? What will be your top digital sales channel in two years? How much data will you be responsible for in three years? There is only one feasible answer: “It depends”. And it is typical to examine only one aspect of it.

Day-to-day realities seldom allow exploring the dependency trees with sufficient depth. However, there are situations where a systematic approach to all visible possibilities merits focus and energy. Done right, it is possible to create adaptive solutions that can be scaled up or down depending on the situation.

No guess of the future is perfect. Which is why there are many benefits in considering alternative possibilities and responses. These alternative futures are more commonly called scenarios. …

Customer journey mapping is by no means a novel procedure, but it is an important and valuable one. Journey mapping is one of the most versatile tools for developing a company’s offering, as it allows one to visualise multiple levels of information coherently.

A journey map visualises the experiences of customers in their path towards the desired outcome, often being the purchase of a product or service. It documents the interactions between the company and customer, assisting in displaying the dependencies of the relationship, step-by-step.

In this blog post, I’ll go through the three key benefits of journey mapping, with an additional extra benefit that’s often forgotten at the end. …

AI has the power to connect your salespeople, processes, and customers in ways that completely transform your sales processes. It’s about building a company where everyone and everything is geared for growth.

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AI in sales and elsewhere is often discussed in the context of automation. For example, the automated buying of advertising space, or personalising marketing and offers. But the role of AI is much broader than just automation in the digital channel when one is building a Level 3 system in sales transformation.

AI enables the building of highly-effective systems that connect the efforts of various channels. This enriches the internal and external insights that are used for sales success, making it possible to hyper-personalise offerings to customers and the advice given to your own sales personnel. …

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Due to COVID-19, we have all seen companies come up with the most intriguing and unusual ways of pivoting their business into some new pandemic-friendly business form. This is exactly what happened also to VR ‘s train restaurants (Finnish railway company). Some of the food was gifted to charity, but VR also came up with a quirky and fun business idea — what if VR started selling home delivered train restaurant food? The rest is history.

The online store for VR’s home delivered food, VR’s meatball shop, was created in collaboration between Columbia Road and VR in a project where the implementation was done in 4 working days by only one person — me, UX & UI design consultant! …


Columbia Road

Nordic digital sales consultancy. We help companies get more revenue and more customers in the digital era.

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