It seems everyone these days is talking about how business is becoming digital. True enough. But what we discuss with our clients is not only the digital future of sales, but also how it affects businesses and their sales teams.
COVID-19 has changed EVERYTHING
Change is inevitable in every area of life. Often it is slow and predictable, but sometimes the unexpected happens. During the COVID-19 pandemic, we have witnessed an astonishing and immediate acceleration in digital commerce. In just the first couple of months, some experts say we saw a 24-month leap forward. Two years in a matter of eight weeks.
Suddenly, businesses are faced with a challenge: their ability to generate revenue and conduct sales is highly dependent on IT experts and their capabilities. Software developers, CRM specialists and data scientists alongside automation tools, CRM systems, data crunching and LinkedIn contact scraping, to mention a few.
A B2B sales leader, for example, may be concerned by the fact that their sales teams are not able to meet clients face-to-face. This is a huge disruption. Those trusted relationships become quite different when there’s no one physically visiting the client to represent the company. Now the efforts of IT leadership and technical experts and their IT solutions become imperative for digital sales. They are critical to somehow offset the impact of missing face-to-face time.
Two words: DIGITAL SALES
It cannot be emphasised enough: Digital sales will have an increasing impact on companies’ revenues in the future. And CIOs, as well as IT and sales and marketing leadership, must embrace the evolution of digital sales. Traditionally, IT leaders’ focus has been on operations and efficiency, and more recently on collaboration with business. Today we find ourselves in the midst of a once-in-a-century global pandemic that has changed the business world forever.
The question now becomes, “How can digital teams and solutions support the sales process in both B2B and B2C?” If your operation’s revenue is dependent on IT specialists, IT experts and IT capabilities, how should your IT leaders grab the wheel and steer their teams out of the storm and into the sunlight? How do they ensure that their — your — ways of working become revenue-focused?
Bringing it together
The change you need to make is multifaceted: you are looking at a mindset change, an organisational change and also refocusing your sales architecture and enabling digital capabilities. It’s a systematic change towards a strong collaboration between IT and (digital) sales moving forward.
How can we bring IT leaders and teams closer to sales leaders and their own teams? After all, we’re still acting in a business landscape with far too many siloes scattered throughout organisations. Building this connection between IT and sales is the crucial missing piece.
We’ve often seen situations where IT leaders do not have a genuine understanding of the day-to-day needs of their company’s sales teams, which can be a barrier that negatively impacts digital sales. The blame goes beyond IT leaders, as these obstacles are due to long-established organisational mindsets, which are often barriers that need to be broken down.
A prime and recurring example of this is that sales experts are simply not involved with IT-related or digital-related projects. In our upcoming book, The Digital Sales Handbook for leaders in IT, we will explain not only why that is, but how to build, develop and cultivate IT-sales connection for years to come, and how to transform that dialogue into value and revenue-generating digital solutions.
Improving the old versus creating the new
Typically, we see lots of ideas and talk about creating new solutions: a new CRM, a new CMS, a new webshop, a new this and new that. What if we first maximised the potential of what’s already there? How about looking at what you have in place and ensuring existing channels are optimised to bring in revenue? This is the key element of a sales-driven IT mindset change.
Of course, sometimes it’s necessary to build a new solution. New digital sales touchpoints and backend solutions for an existing business case might be just what you need. But look for the easy (and not-so-easy) wins of improving what you already have. And if need be, cater to your digital sales’ needs with turnkey ecommerce, data or marketing platform solutions or custom builds if the business case is there.
When talking about improving existing or building new services, do not focus solely on increasing efficiency. It’s about showing tangible and direct revenue impact from those IT solutions that you already have, such as marketing automation, ecommerce, digital lead management and more.
Instead of focusing on platforms, tools or systems, what about if we as IT leaders just focused on becoming better at selling online?
Forward-thinking with tangible examples
In our upcoming book, The Digital Sales Handbook for leaders in IT, we’ll look at metrics and measuring IT solutions based on their revenue impact and direct sales impact.
We’ll talk about what it really means to lead an IT team that is impact-driven and smoothly collaborates with sales as well as what a sales-enabling setup should look like.
We’ll discuss considerations and approaches for planning and executing a digital sales and marketing architecture along with digital capabilities that enable the top-line growth of a company’s result sheet.
We’ll talk to IT leaders from other companies and partners to dive deep into real examples of how they’re succeeding thanks to a sales-focused IT team.
We’ll give you a selection of lessons and strategies that have been proven to result in revenue-driven IT.
If this got you intrigued, register to the book launch webinar to hear our highlights from the book, as well as keynotes from experts David Blomquist (Stora Enso) and Rod Kilgour (Tiger of Sweden), also interviewed for the handbook. The webinar will be held on the 26th of March, 2021.
Originally published at https://www.columbiaroad.com.