Digitization of Sales and Marketing – the next big imperative for digital enterprises

By Sesha Rao, MD India Operations, InsideView

Over the last decade businesses have witnessed the emergence of a new breed of B2B customers. They exhibit behaviors similar to B2C customers. They want their information, products and services online. They refer to google information before they reach out to a sales representatives. They demand immediacy and convenience. They communicate over different online media and collect feedback from peers in real time.

Ease of doing business, delivery lead time and a firm’s ability to engage over multiple channels are as important as product specifications. Which means that it is the customer who sets the ball rolling. They want to engage a sales organisation on their own terms.

Sales and Marketing in the era of Digital Transformation

Customer expectations are further being stoked by disruptive innovations in Social, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, Robotics, Augmented Reality and Industrial Internet.. Interactions between peers and other B2B leaders strongly gave emergence to the fact that sales and marketing teams no longer capture the customer’s attention with a push strategy.

Studies show that 90% of B2B buyers search for a product or service online, while 70% watch videos online before they go ahead with a purchase. Buyers now fulfil 60% of their buying journey online. They do not appreciate pushy sales pitches and want to amass information and in some cases experience in real-time how a product or service interacts and behaves in their ecosystem to resolve their pain-points.

Given these complexities organisations have no choice but to intelligibly create visibility by understanding what customersare looking for and where are they looking for it. Besides capturing the customer’s attention, they have to engage them across different channels while demonstrating value.

Hence organisations need relevant data which can be sliced and diced to reach the right set of prospects and understand their needs.They also need technologies that enable them to bring together and deliver a consistent engagement model for customers across different channels.

Digitization is the only way forward

Surviving the new age B2B business landscape demands that organisations effectively look at digitization of Sales and Marketing. In fact it offers organisations even greater number of opportunities to engage and woo customers than traditional methods ever can.

Organisations can now afford to set up their own websites, accessible to buyers from across the globe. They can engage buyers across digital forums, understand their needs and provide solutions in real-time. Instead of pushing information to the customer they can host relevant content across forums, social media, or share it over email which leaves customers the choice to access relevant information at their convenience. Knowledge / product forums, automated chats and automated demos can now be hosted across platforms to ensure that the customer is engaged across his buying journey.

Technologies are now available where sales and marketing can effectively capture information of who they engaged with and score the level of engagement. There are technologies that can rate various assets which organisations deploy to pull customers and point out which content and strategy is working better than others.

Centralized information and connected data open up ways to capture half-baked customer information into full-fledged customer insights. This allows personnel front ending conversations to lead more accurate engagement , configure offers interactively and create more up-sell opportunities.

Success is a combination of strategy and technology

To sum up that digitization of sales and marketing has become a necessity.However, sales and marketing success greatly depends on how innovatively and creatively organisations are able to leverage the data they are able to amass and the technology they have access to. Digital is perplexing because it is the exact opposite of business as usual. This implies that organisations must continuously reinvent their digitalized sales and marketing strategy to grow revenues and stay ahead of the competition.