Where is your company on this continuum of sales digital transformation? After writing about, speaking about, and advising clients on this topic for more than two and a half years, I believe we have crossed the chasm where it’s now a business imperative for companies of all shapes and sizes to move forward. Sales digital transformation is no longer an option — it’s a necessity. Modern B2B buyers want to buy from modern sellers; they want to interact fluidly across channels, and when doing so, they expect to have a consistent brand and engagement experience.
B2B companies that fully embrace this journey will thrive, and those that delay risk disintermediation from competitors and/or buyers themselves. Research we conducted in late 2017 revealed some interesting trends. In 2017, the lion share of B2B firms’ revenues flowed through traditional routes such as field sales, inside sales, and indirect channel partners. But as we enter 2018, these same firms will invest more heavily in digitally oriented channels such as inside sales and eCommerce.
Our research brought us in contact with several marketing and sales executives at big brands who are leading the charge in digitally transforming their companies’ selling systems. Microsoft has reorganized its entire sales force around the buyer’s journey, and Home Depot acquired Interline Brands to enhance its digital procurement and B2B sales capabilities. Shell meanwhile built a digital highway populated with enablement tools for its distributors, and CA Technologies invested in creating a richer digital experience for its customers.
I can’t imagine a more exciting time to be a B2B marketing or sales leader! You have the opportunity to redesign and implement new organizational structures, to modernize your marketing and sales tech stacks, and to encourage and incent collaboration across channels.