To realize the full value potential of digital, successful sales organizations reorganize top to bottom, front end to back end. Here’s their road map.
“We’ve got to go digital.” Every sales leader has heard some variation of that statement. But what is digital, actually? And of all the digital things to do out there, what matters most for driving sales growth?
To help answer this question, we conducted a survey of more than 1,000 US and European sales executives, as well as interviewing dozens of sales executives and doing research for the book Sales Growth: Five Proven Strategies from the World’s Sales Leaders. In our first article from this data set, we looked at the five areas where sales leaders outperform their peers (see “The sales secrets of high-growth companies”).
For this article, we looked at the how organizationally sales leaders drive performance. Our analysis revealed that fast-growing companies1successfully connect seemingly opposite approaches:
- Front to back: Create a dynamic experience for customers, and use digital tools and data to power operations. It’s common for companies to overemphasize one or the other, but the greatest success lies in a marriage of both.
- Top to bottom: Successful sales organizations also overhaul the way things are done, from sales leadership all the way through front line sales reps.
While this structure might sound like a “do everything” approach, its value is in providing a simple way to think through the connections needed throughout the organization to get the most from digital capabilities, from automating processes to delivering experiences across all channels to using analytics to enable the sales force.
Of course, this is all much easier said than done. In our survey, a majority of sales executives said that their companies are increasing their investments in digital sales tools and capabilities for the near term. Yet less than 40 percent believe they are even moderately effective at it and a mere 17 percent rate their capabilities as “outstanding.”
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