There has been exponential growth in the amount of data generated since the start of the digital age. This has enabled almost every industry and business to become more productive, but a function like sales that is largely relationship-based (especially the key accounts) has not realized the same gains. The biggest challenge for a sales leader is to convince the front-line reps that digital buy-in will ultimately lead to making their number. There are 3 primary levers where digital can transform the sales culture and improve key account management:
- Enhanced decision making driven by insightful data
- Timesaving through digital automation
- Improved customer experience of key accounts
The foundation that underpins these levers is 7 core components outlined in the Data Assessment Framework. This tool provides the strategic framework for a digital-driven culture that best-in-class sales leaders live by.
My Sales Organization Is Generating Tons of Data, Now What?
Companies are really good at generating data, but struggle to achieve actionable insights. The most common problem is a sales leader sitting on a pile of data that grows larger every day. The leaders and front-line reps do not have the capability or time to manipulate data into insightful views, nor should they. A best-in-class organization will have an efficient sales ops function that manages enablement for the sellers. Data should be provided to the right person, at the right time, so that a more informed decision can be made.
Imagine a front-line rep is on the road and has a last-minute meeting with one of his key accounts. How can you ensure the meeting is as productive as possible and moves the org closer to making the number, while also minimizing the amount of non-selling time the rep spends? One example of applying digital efficiently would have a data steward use a digital tool to analyze that client’s buying behavior and peer group, then provide an overview of what products and/or services they are likely to be interested in. An easily digestible dashboard pushed to their smartphone will give the rep the ammo they need at their fingertips. Click here to see how Scott Santucci, CEO of Growth Enablement Ecosystems, discusses the connection between digital and revenue growth. As a sales leader, it is imperative the answer is “yes” to the following questions:
- Do I have a single source of truth where all data come together?
- Is my process repeatable and scalable?
- Is their proper governance to carry this forward?
“Our Greatest Currency Is Time, and We Cannot Save It…”
Every second reps spend performing non-revenue generating activities is dollars lost. Once sales leaders have answered yes to the above questions and have a single source of truth with repeatable actions that are adequately governed, time savings are unlocked that will allow reps to spend more time on revenue-generating activities. A frequent complaint heard is how time-consuming and burdensome forecasting is for many orgs. This is just one example of an event that pulls reps and leaders away from focusing on their key accounts.
Picture 3 weeks out from the end of the quarter, and a collective groan starts to murmur from across the team as it gears up for a highly manual, multiple-review meetings, forecasting process. But it does not have to be this way! A best-in-class org that has adopted a digital culture will have tools and processes that generate a forecast at the click of a button. One to two iterative reviews later, and everyone is back to focusing on revenue-generating activities. There are what seems like an infinite number of digital tools, apps, programs, etc., all with the promise of improved efficiency. The key as a sales leader is to make bets on specific tools and ensure that the organization follows through on the adoption and utilization. Click here for a guide that will helps leaders think about what processes the organization could potentially automate.
Digitizing Customer Experience – the Next Frontier
Understanding and translating customer experience (CX) to a digital world is a crucial growth lever for revenue. This motion requires not only active market listening, but communicating actionable insights across product, service, and channels — all while reducing friction in a virtual environment. Ideally, the customer journey is mapped in detail, and a digitally-driven CX team finds opportunities along that journey to “plug-in” digital capabilities.
Less-mature orgs start with tools such as automated emails and surveys to improve customer engagement. In contrast, more advanced orgs use machine-learning to optimize the “when” and “how” customers prefer to be engaged. Regardless of the current state, sales leaders must start or advance their digital portion of CX because their competitors are undoubtedly doing the same. Click here to see how Tish Falco, veteran CX strategist, thinks about this opportunity.
Where Do I Start?
Today, digital capability is a core component of all high-performing sales orgs. A sales culture that moves fast with better, data-driven decision making and improved management of key accounts is crucial to making the number. SBI has helped many clients navigate the framing and execution of their digital strategy. The Data Assessment Framework is a great starting point to guide the thinking around the foundation that needs to exist in order to realize the full digital potential. Download the tool and contact us for more details about leveraging digital to empower change in your sales culture and improve Key Account Management.