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[REPORT PREVIEW] The Transformation of Selling

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How Digital Enables Seamless Selling, by Charlene Li

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[REPORT PREVIEW] The Transformation of Selling

  1. 1. THE TRANSFORMATION OF SELLING: HOW DIGITAL ENABLES SEAMLESS SELLING By Charlene Li, Principal Analyst Altimeter, a Prophet Company February 21, 2017 PREVIEW ONLY
  2. 2. www.altimetergroup.com | The Transformation of Selling: How Digital Enables Seamless Selling | info@altimetergroup.com 2 EXECUTIVE SUMMARY While “social selling” is a key idea that has emerged over the past few years, it is clear that something larger is afoot. Keeping up with fast-moving and well-informed customers requires sales departments to focus less on the hard sell and more on adding value to the experience and relationship via digital channels. Moreover, selling must become seamless, bridging traditional department silos like Marketing, Sales, and Service to meet customers wherever they may engage an organization. This report examines the transformation of selling in complex transactions, such as those typically done in business-to-business (B2B) sales or high- consideration consumer sales. Three types of transitions drive the digital transformation process: Platform Integration, Organization, and Culture. Notably, while digital technologies may drive the transformation, the strategic focus for sales teams must include changing organization and culture such that customers become the core of the selling process. TABLE OF CONTENTS Executive Summary 2 Selling Must Transform Becasue the Way Customers Buy Has Changed 3 Transformation Puts the Focus on Customers with Three Types of Transitions 5 Integration of Data, Insights, and Content Platforms Lays the Foundation 6 Organizational Structure, Process, and Metrics Must Transform As Well 10 Culture Change Focuses on Developing Critical Skills 13 Next Steps: Assess Your Selling Transformation Maturity 26 A Look at the Future 29 Next Steps 16 Endnotes 18 Methodology 18 Brands, Researchers, Agencies and Industry Experts 18 About Us 19 How to Work With Us 19 PREVIEW ONLY
  3. 3. www.altimetergroup.com | The Transformation of Selling: How Digital Enables Seamless Selling | info@altimetergroup.com 3 SELLING MUST TRANSFORM BECAUSE THE WAY CUSTOMERS BUY HAS CHANGED Digital has fundamentally changed the buying process for customers, which has implications for how companies sell to these fast-moving buyers. In particular, digital has changed complex buying and selling transactions in the following ways: • Buyers have access to information earlier in the buying process. In the past, the seller was in control of information. But now, the proliferation of influencer content, peer reviews, and comparison sites all make today’s customers less reliant on company- provided information and sales experts. More than half of the decision-making process is completed before customers even reach out to a salesperson,1 while 70% of B2B buyers use social media to help them decide.2 “The consumer has never had this much information at their disposal,” says Trey Tubbs, Director of Global Sales Management and Client Care at CBRE.“I do think [digital] is raising the bar in the sense that customers now [expect sales] to provide new information that they didn’t already know.” Readily available information means that businesses must fulfill customers’ need for control and self-service throughout their journey. Consumerization of the B2B buying process means more targeted content being created and made available to potential customers — targeted based on behavior, not solely on the product being purchased. • Digital interactions supplant calls and meetings. SiriusDecisions found that 67% of buying journeys now involve digital interactions versus traditional channels.3 Customers want to connect on the platform of their choice, be it LinkedIn or even WhatsApp, but salespeople uncomfortable with digital cling to traditional channels. Even for salespeople eager to embrace these new channels, corporate IT departments frequently ban them, so salespeople resort to using their personal devices, social media, and messaging accounts that can’t be tracked or monitored. This means the traditional role of the “hero salesperson” — to connect one-on-one with a prospect and close the sale through a series of meetings, calls, and emails — is being supplanted by inside Sales, Marketing, or even Customer Service, all of whom are often better equipped to operate in digital channels. • Social selling has seen mixed results, despite its obvious potential. Altimeter found that 43% of companies surveyed had social selling programs that were either being optimized or mature, with another 39% planning, piloting, and in the first year of implementation.4 The results are being felt in tangible ways; data from LinkedIn shows there have been significant advances in social selling activities across both geographies and industries (see Figure 1). But uptake by Sales has often been limited, a common complaint being that social selling does not generate enough leads to justify the time it takes away from traditional sales activities. PREVIEW ONLY
  4. 4. www.altimetergroup.com | The Transformation of Selling: How Digital Enables Seamless Selling | info@altimetergroup.com 4 FIGURE 1 LINKEDIN’S SOCIAL SELLING INDEX SHOWED SIGNIFICANT GAINS OVER THE PAST YEAR We found that many social selling initiatives lacked depth, focusing on simply training Sales on how to use LinkedIn and Twitter, giving reps access to LinkedIn Sales Navigator, or pushing out content via an employee advocacy platform. The problem is that these initiatives don’t go far enough to address the fundamental changes taking place around buying and selling. Stan de Boisset, the Commercial and Inside Sales Lead at Juniper Networks, explains, “It’s not because social selling doesn’t work. It’s because transforming an organization takes time, education, practice, and discipline. It’s like giving someone a Formula 1 car — just because they have a driver’s license doesn’t mean they can win a race.” We found that organizations that were most successful at rolling out social selling considered it to be just one piece of a successful digital selling organization, which is made up of an aligned Sales, Marketing, and Customer Service/ Success team. 44% 21% 37% 27% 19% 35% 27% 26% 24% 23% 23% 21% 21% 19% LATAM Asia AN Z N A EM EA Retail & Consum er Products Aero/Auto/Engineering M anufacturing/Industrial Tech, Telecom & M edia Healthcare & Pharm aceutical G overnm ent/Education/N on-Profit Financial Service & Insurance O il & Energy Professional Services Global average score growth GrowthinAverageSSIscore LinkedIn SSI Score Growth- January 2015 to August 2016 The LinkedIn Social Selling Index (SSI) measures the strength of a user’s professional brand, level of engagement, employment of prospect and connection research tools, and overall level of connectedness on the LinkedIn platform. PREVIEW ONLY
  5. 5. www.altimetergroup.com | The Transformation of Selling: How Digital Enables Seamless Selling | info@altimetergroup.com 5 TRANSFORMATION PUTS THE FOCUS ON CUSTOMERS WITH THREE TYPES OF TRANSITIONS Selling to customers in the Digital Era is difficult because, historically, almost every company divides the complex selling process among departments with specialized skills. Sales focuses on building one-to-one relationships; Marketing analyzes data and presents ideas in a simple and concise way; and Customer Service or Customer Success deals with any post-transaction implementation or issues. This specialization has resulted in siloed departments that make it difficult to create a seamless buying experience for customers (see Figure 2). Breaking down silos is an age-old problem that has stymied many organizations. The difference today is that digital tools and practices are helping edge us toward a unified reality, not so much by tearing down the silos as by building windows between them. Increased visibility helps everyone in the organization operate more transparently, which makes it easier to create the seamless experiences that customers want. To create this digital transformation, organizations must undergo transitions in three areas: platform integration, organization, and culture (see Figure 3). Our research found that while these transitions happen concurrently and often depend on each other, organizations focused on one area to start. Here are more details and examples of each transition. FIGURE 2 CUSTOMERS MUST NAVIGATE SILOED DEPARTMENTS IN THE SELLING PROCESS MARKETING SALES SERVICE Activities: Create content, events, ads Develop relationships React to calls, emails Metric of success: Number of leads generated Sales closed Problems solved efficiently Technology: Marketing Automation CRM Call Center PREVIEW ONLY
  6. 6. www.altimetergroup.com | The Transformation of Selling: How Digital Enables Seamless Selling | info@altimetergroup.com 6 INTEGRATION OF DATA, INSIGHTS, AND CONTENT PLATFORMS LAYS THE FOUNDATION On the surface, integration appears to revolve around technology platforms. But Jerome Thiebaud, Director of Global Digital Workplace Marketing at Avanade, pointed out a subtle difference, saying, “It’s not because you have technology that you are going to be successful in the marketplace. It’s because you have technology that allows you to focus more on the customer, and on the human interaction.” Most companies have an overabundance of technology but lack the integration between those platforms to keep customers at the center. Maureen Blandford, CMO of Software Improvement Group, affirms, “Integration is the new black. We’re trying to build as small a technology stack as possible, with optimal integration.” Here are some of the top integration efforts organizations should prioritize to transform selling. • Put the power of digital data and content in the hands of employees to engage clients. At the most basic level, digitizing Sales means more than getting them equipment and loading them up with software and content — it’s about making sure that these enabling technologies are tuned to drive better engagement with customers. At CBRE, one of the world’s largest commercial real estate firms, a key goal was to enable salespeople to demonstrate their deep understanding of their clients’ businesses by using digital to establish and scale thought leadership and thus trust. CBRE took all of the paper materials its salespeople used to hand out to clients and put them on an iPads, enabling salespeople to add engaging content like video on the fly into their presentations without having to go back to IT for help. At the same time, CBRE recognized that social media was becoming a more important force. FIGURE 3 THREE TRANSITIONS DRIVE THE DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION OF SELLING Platform Integration Transition Organization Transition Culture Transition • Unify and distribute customer data across departments, platforms, and channels. • Customize content based on customer data. • Tap artificial intelligence to improve engagement. • Create a single Operations team across Marketing & Sales. • Align objectives across departments with common metrics. • Create roles to place focus on customers and their experiences. • Focus training on general enablement and skill development. • Spread stories of quick wins to establish new habits. • Ensure leadership is engaged, especially in Sales. Digital Transformation of Sales Requires Three Transitions PREVIEW ONLY
  7. 7. www.altimetergroup.com | The Transformation of Selling: How Digital Enables Seamless Selling | info@altimetergroup.com 7 “If you’re looking for [real estate] space, you’re not going to be looking on Twitter,” acknowledges CBRE’s Trey Tubbs. “But our clients, prospective clients, and people in our industry follow us on social media. An article will go out and be well-received by people we never expected to be interested.” To support social media outreach, CBRE placed an app on the iPad called Engage, which enables corporate, 400 local offices, and 75,000 employees to post content on LinkedIn and Twitter. • Leverage existing tools rather than seeking out new ones. Rather than try to select, install, and adopt a new technology, sometimes it’s faster and easier to tap an established one and modify existing processes instead. At Intel, the Marketing group leveraged the existing Brand IQ platform, rather than create a new tool, to create a content aggregator, which became a one-stop shop for anyone to post and share content. Different Sales roles would share different types of content that they found helpful. Danielle Miller, Global Social Business Strategist and Manager at Intel, recalls, “We were finding that everybody likes the bright shiny tool. ‘Let’s just get a tool!’ But there needs to be recognition that we look at the internal processes so that it serves as a solid foundation for the future, because we knew there was a limit to how many tools a salesperson can manage.” 7 www.altimetergroup.com | The Transformation of Selling: How Digital Enables Seamless Selling | info@altimetergroup.com
  8. 8. Preview Only www.altimetergroup.com | @altimetergroup | info@altimetergroup.com 6 Todownload this report in full at no cost, please visit our website: http://www2.prophet.com/Transformation-of-Selling
  9. 9. www.altimetergroup.com | The Transformation of Selling: How Digital Enables Seamless Selling | info@altimetergroup.com 19 HOW TO WORK WITH US Altimeter can support your digital transformation of selling efforts in the following ways: • Move social selling beyond LinkedIn profiles and Twitter accounts. While your salespeople have created polished LinkedIn profiles and set up a Twitter accounts, they remain largely unused. Altimeter can help by conducting an assessment of your current social selling activities, identifying opportunities around data, content, and engagement that can drive better business results. • Make the case for a digital transformation strategy for selling. There may be a groundswell of support for the use of digital in selling but it lacks coherence. Altimeter can help make the case for executive support of and engagement in a robust digital strategy that spans across departments. An assessment of your digital selling capabilities lays the foundation for an executive workshop that aligns the organization around specific goals and objectives. • Educate and align sales and marketing organizations for digital transformation. Altimeter conducts workshops and speaks at internal events to bring awareness and alignment around digital transformation. Several prep interviews conducted in advance ensures that the session is customized to the needs of your organization, with relevant examples. • Create and activate a robust strategy for the digital transformation of selling. Working closely with our consulting colleagues at Prophet Brand Strategy, Altimeter creates a multi-year strategy that takes into account all three types of transitions: platform integration, organizational, and cultural. The strategy typically includes inputs from sales and marketing leadership, but can also include service, product, and finance/legal. To learn more about Altimeter’s offerings, contact sales@altimetergroup.com. About Charlene Li, Principal Analyst Charlene (@CharleneLi) is a Principal Analyst at Altimeter, a Prophet company, where she helps leaders thrive with disruption. She was the Founder and CEO of Altimeter Group prior to its joining Prophet, and she is the author of the New York Times bestseller, Open Leadership. She is also the coauthor of the critically acclaimed, bestselling book Groundswell. Her most recent book, The Engaged Leader, is a call to business leaders to adapt to the digital landscape, and revolutionize their relationships by connecting directly with their followers. Her current research focuses on customer experience strategy and employee engagement and she’s working on a new book on disruption strategies. You can reach Charlene at charlene@altimetergroup.com. About Altimeter, a Prophet Company Altimeter, a Prophet company, is a research and strategy consulting firm that helps companies understand and take advantage of digital disruption. In 2015, Prophet acquired Altimeter Group to bring forward-thinking digital research and strategy consulting together under one umbrella, and to help clients unlock the power of digital transformation. Altimeter, founded in 2008 by best-selling author Charlene Li, focuses on research in digital transformation, social business and governance, customer experience, big data, and content strategy. Altimeter, a Prophet Company One Bush Street, 7th Floor San Francisco, CA 94104 info@altimetergroup.com www.altimetergroup.com @altimetergroup 415-363-0004
  10. 10. www.altimetergroup.com | The Transformation of Selling: How Digital Enables Seamless Selling | info@altimetergroup.com 20 OPEN RESEARCH This independent research report was 100% funded by Altimeter, A Prophet Company. This report is published under the principle of Open Research and is intended to advance the industry at no cost. This report is intended for you to read, utilize, and share with others; if you do so, please provide attribution to Altimeter, A Prophet Company. PERMISSIONS The Creative Commons License is Attribution-NoncommercialShareAlike 3.0 United States, which can be found at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/3.0/us/. DISCLAIMER ALTHOUGH THE INFORMATION AND DATA USED IN THIS REPORT HAVE BEEN PRODUCED AND PROCESSED FROM SOURCES BELIEVED TO BE RELIABLE, NO WARRANTY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED IS MADE REGARDING THE COMPLETENESS, ACCURACY, ADEQUACY, OR USE OF THE INFORMATION. THE AUTHORS AND CONTRIBUTORS OF THE INFORMATION AND DATA SHALL HAVE NO LIABILITY FOR ERRORS OR OMISSIONS CONTAINED HEREIN OR FOR INTERPRETATIONS THEREOF. REFERENCE HEREIN TO ANY SPECIFIC PRODUCT OR VENDOR BY TRADE NAME, TRADEMARK,
OR OTHERWISE DOES NOT CONSTITUTE OR IMPLY ITS ENDORSEMENT, RECOMMENDATION, OR FAVORING BY THE AUTHORS OR CONTRIBUTORS AND SHALL NOT BE USED FOR ADVERTISING OR PRODUCT ENDORSEMENT PURPOSES. THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED HEREIN ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE WITHOUT NOTICE.

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