Sales Management | Digital aptitude in sales: how does it work?

The conditions for sales organizations and sellers are not only completely new since 2020. Close observers have been following the changes in buying behavior in the B2B and B2C sectors for several years. The corona pandemic has accelerated the development, says guest author Oliver Büchel.

In addition, the half knowledge of the commercial team becomes obsolete since customers are usually well informed even before the first contact. Instead of seeing new challenges as opportunities, many companies remain reeling from their digitization efforts. This applies in particular to sales. “We outfitted our sales team with tablets many years ago” is just one of many examples of evidence that digitization in sales is yet to be fully seen and implemented in many companies.

Excessive demands meet experience

You can’t blame the company leaders at all. Most are simply overwhelmed by the new possibilities of the digital world. The many well-intentioned experts with mostly detailed and technical special knowledge of what is possible today regarding the digitization of sales processes are also partly to blame. Rather, individual prioritization and a pragmatic approach are more important. To really get your sales people to make a change, you need to give them benefit-oriented support.

editor’s recommendation

2022 | original paper | book chapter

Organizational changes for a successful digitization in sales

A multitude of new approaches to various sales tasks, as well as digital tools, require new knowledge and experience in their practical application.

It is important to let the digitization in sales finally reach the practice and, above all, the customers! Because it is not a means to an end or a mere external presentation. Rather, what is important is to realize that the classic communication channels of phone, email and customer visits can be complemented by a wide range of other options. Of course, fundamental questions must also be addressed, namely how a field service will be organized and implemented in the future and whether this designation still does justice to future sales tasks.

Companies are testing hybrid selling

Hybrid selling is the buzzword of the moment, but most companies are still testing its perfect implementation. Suddenly there are other priorities, and that does not only apply to technology, because, for example, the quality of the webcam has become more important than the equipment of the company car.

Tips for digital sales fitness

Five concrete tips on how sales teams can adapt digitally:

  1. Classic pauses at transition points between marketing and sales should be avoided. Online marketing must not only be responsible for generating leads, but must continue to accompany the process and support sales people with their tools if necessary.
  2. The sales team must be supported by modern equipment. This also has a positive external effect. Modern software can, for example, use speech recognition to significantly speed up visit reporting.
  3. The sales team should not be left alone with the implementation, but should be offered support and training programs at various levels, for example, on social selling or the innovative design of web meetings.
  4. The new digital tools must be integrated into an overall concept, with a user-friendly CRM system as the data center. Sales staff must be constantly involved in digitization projects and not just leave it to the IT and marketing departments.
  5. Digital channels must be aligned with the behavior of the target group of customers and not with what is currently being advertised.
  6. Marketers are typically not data scientists. Therefore, sales teams should not only be supported in preparing data, but also in interpreting it.

Important: Despite all the process optimizations, the sales teams should still have enough freedom to be able to react individually to the behavior of their customers.

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