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3 unexpected facts about digitising industrial sales


B2B has traditionally depended on face-to-face interactions, brand reputation and product quality to clinch sales deals. Unlike our B2C counterparts who have long since incorporated intense customer data analytics, digital ads, and a UI/UX optimised sales page, B2B companies have mostly relied on the traditional sales model and rejected the waves of digital transformation simply because there wasn’t a need to.


Unfortunately, we can delay no longer. Digital is the future (and face-to-face is quite frankly impossible at time of writing).


We talk a lot about the digital transformation of our industry at large, but we have not talked enough about the internal digital transformation that the company’s headquarters needs to embark on.


If you’re still not convinced that your company needs a serious digital revamp, these numbers might make you think twice. According to a McKinsey global survey of 2,500 B2B companies, those willing to change their sales models and embrace next-generation capabilities saw their revenue growing at twice the rate of GDP.


Before you contact your web developer to revamp the website, here are some things you should keep in mind for a smoother digital transformation.


People First, Digital Second


Yes, you read that right. At the heart of every digital transformation (or simply put, business transformation), are the people who will be transitioning with the business.


The digital transformation process can go bad quickly if people are not fully on board with it. Digital solutions are not as straightforward as they seem. It might require people to learn a new software program or adopt new work processes. This change comes with inertia. Imagine having to change your way of work after decades of mastering a previous skillset. That will likely cause frustration among workers if not managed well.


That’s why it’s important to keep people at the heart of digital transformation. Getting your employees’ buy in and offering training programs to upskill them are some ways to prepare your employees for the big transitions in the company.


Hiring the right people to lead digital transformation


According to a McKinsey report, 8 in 10 fast growers pull data science, engineering, workflow integration and other cross-functional skillsets into a central team to leverage on each other’s skillsets and create large scale growth.


Interestingly, this does not require a massive digital adoption, but a reorganisation of the company’s team members or hiring digital professionals to bring in that expertise to the company.


This makes sense from an effectiveness and cost standpoint. Rather than updating the company’s digitals, hiring digital professionals that can create lasting positive change on the company is more sustainable in the long run. As the saying goes, the technology is only as good as the people using it. The person running the digital programs in the company must have the expertise to drive it well.


Data analytics for everything


Data has long been at the heart of consumer marketing, and it’s high time that industrial marketing adopt the same intensive data tracking and analytics.


And the numbers show. 72% of the fastest-growing B2Bs say their analytics are effective in helping them with sales planning, compared to just 50% of the slowest-growers. Companies are tracking data to derive customer’s interest, their propensity to buy, and lifetime profitability. These insights will help you optimise the digital sales front of your company to bring in leads and sales.


In the pre-covid days, many B2B companies neglected their digital presence, opting for a basic website design without any tracking capabilities. If your website’s functions are outdated, consider starting with a website revamp as part of your digital transformation journey.


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While digital transformation sounds exciting and all high-tech, the truth is that it starts with the same basics that govern good business and people management. All the best on your industrial sales digital transformation!

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