Investing in Digital Transformation in the Age of Corona

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One of our advisors once told me: it’s good times for pessimists. That was 2 months ago. 

By now, even the most optimistic sales and marketing pros amongst us can no longer ignore that Corona has not only changed the way we live (at least for the next few months). Creativity and determination are needed when it comes to sales and marketing, and digital transformation is a key arm of that.

“Validity”

Being a co-founder and CEO in a SaaS venture, I definitely count myself to the group of optimists. Our B2B customer journey tracking and lead intelligence solution SalesWings can be sold, supported, and bought 100% online. We have historically engaged with our prospects and customer over digital channels. This turns out to be a big advantage now that some industries who heavily rely on offline human interaction are restricted by Corona.

From a sales and marketing perspective, I see a set of priority areas that you should look at:

Table of Contents

Why Prioritize Digital Initiatives Now

Now is the best time to make a push towards digital transformation within your sales and marketing teams. Michael Dell from Dell computers was a pioneer in investing in inside sales teams in the 90’s. By doing so, he reduced his internal sales cost structure, shortened sales cycles by cramming in X required client meetings in a certain period of time, and allowing him to win with competitive pricing. As business travel slows down and many companies are busy understanding the impact of Corona and deciding about effective measures to steer through the storm, we see many managers finding themselves with time to reflect and research from their home offices. Digital initiatives should now be put first when it comes to selling and marketing. Not only because any offline marketing is taking a hit, just think of out-of-home advertisment or events. But because businesses whose operations are designed around digital channels are less affected by such events.

CRM Implementation and Development

Having a single source of truth about your leads that can be accessed centrally from anywhere by both humans and systems, is more important than ever. With physical files being stocked in an office, hard to share and access, you want to make sure that your team has a place to share lead information – and that has to happen in your CRM. Salesforce.com is the unrivalled leader in the CRM space, providing adequate solutions for any B2B business, whether small or big, for almost any industry. If you’re looking to make a move to Salesforce.com, now’s a good time to kick things off, with potentially more time to plan and implement, and get a head start when things are back to normal. If you are already running on Salesforce.com, consider working on improvements that have been left aside. Being a platform of choice, not only does Salesforce.com come with great power but most professional marketing and sales technologies will offer good integrations into Salesforce. Solutions such as contract management, CRM data clean-up and process optimization tools are all part of this rich ecosystem.

Marketing Automation

Marketing automation is the engine that drives growth and creates fantastic customer experiences, and will continue to over the coming decades. Marketing automation solutions allow you to increase engagement of your leads with your business, help them educate themselves about your offering, and drive quality leads to your sales teams – all digitally. There are several good marketing automation solutions in the market, and choosing the right one comes down to the nature of your business, as in, your customers. How does your customer evaluate businesses like you, and where and how can you reach them? If you feel you can’t reach them on all digital channels yet – you should make sure you can now. The best solutions are future proof, and allow you to plan for the next 5 years. Ideally, they incorporate omni-channel capabilities so that you can orchestrate engagement over email, social, ads, SMS, and more. Salesforce Marketing Cloud is one of my favorites, as it helps both B2B and B2C businesses create outstanding customer experiences and is ready for leveraging a key trend in marketing: leveraging data about your customers, to create personalized omni-channel marketing engagements.

Sales Intelligence

Sales intelligence are solutions which provide your sales teams with information that help them understand your leads’ needs, priority, and profile better. Providing your sales team with information, versus them having to look for them or missing out, brings benefits across the board:

 

  • More data leads to more active selling time vs. manual research
  • Better lead qualification leads to a higher lead qualification rate
  • Lead customer journey insights help identify needs and urgency
  • Better alignment between marketing and sales with more effective hand-over

Here some tools to check out:

SalesWings is an example which ties into Salesforce technologies such as Salesforce CRM and Salesforce Marketing Cloud to optimize your activities along the entire funnel. With real-time insights into how a lead engages with your business (website, emails, ads, etc), combined with innovative and user-friendly lead scoring capabilities, it’s an interesting tool to track, analyse, and deliver lead intelligence for your marketing and sales team. Whether its information about what products or services they show interest in, or profile data such as job title or company size, it’s an all-in-one solution to ensure more effective engagements between your sales and marketing team and your leads.
Clearbit will enrich Salesforce leads, contacts and accounts with useful profile information. You can also track your website for an “account based” sales approach, and alert your team when accounts return to your website.
Another interesting tool in this space is Squirro.

Online Video Conferencing

A lot of companies are forced to cancel in-person meetings, events, or conferences. To avoid a disruption of their plans, they turn to online conferencing technologies. It is important to distinguish between meeting tools, and conferencing tools.
Meeting tools aim to enable effective collaboration between a smaller group of people. Whether it’s one on one meetings such as online demos, presenting a quote or a meet-up, or a team call, here some tools to look at:

If you are looking to hold an event with speakers, sharing materials, and aim to recreate a more real “offline” meeting feeling, other tools may be better suited. Also, moving forward, you may want to use the tool to manage participants.

Here you can have a look at these:

Dialing: Voice-over-IP (VoIP)

If you are serious about running an inside sales team, you should already have a solid telephony solution that works over IP – as in – the internet. Good systems allow you to have your sales team dial out faster, with good reporting, and control over “who takes what call”.

There are a wide range of solutions, and again what you choose will depend on your requirements. Some considerations are:

 

  • Number of calls – how call heavy is your business
  • Team management – routing, inbound vs outbound teams
  • Integrations – a good system should automatically allow you to log calls to your CRM, and maybe integrate with website chat and more
  • (Voice and call) Analytics – how important are large scale analytics
  • Sales team coaching – listening into conversations

With dialing to leads being deeply embedded into each B2B sales process, certain sales automation platforms or CRM come with a dialing system. Some will be sufficient for your needs, other too basic.

Take a look at these:

Natterbox is a good all-rounder, great usability and SFDC integration.
NewVoiceMedia – the ‘Rolls Royce’ of VoIP.
Nuacom is ideal if you want a solution combined with real phones, and online.

Summary

Having a great digital sales and marketing stack is a clear competitive advantage in the age of Corona – and in the future.

With Corona forcing many of us to work from home office, including our clients, there has never been a better time than now to invest in digital transformation of your sales and marketing processes.

Consider taking your projects out of the drawers, or push for continued enhancements, in this time where a few things may be slowing down.

I wish everyone good health, and good business.

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