Revenue Leadership in a Digital FutureBy: Gary Tubridy Chief Sales Executive Events, Digital Transformation, Sales Leadership
If you want digital transformation, be prepared for cultural transformation too, according to Helen Fanucci, global digital transformation sales leader at Microsoft. You can’t have one without the other. Fanucci shared her thoughts on the need for such “parallel transformations” at the 2018 Chief Sales Executive Forum. What follows is a summary of her observations.
Digital technology is changing the way companies do business:
- 30% of businesses are monetizing their information assets
- 84% of CEO’s expect digital selling to increase profit margins
- Digital companies generate $100M more in operating income a year
- By 2020, digital strategies will drive 60% of IT speed
Revenue leaders must take an active role in shaping how their companies engage in and leverage the digital revolution. Specifically, Fanucci indicates revenue leaders must impact three critical aspects of company culture. As she sagely noted, “Technology is easy. Culture is the hard part.” Companies must fundamentally transform how they…
Think About Products: You cannot get carried away with product technology. With Internet of Things and AI (artificial intelligence)-infused products becoming the norm, technology is less important than the solutions they enable. Customers want to know whether your product will help them in some tangible way.
As an example, Fanucci described how LinkedIn is building a new offering that uses AI to create learning paths to upskill the workforce based on projected skill set needs. AI is not the value, but it certainly enables value. Revenue leaders need to make sure that what is important to customers informs how products are developed, positioned, marketed and sold.
Enable Sellers: Digital technology enables and demands tighter linkage between sales and information. To serve customers well, sellers need a single source of truth. When there are multiple platforms, data can be missed or misused. Revenue leaders must help their companies create an integrated sales management platform that enables a holistic customer view, comprehensive sales metrics and dynamic management dashboards. Revenue leaders gain insight into opportunities and issues to deploy the appropriate resources. Sellers get better targeting information and tools needed to maximize sales productivity.
Engage Customers: New customers have steep expectations. They demand results and eschew long term commitments. Sales capabilities must be built accordingly. Deep functional and industry expertise is needed to enable solution-oriented discussions. Technical expertise is needed to engage savvy executives who want to know the details of how things work as well as what it enables. Team orientation between sales and service is needed to deliver performance after the sale.
Companies must actively engage customers throughout their buying journey. Microsoft has found that customer-centric sellers share two characteristics:
- The have large internal networks that enable access to the expertise that customers demand
- They spend significantly more time working customer issues either behind the scenes or on customer site. A lot more.
Sellers deliver for their customers by doing the things needed to meet their needs. Revenue leaders need to encourage and enable such customer-centric behaviors in their organizations.
All of this implies a willingness to try new things. Some call this “sales force agility.” To have such agility, Fanucci indicates that leaders must…
- Encourage experiments and be willing to accept failure as long as it is fast and there is learning
- Seek diversity in order to hear different points of view and foster creative experimentation
- Enable sellers to leverage informal networks that supply the expertise demanded by customers
- Be humble…to encourage discussion, seek out great ideas and recognize that no one gets it right all the time
Check out other highlights from the 2018 Annual Forum and reserve your seat now for Alexander Group’s 2019 Leadership Series to take your growth to the next level.