With insights from over 35 senior revenue leaders, these preliminary highlights from the Alexander Group Digital Summit series address three guidelines that an executive can use to consider digital:
Hello, Gary Tubridy here, senior vice president at the Alexander Group, speaking on the subject of digital transformation. Alexander Group is conducting a series of digital summits, speaking with executives about their ambitions and challenges, and harnessing digital technology to grow their revenue line and maybe help manage the cost line, too. We’ll have insights from over 35 senior revenue leaders from across the U.S. and Europe and in multiple industries. This podcast gives you the top line on what we’ve observed so far.
I’ve organized this discussion along the guidelines that one executive uses to consider all major initiatives, including digital. Demands answers in three categories of what? First, what are you trying to do? Second, what is important about this? Why does it matter? Third, what’s next? Describe what should be done about it. This framework helps distill some very good thinking and experience regarding digital that we’ve uncovered to date.
So let’s take the first what? What is digital? Well, there are a lot of perspectives here. It’s a channel to make customers aware of your service. The means to reach and serve customers who prefer the digital channel little or no direct selling. To channel learn what customers are doing after the sale to monitor their performance. And it’s a kit of tools designed to collect and transform data into insight for companies and for customers. The problem with all of that is that while all true, it is tactical and it lacks a strategic center of gravity.
We like the executive that described digital along these lines. “Customers have changed the way they buy. We cannot change that and should not even try. We must do is understand their new buying journey and use digital means to reach and serve them better.” So what is digital? It is technology that enables you to reach and serve customers of all types better.
Second, why does this matter? There were two points of view here. One was that time is running out in terms of jumping on the digital bandwagon. The window is closing and there is urgency to act now before being overtaken or even overrun by the competition. That’s fair enough, but it sounds a bit too dire. I like the other argument. The upside potential of harnessing digital technology. To reach new customers, to reach old customers more efficiently, to tailor your messages to individuals, to project expertise with digital technology to enhance both effectiveness and efficiency. In other words, use digital to grow.
One executive described a test that they ran wherein one group of sellers went to market the old-fashioned way. Here are your accounts. Go get them! Another group went to customers with digital tools enabling better targeting, more tailored messaging and better post-sales service. The result: digitally-enabled sellers were three times more productive over the test period. There was growth and plenty of it. That is why digital matters.
Third, what’s next? We spend time sharing experiences and concluded that it is all too possible to become frozen by the complexity. Where do you start? How much do you spend? How much return do you expect? And the answer to this? Start small. Grab a nagging problem related to customer coverage. Set a team to fixing the problem by digital means. Limit the scope and the risk. Learn what works and how to manage the process. Get confidence in calculating cost and ROI. And gain the confidence of the organization in the process. The moral of the story? Start small. Learn the ropes and scale from there. But get moving.
More to come in this important subject of digital in the next several months. Next up. Join us on November 7th, 8th and 9th in Naples, Florida, at the Ritz for Alexander Group’s annual Executive Forum, where we will put digital in the context of how revenue leaders are building a growth engine. Hope to see you there!