Technology and data are fundamentally changing how we do business. Leading companies are digitizing revenue growth to respond to customer demands, gain competitive advantage, accelerate revenue growth and reduce cost of sales. The Alexander Group’s (AGI) ongoing Digital Go-to-Customer Study has identified three areas of focus when embarking on the journey: Vision, Leadership and Change Adoption. Get these elements right for a successful digital transformation.

1. Vision

A transformation with a clear and deliberate purpose is assuredly more likely to succeed. One that demonstrates this purpose quickly with tangible results will attract champions and initiative owners needed to bring the vision to life.

Start your transformation with:

  • Purpose: A clearly stated “why” and “what’s in it for us (me)” statement helps motivate a community that will be impacted by change. Clear positive outcomes rally team members to work toward the larger goal.
  • Speed: Digitizing is exciting but not without pain. Technology evolves rapidly; data volumes, quality and access increase by the minute. Precision and bureaucracy are enemies of progress. Make quick funding and approval decisions. Escalate issues and resolve expeditiously. Accept the risk associated with the transformation and value the learnings in addition to the results.
  • Quick Wins: Anchoring the change around numerous large-scale projects overwhelms team members and often disenchants change agents. Start with quick wins or test-and-learns to catalyze the transformation and build confidence and energy within the organization to tackle larger, more impactful efforts.

2. Leadership

Strong leadership is a requirement in any transformation. Digitizing the revenue organization is particularly challenging due to complex customer demands, proliferation of data and technology applications, technical complexity of solutions and degree of change needed.

Use principles to guide the leadership team:

  • Digital Literacy: AGI research shows the definition of “digital transformation” is company-specific. But often this definition is not well disseminated or understood across the organization. The result is confusion and an inability to understand digital needs. Leading companies have a roadmap, infuse the business with digital capabilities and educate their team members on the vision and principles of digital.
  • Ownership: Digital is a nebulous and disruptive topic. Successful digital transformations start small and ramp as momentum builds. Executive leadership ownership and oversight helps secure investments, remove roadblocks and keep change moving at a fast pace. When leadership pushes ownership of digital initiatives too far down into the organization, initiatives do not receive the visibility and attention needed to overcome adoption obstacles.
  • Fortitude: Transformation in general takes commitment and energy. Digitizing the revenue organization challenges traditional customer engagement paradigms, legacy ways of operating and team members’ ability to develop new skills. Companies need champions armed with the ability to overcome adversity to usher the revenue organization into the future.

3. Change Adoption

When it comes time to implementing the vision, selecting the correct change model and engaging appropriate influencers are key to effective adoption. Companies must decide on an organic (leveraging existing capabilities) or inorganic (acquiring capabilities via purchase or partnership) change model, depending on the complexity of change.

Team members in the organization most likely to embrace change are the executive sponsors and the new generation of team members more willing to adapt. Middle management—the team with the greatest influence—is often overlooked.

Focus on the Model and Middle Management as foundational elements of change adoption:

  • Model: Vision and leadership will not be enough. People and organizational capabilities are important enablers. Successful transformation starts with an introspective and decision-making approach around what capabilities to build versus those to acquire. The same goes with people. Companies need talent to implement change. Successful transformations feature a balance of both new members as well as investments in educating existing team members.
  • Middle Management: Limiting participation from key influencers within middle management will stall the speed of change. Managers encourage agility and adaptability. They drive the learning of new capabilities within the rest of the team.

Digitizing the revenue organization is an inevitability. Those that change will thrive; those that do not will stagnate and risk obsolescence. Establish and demonstrate the vision and ground leadership with governing principles, and emphasize change adoption from the start.

Learn more about Alexander Group and the ongoing Digital Go-to-Customer study.
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