Gary Tubridy: Hello, I am Gary Tubridy, senior vice president of the Alexander Group, and I am here with Cate Gutowski, vice president of the Commercial Digital Thread at GE Digital. Cate, welcome. Thanks for joining us.
Cate Gutowski: Hi, Gary, good to see you.
GT: Great to have you here. GE is a tech firm, and there are a whole lot of people out there that would think, no, GE is a manufacturing firm. This is a big transformation. GE as a tech firm. Tell me about that?
CG: Yes. Gary, GE is going through a significant transformation. We are in the process of really transforming the company from 125-year-old industrial company to what we call a digital industrial. It is really about the intersection of hardware and software. We are still a manufacturer and continue to be a manufacturer of jet engines, MRI machines in our healthcare business, locomotives and a lot more. What we see the opportunity for is to make all of those products smarter, and to make them more predictive.
GT: I love your title. Digital Thread. Very descriptive. Tell me more about that?
CG: The Digital Thread is really all about the fact that we really want to have the digital DNA running through the company. It all starts with the sales team.
GT: So much starts with sales. GE has over 25 thousand sellers worldwide. Can you tell me a little bit about your vision for how that sales organization will look and act?
CG: We really want to have, Gary, a sales force that is customer obsessed and driven by data. The other vision, that we have for the company, is much bigger than just the sales force. We also believe that we live in the age of the customer. In order for us to continue to create more value for our sellers, one of the things that we really have to do, is we have to enable all 300,000 of our employees to become a part of the selling team. Connected data is one great way to mobilize your entire workforce.
GT: Three hundred thousand is a lot more than 25,000, there is some leverage there.
CG: That is exactly right. That is really the intention with the Digital Thread.
GT: What do you think this new sales organization will be able to do differently to deliver on this customer obsession?
CG: What we really want to enable our sales teams to do, is to serve our customers with speed. We really want them to become the trusted advisor. We really want them to have insights delivered to them, as opposed to them searching so that they can add tremendous value to their customers. We imagine a world for our selling organization, where they are thought leaders that are sought after by our customers to solve their problems.
GT: Do you have any examples that you can share with me of how sellers were able to do just that for a customer?
CG: One of the things that I really see happening, is this blending of sales and marketing. I like to call it smarketing because I really think that that is where we are going to have to get to, in order to deliver on the expectations of our customers. When we think about the Digital Thread, we have already done a lot of work on customer accounts, leads and opportunities. Now, the next phase is, are we ready to work on contacts? When we think about the customer buyer journey, the ability to hyper-personalize to a person, as opposed to a company, is all enabled when you synchronize the contact data.
GT: Are there milestones that top sales executives ought to bear in mind, and to look for when they are going through such a transformation?
CG: The first thing you have to realize is that any type of significant transformation like this, is a multi-year journey. We have just really completed what we feel is the first phase, which was the data phase, and really the beginning of the technology stack. The next phase is about, we have learned that digital transformation is really about human transformation and that there is a lot of technology that can radically change the sales process today. Unless we continue to invest in people, and making them more comfortable with change, adjusting their mindsets, upgrading skills and capabilities, it is only then that we will really be able to take advantage and harness the full power of what AI, predictive analytics, and machine learning can do.
GT: Cate, thank you for joining us at the 2017 forum. We really appreciate it.
CG: Great. Thank you so much, Gary.