Will Digital Transformation Replace Your Traditional Sales Team?

As your company's digital transformation moves you further towards a self-service e-commerce model, can you expect the role of your traditional sales team to become defunct?

This could well be the case, after all, key parts of your sales team’s functions can now be automated to allow for greater efficiency than with traditional sales methods.

On the other hand, this change in approach is also as likely to change the nature of your sales team’s roles, or help to shift the entire way that your business operates than it is to render your sales team defunct. In fact, many companies are already beginning to experiment in role set-ups to see which will help them best evolve in the face of digital transformation.

Sales - A Vital Part of Positive Customer Experience

The days when your sales team’s role consisted of trawling through telephone lists and order forms are fading away. With this, if your organisation wants to thrive and adapt your team for your digital transformation, you should begin to coach your sales force to develop new skills and help them to apply their traditional strategies and methods to new ways of working.

A new strategic approach to your sales team’s operations serves more than the traditional purely transactional function. Members of your sales team need to guide your customers through the digital sales process, offering useful insights and providing your customers with the support they need to operate self service systems.

By making use of data captured through your online channels, your sales force will play a vital role in ensuring that the offline customer experience provided by your organisation is equally optimised as your online customer experience. This will help your sales force focus on key account management and build customer relationships that last.

Your sales team should play a big part in making the digital sales process more human to your customers. This means that members of your sales team need to help to resolve any arising issues and therefore smoothing the experience for the customer. Secondly, in much the same way that B2C salespeople may gain instant purchase history and other details through your organization's IT systems, in the B2B world your company’s CRM can be integrated with all your current systems to allow a full view of the customer and their needs across the entire sales process.

Utilising your company’s CRM system means that your sales team are perfectly placed to gain vital important information on the overall customer experience, and can report it back to your marketing and technical teams to help them to constantly improve your organisation’s digital platform. All of this means that, if implemented correctly your sales team could provide extremely valuable personalisation data that can be difficult to gain in other ways.

If this method is followed well, your organisation’s sales force can become responsible for strategically operating a channel of its own, one driven by digital, but owned and supported by the sales team.

Connection of Sales and Marketing

Achieving greater synergy between sales and marketing teams is a goal that many organisations identify as a chief priority. If this is the case for your organisation, the good news is that with data available from a wide range of platforms, and increased emphasis on account-based marketing, the potential for collaboration can only increase.

Just as you expect your marketing team to be multidisciplinary in order to act quickly and make the most out of opportunities as they arise, as well as working towards long-term goals, you also need your direct sales team to expect their role to become more varied and technical. Aligned with the prevailing trends of personalisation and hyper-localisation, you can expect to see greater alignment of your organisation’s marketing, business development, account management and sales.

Conclusion

What becomes of your sales team will depend on your organisation’s business priorities and your digital strategy. It may be the case that you consolidate your sales and marketing. On the other hand you may build a new but lean sales team that maintain a human touch while making full use of available digital tools.

Whatever your organisation’s approach, a strong digital platform and a roadmap in place can lead to enhanced efficiency and growth, without you needing to lose the accumulated knowledge of your direct marketing team.

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