The Digitization Of Business impacts every business and virtually individual in the world. It’s this and the next decade’s industrial revolution.
The digitization of business is not just about the application of technology to business, it’s really about deploying capabilities, solutions, engaging employees, customers, suppliers and communities in ways that have only been imagined in science fiction. Currently, we see only the tip of the iceberg of potential and already they are having amazing impacts in healthcare, financial services, retail, technology, transportation, consumer products and other sectors.
As with the businesses we work for and with, Digitization will demand we transform sales and marketing. Too often, I think we distract ourselves from understanding the true impact of Digital Sales Transformation by being distracted by technology, sales stacks, social selling, and the shiny toys being promoted.
Ironically, we get to the heart of Digital Sales Transformation by going to the basics of high impact selling and sales management.
Selling is, and always has been, about creating value with our customers. It’s about finding customers with problems we are the best in the world at solving, helping them seize the opportunity to change, helping them navigate their buying processes, and helping them achieve their goals.
Over time, we have applied different labels to the strategies, methods, processes through which we engage our customers. Whether we have called it solution selling, consultative selling, customer focused selling, account based selling, insight based or challenger selling……or whatever labels are currently fashionable, the basics remain the same:
- We and our customers succeed when we put the customers’ first, focusing on helping them achieve their goals.
- We maximize our impact, effectiveness, and efficiency, when we have disciplined approaches to how we engage these customers.
- We win by creating superior, differentiated value with our customers, and as defined by our customers.
- Sharp, consistent, focused execution is critical to our success.
Mastering these is where the hard work is in selling. Too often, we aren’t committed to that hard work and take shortcuts. Often we leverage technology to help do this. They may provide temporary improvements, they are like a sugar high, they are seldom, by themselves successful.
However, technology deployed in support of these basics produce huge results that can be sustained, providing further differentiation from others.
When Donal Daly asked me to review his book, Digital Sales Transformation In A Customer First World, I jumped at the opportunity. My work with Donal has shown he always approaches sales from a foundation of excellent execution of basic principles. Donal’s book is a wonderful guide to how we apply these basics in our fast changing and transforming worlds. There are not magic solutions, no silver bullets, just thoughtful, disciplined thinking around how to effectively engage customers.
The book is, in some sense, overwhelming–not just in the number of pages, but in the breadth and depth of the content. My advice in reading the book is to skim it one or two times. Then keep it on your desk as a daily reference guide, going into the sections you need at the moment.
Digital Sales Transformation starts with the fundamentals, the things that have always been true about effective selling, but Donal goes into the role of technology in amplifying our abilities to execute and create value for our customers.
Finally, while Donal doesn’t spend more than a couple of chapters on it, he talks about AI–Augmented Intelligence and its role in transforming the customer and seller experience. Frankly, it’s the best discussion I’ve read about the promise and peril of AI in sales. 90% of what I read on this topic is written by people who are clueless about the capabilities of AI. Both Donal and I have run companies that developed AI based technologies and tools. Effective application of these technologies requires wickedly smart people implementing them, and leveraging them. These few chapters, themselves, justify the purchase price of the book.
I encourage you to buy Digital Sales Transformation In A Customer First World, skim it to become familiar with the contents, then keep it close by to do deep dives when you need to get smart very quickly on certain topics.