The Covid-19 pandemic abruptly pushed companies to accept a new working model overnight, and companies and customers had to adapt to online collaboration, communication, and delivery. This is why companies will find that a digital transformation is not an option; it is now necessary for survival. They will also come to realize that by transforming into an intelligent enterprise, they can protect their operations against future disruptions.

When traditional means of communication are shut down, the very survival of your business may be at stake. Even before sales meetings were postponed, trade shows were canceled, and travel was almost completely stopped, digital disruption was in play. The most important reason why B2B companies lose deals is the failure to effectively express their competitive advantage to potential clients. This problem becomes even worse when people are unable to meet in person.

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Sales and marketing teams had been moving slowly into the digital world. As a result of the pandemic, the pace of change has increased dramatically. Salespeople now have to use slide shows in virtual meetings as their main communication tool. Marketers also had to enhance websites and electronic versions of their brochures and have had to increase the use of videos to explain their services and products. The problem with all these tools is that the potential customer is passively watching without engaging.

Today, when we communicate with customers using teleconferencing tools, the sales presentation is even less effective because the prospect has too many distractions when working from home. This means the most important element of digital sales and marketing is customer engagement. In order to deliver an engaging message, marketers have to connect in three ways: intellectually (with relevant information), multisensory (with touch, sight, voice, etc.) and emotionally (with an engaging and meaningful message).

Interactive experiences help to:

  • Keep the customer’s focus
  • Enhance memory retention
  • Encourage engagement

When trade shows were canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic, the biggest companies took their interactive experiences online to create engaging customer conferences. They also trained their sales teams to use these tools in one-on-one virtual meetings, and they are now able to effectively demonstrate their competitive advantage.

Benefits of the Digital Transformation 

In a digital world where people can find most answers online, the need to pay for specialized knowledge has decreased. This is especially true in business consulting. Up until now, big consulting firms used proprietary expertise to get customers; now, this is not the case. Knowledge can be found everywhere. When it comes to the consulting business, we find ourselves in an interesting paradox: while consultants are telling their clients to invest more in the digital transformation, their own firms are often failing to keep up.

This gives consultants who have invested in digitization, and who have learned by doing, an increased ability to guide and support clients as they go through the same processes. At Effective Managers we have gone completely virtual in all of our programs and services. This provides the ability to be in front of clients more easily, and it reduces the client costs for the  same level of service. In our pilots with virtual assessments, implementation and training we find that we can produce the same levels of quality service and client satisfaction.

Virtual support is not simply getting that free Zoom account, and then doing and saying the same things while sitting in front of a computer instead of across the desk. By putting in the effort to work in new ways, using virtual technology as an asset for the client, it is possible to improve the service offering.

The same is true of the digitization of services. As consultants, our service offerings have necessarily required significant investments from clients. As long as the main product being sold is the time of the consultant, then senior expertise comes at a cost. True digitization can result in the provision of better services at dramatically reduced costs. I am excited to be launching many of these services this year. What are the services in your organization that can be transformed? 

Perhaps the biggest advantage of new technology is that the focus is now on short-cycle and cloud-based projects, as the new technologies make it possible to complete work more quickly.

Some other benefits are higher productivity, more accurate prediction models, and lower costs. There are also new tools that help organizations optimize existing solutions, such as tools for data processing and mining.

Finally, automation and AI have huge potential across the board. Consulting firms, especially, should incorporate automation and AI into their processes. Doing this will increase their client base and customer loyalty, thanks to increased efficiency and lower costs.

Digital and modern technologies are not completely replacing conventional methods and processes. But they are replacing many, and enhancing even more. Change is moving at an alarmingly fast pace. Whatever your industry, this area demands attention.

Change Culture

Now is not the time to go back to the “old” ways. For bold leadership in sales, marketing, and consulting, a digital transformation is necessary to encourage true customer engagement.

This is because most digital technologies offer possibilities for greater efficiency and intimacy with customers. But if employees don’t have the mindset to change, and the current organizational processes are flawed, the digital transformation only highlights those flaws. In order for the digital transformation to succeed, you need to figure out your potential internal stumbling blocks before you invest in the technology.

You also need to recognize your employees’ fear of being replaced. When they perceive that a digital transformation could mean that their jobs are in danger, they may resist the changes. It is crucial for leaders to acknowledge those fears and to explain that the digital transformation is an opportunity for employees to upgrade their knowledge to suit the future marketplace.

Leaders need to go back to the essentials and change the mindset of their employees, as well as the organizational processes and culture, before deciding which digital tools to use. What the people envision to be the future of the organization determines the technology, not the other way around.

Check out our new Digital Readiness Assessment program., Of course it is virtual. More importantly, it can give you a snapshot of your organization to understand some of the hurdles and barriers that you may face in implementing digital transformation projects. When used periodically, it can offer an excellent way to gauge progress toward your goal of developing an effective and efficient organization. It assesses ten factors, gives you an view of the strengths and of the areas that need improvement. Finally, it will give you insights of what work may have to be done to prepare your organization for success. Learn more here.