“We’ve learned that the buyer journey is much more complex,” noted an executive at a recent Alexander Group virtual roundtable event.
Revenue leaders are finding their buyers are making decisions based on new economic realities, and Sales, Marketing and Service organizations must be realigned to support that journey.
Alexander Group’s research on what digital transformation means for the revenue organization, echoes this sentiment. Interviews with more than 60 leaders at organizations spanning multiple sectors show that companies are quickly investing in new roles that use a data-centric approach to revenue decision making.
Customer Engagement and Effectiveness Vary Greatly
Customer engagement is the key to improved revenue and while many companies recognize the need to change, they are still struggling to find the right customer engagement approach:
- Helping customers succeed after the sale is seen as critical by 90% of executives, but only 40% feel they have effective programs in place.
- Enabling sellers as part of the solution assessment is important to 96% of executives, but only 32% believe they are effective.
- Making buyers aware of our unique solutions is important to 95% of leaders, but only 23% believe they are effective at their awareness efforts.
Many firms are still in the rapid transformation process or are just beginning their digital transformations. Those that will succeed will remember that customer engagement, based on understanding the new buyer journey, is critical.
The Digital Revenue Organization
Historically, Sales, Marketing and Service were distinct functions. They had separate leaders, processes and datasets that did not support the buyer from awareness, to sale, to post-sale support. Customer datasets were rarely shared across functions, providing little transparency to a buyer’s needs and engagement.
The Digital Revenue Organization is designed to overcome these gaps. Digital Revenue Organizations place the customer at the center of the organization, using technology to engage with the buyer throughout the lifecycle of the relationship. To achieve this, all functions must have access to customer data, be technologically adept, and functionally aligned. The digital revenue leader makes data-driven decisions based on a holistic view of the customer, uniting Sales, Marketing and Service, to engage with buyers from pre-sale to post-sale support.
Data Analytics is the Emerging Foundation
As functional areas align around a single focus, there must also be centralized data analytics that reveal buyer behavior. Applied data science provides information about marketing campaigns, lead management, sales pursuits, solution configuration, pricing, service interactions and more.
Democratized buyer journey data is another key input gathered from third parties, marketing automation, social media, CRM, service platforms and other internal systems. This data provides nearly real-time insights that reflect buyer behavior, allowing companies to quickly respond to product or service issues and potential opportunities. Democratized data provides business intelligence more quickly and accurately to digital revenue leaders, allowing them to adjust revenue motions that improve profitability.
Emerging Roles Require Digital Skills
As technology and data are utilized across the enterprise, companies seek employees who have digital skills. For employees without digital skills, firms are investing in training and development programs. Long-time sales professionals who relied solely on professional relationships are finding the need to learn and master virtual enablement tools to grow their careers and employers are stepping up to provide that training.
New roles are emerging, including social media and chat specialists. Since field sales reps have limited access to customer sites, they are being integrated into inside sales to create a digital sales department. Organizations recognize that they must invest in the people, data and digital enablement tools that allow them to serve their evolving customer base.
The Role of the Chief Revenue Officer
The integration of Sales, Marketing and Service requires leadership with diverse skills and a strategic understanding of the entire buyer journey. Firms are investing in the role of Chief Revenue Officer (CRO) to integrate these functions with the data, processes and technology that unite them.
Armed with data analytics and new insights, the CRO is now equipped to make data-driven decisions that support the organization in growing revenue while maintaining close engagement with the customer base.
Sales, Marketing and Service Remain Fundamentally Changed
The integration of Sales, Marketing and Service, supported by data analytics and digitally-savvy teams, is a new model for most organizations. Successful implementation of the Digital Revenue Organization requires vision and commitment to serve emerging buyer journeys and expectations.
Authored by The Alexander Group, Inc.®