Here's a genuinely surprising statistic we picked up from a new Accenture report on the sales experience within industrial operations. Even though anywhere from 2/3 to 4/5 of business buyers indicate that they want a smooth "Amazon style" online purchasing experience, only 7.2% of industrial operations have plans to update their sales processes in the next two years. More than half - 58.2% - have no plans to improve their sales experience for at least five years.
Nor is it the case that large numbers of companies have already moved to a digitally-integrated sales experience. The report only finds around 11% of industrial operations have actively embraced a digital sales transformation. Meanwhile, roughly a quarter of companies say that they aren't only not planning on updating, but that their own workforce is actively resistant to the idea.
This is a significant problem - at least for the companies that will not update. In the meantime, the relatively small number of companies investing in better sales processes will have a much easier time attracting new customers by simply making it easier to buy from them! Operations that don't update their processes soon may get stuck in a downward spiral where they lose customers due to a lack of upgrades, but won't have the revenue to upgrade.
When making digital upgrades, here are five key areas to focus on:
1. An end-to-end digital experience
It should be possible for buyers to conduct all their business online, including initial research, making sales, and post-sale support. Creating this sort of all-digital experience also means companies can collect so much additional data on their customers, which can pay off in numerous ways that benefit both sellers and buyers.
2. Customized recommendations
One of the biggest benefits that buyers can see from an all-digital sales experience is the use of customer data to generate personalized recommendations. Not only are these useful for customers as a time-saver, but they also genuinely help drive sales! When a customer opens up your site and the products they need are right on the landing page, they're highly likely to buy with little delay.
3. Predictive data-driven insights
Being able to collect robust, reliable statistics on every digital purchase means that you get unparalleled insight into purchasing and marketing decisions. Buying patterns become more predictable, and you're less likely to end up under- or over-stocked based on demand. Plus, the longer these systems are in place, the more accurate the predictions become over time.
4. A standardized sales process
Standardized electronic processes benefit everyone involved in the sales chain. For buyers, it means a predictable and reliable experience - they won't concerns about whether they'll have to adapt their methods or processes depending on who their salesperson is. From a business side, it allows you to roll out standardized tools to all your points-of-sale and sales partners, standardizing data entry, as well as simplifying training and onboarding.
5. Strong front-office collaborations
A great buyer experience requires a company whose offices are working together, rather than separately. Sales, marketing, and post-sale support offices should be connected and sharing data. This makes the process smoother for customers, while providing data which all three offices can benefit from. R&D can benefit here too, by analyzing customer patterns as well as complaints or suggestions about the products being sold.
In short, a digital sales transformation is truly a win-win proposition all around. Change is difficult, but we're quickly hitting a point where that change has become necessary. Going forward, companies that embrace digital transformation will see significant boosts to their sales and their sales processes, while those who resist will tend to fall further behind.
LogicBay can help you close that gap! We're experts in enabling digital transformation, and helping companies of all sizes embrace Industry 4.0 upgrades through improved communications and collaboration. Contact us to learn more!