I woke up today feeling that there was definite change in the air. Restrictions lifting, people posting good news ‘restart’ stories and wishing all the retailers and café owners well.

There is a feeling like we are all at the starting line for a race….

In the last few weeks, we have onboarded some new clients, management teams who understand that things have changed and want to bring their team and their processes up to date.

A leader of one of the organisations told me “despite everything showing good signs of opening up, we can’t bank on being able to do what we did to land work. We don’t know how our customers will behave and must get the team tuned into digital ways of working”.

That statement came of the back of a conversation we were having where I mentioned that there is a lot of hope in the air. I meet a lot of management teams from different sectors and although many are looking to adapt and transform, there are many who are still hanging hopes on “green shoots by end of Q2…”, “things looking like they are going back to normal…”, “there are real positive signs of a return and we can get back to what we were doing before lockdown…”.

These are the people that...:

…read all the articles on the global Digital Transformation from Google, Gartner, McKinsey, MIT, Microsoft, Harvard Business Review, Hoostsuite and many more but decided it wasn’t relevant to them and their business. 

…read that 1 in 3 buyers now no longer wish to meet your Salespeople instead preferring to make buying decision based on what they see on digital channels (Gartner) and decided it didn’t apply to them.

…saw something about 9 out of 10 B2B buyers saying online content has a moderate to major effect on purchasing decisions (CMO Council).

…read the by 2025, 80% of all b2b sales will be completed digitally (Gartner) didn’t think that was worth exploring in their markets.

…believe their ‘Digital Strategy’ of simply doing what they did before but do it on digital platforms, will be enough to see them through.

…read that 80% of business decision-makers prefer to get company information from a series of articles versus an advertisement (B2B PR Sense Blog) but don’t think that will catch on.

…understand that Digital Transformation is not easy and requires a remapping of how the business works from demand generation to purchase order to after action review but decided to wait to see what happened.

…have researched how transformation to digital brings creates opportunity to streamline business process and increase efficiency but don’t think it really applies to them, their business, or their sector.

…see that for B2B sales, digital is the wave of the future (McKinsey) but need more time and thinking space.

…can see that the shift is like what we’ve seen in the B2C space, the importance of digital channels for B2B companies has grown significantly in the past few years and has radically increased since the COVID-19 crisis began but think it might be a passing trend.

…saw something about 84% of CEOs and VPs using social media to make purchasing decisions (Source IDC) but don’t think it fits with their strategy.

Its right here on our doorstep - not down the road!

I recently wrote a blog about ‘avoiding analogue business blind spots’ in which I quoted Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia when he said 2we didn’t do anything wrong, but somehow, we lost...” as he was sighing Nokia over to Microsoft.

As the Digital transform of business in all sectors gather speed and reach, we must all be on guard for the tell-tale signs that we are perhaps those people that have fallen into the traps of….

  • Existing purely in our own echo chamber
  • Being stuck in the mud of the status quo.
  • Stalling progress with analysis paralysis
  • Following the same strategy year after year
  • Not taking challengers seriously
  • Dismissing anything new as a fad

In a recent article on why Covid has changed b2b sales forever. McKinsey say…

“The most notable sign that digital sales have come of age is the comfort B2B buyers display in making large new purchases and reorders online. The prevailing wisdom used to be that e-commerce was mainly for smaller-ticket items and fast-moving parts. Not so anymore. Notably, 70 percent of B2B decision makers say they are open to making new, fully self-serve or remote purchases in excess of $50,000, and 27 percent would spend more than $500,000”.

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The upper cap will rise and rise as Digital Transformation gathers strength and pace.

We find ourselves at an interesting crossroads. Some leadership teams are choosing to head down ‘Stay as you are, it will all blow over Road’, others are heading in the opposite direction on ‘We must get the team tuned into digital ways of working Road’.  Some have decided it’s all a bit difficult, have set up camp at the crossroads and will decide later…(see the analogue traps listed above and chose a ticket..!).

In the '2021 Sales Enablement report' by Hubspot, they say…

“COVID-19 has had a significant effect on buyer behavior, and the economy has forced difficult decisions for sales leaders. Many sales organizations have been forced to operate remotely. Reps need to become more creative as buying habits have changed, managers are being asked to find new ways to improve seller productivity, and leaders are being asked to drive growth through uncertainty. However, leaders who adapted quickly and invested in enabling remote selling were rewarded. 64% of sales leaders who invested in remote selling met or exceeded revenue targets this year”.

The report goes on to state in ‘Key Findings’…

“Sales leaders who adopted a hybrid or fully remote sales model hit or exceeded revenue targets. Sales leaders whose teams typically sold in the field faced a hard choice this year: Do I subject my team to massive change and enable remote work, or try to weather this storm? Those who invested in enabling remote work were rewarded––64% of those who transitioned to remote sales this year met or exceeded revenue targets, compared to 50% of the leaders who did not make the transition. Signalling a shift in how sales teams will be structured going forward”.

So, we are now in a place where the evidence to support b2b sector Digital transformation is clear and present, report after report, result after result. We are now in a place where people are using Digital and Social Channels to sell email campaigns and cold calling, spending hours making videos for Social Media to allow them to connect with people and sell email and cold calling, all the while telling you Social Selling doesn’t work…. 🤔 (cut yourself a slice of irony…)

Fingers crossed and other great strategic no, no's!

If you have missed this, you have either been extremely busy or deliberately avoiding it…

The question is no longer whether Digital is coming, the question is no longer whether your team should be fully trained and expert in using all Digital channels to leverage all that is available to you. 

The question is whether you and your team are open minded and able to take on the personal, process and cultural change that Digital Transformation requires…. this will be the deciding factor.

If you are on the fence or wrestling with any of this, let’s have a call.

Live Social ‘21

Eric Doyle

Crux / DLA Ignite