The Transformation of Selling: How Digital Enables Seamless Selling

By Charlene Li, Principal Analyst at Altimeter, a Prophet company

Audience

Intended for sales, marketing and executive leadership teams looking to digitize sales across their organization.

Executive Summary

While "social selling" is a key idea that has emerged over the past few years, it has become clear that something larger is afoot. Selling is being transformed. Keeping up with fast-moving and well-informed customers requires that selling focus less on the hard sell and increasingly on adding value to the experience and relationship via digital channels. Moreover, selling must become seamless, bridging traditional department silos like Marketing, Sales, and Service to meet customers wherever they may engage an organization.

This report examines the transformation of selling in complex transactions, such as those typically done in business-to-business (B2B) sales or high consideration consumer sales. Three types of transitions drive the digital transformation process: platform integration, organization, and culture. While digital technologies may drive the transformation, the strategic focus for selling organizations must be on the organizational and cultural so that customers become and remain the focus of the selling process.


Key Findings

  1. Selling must transform because the way customers buy has changed. Digital has fundamentally changed the buying process for customers
  2. Integration of data, insights, and content platforms lays the foundation for the transformation of selling. Most companies have an overabundance of technology, but lack the integration between those platforms to keep customers at the center.
  3. Organizational structure, process, and metrics must transform. While digital technologies may drive the transformation, the strategic focus for selling organizations must be on the organizational and cultural.
  4. Culture change focuses on developing critical skills. Instead of thinking about culture as the “soft skills”, organizations need to think of them as critical skills that will support the digital transformation of selling.
  5. Companies need to assess their selling transformation maturity. This report includes a maturity model with the 5 stages of the digital transformation of selling.