Sales and Marketing Departments Fall Behind In Digital Transformation Projects

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Sales and Marketing Departments Fall Behind In Digital Transformation Projects

Research reveals that two thirds of sales departments are less than a year into transformation initiatives as lack of investment holds back progress.

Over two thirds (69%) of sales managers are less than a year into digital transformation projects, or worse, have no plans to transform at all, according to new research from Showpad. Almost half (48%) of senior sales managers admit that financial issues are a barrier to evolving their businesses, with teams struggling to secure investment within the organisation to drive innovation in sales, and technological and people issues follow close behind.

“Most organisations have embarked on operational and commercial digital transformation projects, but it seems that many are struggling to apply this to their sales team and buyer experience,” said Jim Preston, VP EMEA Sales, Showpad. “However, buyer experience is now the differentiating factor in the buying process, above and beyond product specifications or even price. Quite simply, sales and marketing professionals must transform if they want to provide the best, most insightful and personalised experience for their customers.”

According to the study, sales enablement is a key priority for most senior sales managers, with 53% ranking it as important, higher than any other type of innovation. Staff also ranked cloud technologies (46%) and marketing automation (45%) highly. However, with Salesforce recently noting that cultural and business model change are equally important to digital transformation projects, teams must be prepared to do more than write cheques for tech if they are to transform effectively.

Sales managers did admit that they face a number of organisational barriers, with 45% of respondents saying that their organisation was fundamentally unpractised at change. An equal percentage also said that a lack of buy-in, education and understanding held back sales transformation projects. However, with organisations such as Honeywell seeing an 83% increase in stock price after digitally transforming, there is little doubt that successful initiatives can be revolutionary for company revenue.

“Many sales leaders are trailblazers; one in ten [10%] are more than three years into a project that will digitally transform their sales departments, with one in five [21%] between one and three years in,” continued Preston. “These initiatives are vital: it doesn’t matter if you’re selling the most innovative product in the world if you can’t communicate the benefits to customers. Organisations like Sprout Social and Promega have seen sales enablement change all of this, turbocharging the sales process, making it an absolutely essential priority for organisations in 2020.”