Over the past two years, sales has gone from a mostly analog experience (coffees and in-person meetings) to an almost completely digital one, and digital transformation shows no signs of slowing. Nearly every aspect of our lives has been impacted; many of us now exclusively work remotely. Meetings, trainings, and demos that used to be held in offices are now regularly handled over Zoom.
It’s no question that selling has changed forever. Sales leaders need to pay attention to best position their teams and companies to adapt and take advantage of potential opportunities that arise from a newer, digital-first way of doing business.
What is Digital Transformation?
According to IBM’s Red Hat, digital transformation is when organizations adopt new and innovative ways to do business based on technological advances.
The term is undoubtedly a broad one. Even Gartner admits that it can refer to “anything from IT modernization (for example, cloud computing), to digital optimization, to the invention of new digital business models.”
In years past, the concept almost took on a buzzword status. But today, the impact of digital transformation has become much more apparent and tangible. Take, for example, society’s sudden and almost complete shift to remote work/schooling, e-commerce, healthcare, and even legal proceedings.
It’s no question that digital transformation will only continue to accelerate in the years to come, even in sectors of the economy where technology and digitization were once overlooked or resisted.
Let’s take a look at how digital transformation is evolving and likely to impact your business model or sales process.
Digital Transformation Trends
As companies continue their trend of adopting digital replacements for analog products and processes, the adoption curve will steepen, and the rates will accelerate. Here are a few of the current trends starting (or continuing) their progression up the curve.
1. Cutting-Edge Computing
This is a portmanteau because, while computation is still growing in availability and decreasing in price, according to Moore’s Law, the real trend is the growth in edge computing.
Edge computing is the process of running a program on the end user’s device instead of waiting for the data request to execute in the cloud (or another server) and returning to the device with a response. This increases efficiency and reduces the security risk of data interception while in flight.
Loading bars are like death by a thousand paper cuts to your team’s productivity. If you’re relying on insights in real time, you and your suppliers should be leveraging edge computing.
2. Cloud Processing
While it’s best to do time-sensitive computation on edge devices, the modern cloud is an essential resource for businesses confronting digital transformation.
Instead of investing in expensive CPUs, GPUs (graphical processing units), or even TPUs (tensor processing units), you can leverage cloud computing providers to use the processors best suited for your problem set.
Cloud computing providers also remove the need to manage the added complexity of hardware servers, while providing an accessible API to access and manage your data.
3. 5G Networks
5G is a big jump in network performance. To put things into perspective, what took 4G about 200 milliseconds to process only takes 5G about 1 millisecond to process.
This increase in network performance and decreased latency will significantly enhance the use cases of the many other technologies already discussed and more. According to Qualcomm, by 2035, 5G is forecasted to generate $13.2 trillion in sales enablement.
4. Machine Intelligence
At this stage in the innovation lifecycle, we are somewhere between machine learning and artificial intelligence, which is why we’ve identified the next trend as another mash-up of words: machine intelligence.
When we first entered the information age, there was more data than we knew what to do with. Most datasets, pipelines, and problems faced by companies today have been confronted before and can be structured, processed, and modeled in a way that surfaces helpful insights. From accounting, manufacturing, and sales to more specific use cases like healthcare, biotechnology, and more, data is the food for machines to become intelligent.
One specific form of machine intelligence that’s significantly growing in adoption is revenue operations and intelligence (RO&I). Through the combination of historical data and real-time activity data, machine learning models surface predictive intelligence to drive revenue growth.
Although we’ve encountered many data problems already, the sheer volume of data generated every day is staggering. Many machine learning advocates believe that more data will be the panacea, but data is not equivalent to insights or solutions.
In most situations, it still takes human intuition and logic to move from raw data to decision making. With 463 exabytes (equivalent to 463 billion gigabytes) of data being generated every day, there’s far more data than the collective human race can adequately assess, analyze, and leverage.
One silver lining about the accumulation of data is that many people are innovating ways to store, analyze, and leverage it for varied purposes and problems. In other words, the dataverse is becoming more hospitable to companies trying to navigate digital transformation, so start exploring your data.
6. Smart Contracts
Blockchain technologies are very much in the global spotlight, but a lesser-known component of a blockchain — smart contracts — will likely have an even greater impact on the business landscape.
A smart contract is the programmatic agreement and execution of a contract between two or more parties. Instead of relying on an inked contract and keeping your fingers crossed that the other parties are acting in good faith, smart contracts hold parties accountable. With smart contracts, both parties need to meet their terms to move on to the next steps.
Automated contracts will significantly decrease the need for the enforcement or mediation of contract law.
7. Robotic Collaboration
In chess, there’s a grandmaster who’s better than all other human chess players; but computers can beat a grandmaster with ease. Computer-assisted humans, however, can defeat individual humans and computers alike.
These effective collaborations between humans and machines are becoming more and more common in many industries and businesses.
Robotic process automation (RPA) is augmenting the modern worker with the ability to leverage a computer to offload some of their work, significantly increasing their productivity.
Robotics adoption and human collaboration specifically are currently most pervasive in the manufacturing industry. For example, the automotive industry has heavily invested in robotics and is already capturing the productivity and safety benefits.
Impacts of Digital Transformation Trends on Sales
Now you might be asking, “How should I be thinking about digital transformation in my sales organization?” Below are three major reasons why you should deeply consider your digital transformation strategy and timeline.
1. Revolutionize the Way Your Team Leverages Data
Data that is actionable can drastically change the way teams work and sell.
For example, what if you could know right now how many deals fell apart last year because your sales team failed to develop strong relationships with more than one buyer at a prospect? Single-threaded deals are fine at the beginning of the buyer’s journey but pose a major risk when it comes time to negotiate and close a deal.
People.ai research indicates that the bigger the deal, the more people are on the buying committee. For B2B deals that closed between $50K–$100K, there were an average of 11 people in the buying group; that number jumps to 14 for deals above $100K.
Identifying single-threaded deals in the pipeline is critical to saving and closing those deals.
So, what if digitally transformative tools gave you the superpower to proactively flag and take corrective action on at-risk deals in your pipeline? Wouldn’t that change the way you think about data? People.ai does just that.
2. Give You a Leg Up on the Competition
A Harvard study analyzed economic sectors to better understand how digitization impacts business and found that digitally mature sectors of the economy have workforces that are 13 times more digitally engaged than the rest of the economy.
“Technology still hasn’t penetrated much of the everyday work performed by many Americans, which means that most businesses are missing opportunities for greater efficiency and better customer experience. Many still need to break out of their old habit of housing ‘digital talent’ in a separate department.”
The study also found that most digital companies see outsized growth in productivity and profit margins. The data is clear — digital transformation results in better business outcomes, and strategically transforming your business before your competition can create a significant competitive advantage.
3. Make Your Team Instantly More Productive
CRM continues to be the bane of most sales teams’ existence. Clunky UIs, slow loading times, and the need to open way too many tabs only makes things even more inefficient and frustrating. But, according to InsideSales, reps are still forced to spend over 15% of their time on CRM reporting activities.
What if digitally transformative technology could provide a better way?
PeopleGlass by People.ai lets you hit fast forward on your Salesforce updates by managing your pipeline, next steps, and notes from a single, spreadsheet-like view.
People.ai takes things one step further, automatically capturing business-related activities and matching them to the correct opportunity in your CRM. With People.ai, reps can save time, ramp up faster, and ultimately close more deals. In addition, sales leadership gets unprecedented insight into account and deal health, enhanced coaching opportunities, and added forecast accuracy.
How’s that for a productivity boost?
Your Digital Transformation Destiny
Digital transformation is coming for your industry — it’s only a matter of time.
Learn all the ways People.ai can help your enterprise harness digital transformation to increase revenue per rep every year by registering for our Next Gen Revenue Engine webinar.
To learn more about People.ai, check out Forrester’s New Tech: Revenue Operations And Intelligence report, where People.ai has been named a Late-Stage Vendor.