The Covid19 pandemic has created a crisis for the entire networked global economy and business challenges are occuring to virtually all industries. The crisis has brought vast change for companies, but also the opportunity to develop and even create new business.
McKinsey conducted a survey of companies on their plans to adapt and change their business in this “new normal” in B2B industial services. According to McKinsey’s analysis, companies can achieve up to 30% growth by digitizing their services. Almost all of the companies participating in the study have now digitized their customer processes in this crisis situation.
The study clearly found as the most popular action in digitization, 76% of companies have increased their use of various virtual meeting tools (such as MS Teams and Zoom), which is also probably expected result.
Interesting finding in the study was especially that 65% of companies have planned to develop a digital sales channel in their product sales. One third of companies have already taken action in sales & customer service digitalization, and developed self-service channels for customers during a pandemic.
It is evident from the McKinsey study that companies are considering digitalizing various processes that require customer contact, and some companies have already taken steps to digitalize their customer processes.
Companies are preparing for the new normal by investing in digital channels.
According to McKinsey, the “new normal” in B2B commerce means in particular increase in digital interaction in sales and services. Digitalization is especially visible in the customer interaction and in the ways which services are provided for the customer.
The digital world enables new perspectives on business, such as more accurate understanding of customer behavior and needs. Customer interaction can be transformed with the help of digital solutions. In digital channel the interaction with the customer can take place over a longer period of time and does not have to be completely real-time, but the communication can be designed to meet customer actions more precisely. Chatbot communication channels are just one example of such an approach. The digitalized service processes should not be planned to operate similar way as the customer process operates in the real world.
Indeed, digital customer processes enable new ways of providing services, customer communication and information gathering for B2B business. There is already a huge example of new multi-channel businesses and their processes in consumer business.
Data collected from digital channels can be analyzed in databases much more accurately and systematically, especially with the help of modern analysis tools. This in-depth analysis of the customer can then be utilized to better understand the customer’s needs and better interpret the customer’s buying behavior. When you understand your customers more deeply, you will be better able to create new opportunities for your current business and even in new business areas.
The attached image of McKinsey’s article gives a good idea of the opportunities for industrial companies to digitalize the processes of different operations.
This article focuses on a few perspectives on these numerous different opportunities brought by digitalization to develop a business in the “new normal”.
What could a new digital normal be for sales?
Sales self-service, according to a McKinsey study, has grown 250% due to the corona. Here it is important to note that companies’ current sales processes and tools are currently unable to respond to the customer’s growing desire to act more independently in the sales process.
There are challenges not only in the current digital service infrastructure but also in the functionalities of the digital services in use. Thus, the digital customer services currently in use do not scale to the growing number of users and customer needs, but companies need new solutions to be implemented with modern technologies.
New technologies can be used to present the company’s solutions to customers in a new way. With the help of 3D modeling and visualizations, the solutions and solutions offered by the company can be brought to the customer’s view from a distance through digital service channels. For example, 3D modeling tools can be conveniently combined with a company’s product information management, making it easy to present alternative product configurations to the customer with all the required technical details. The customer can even model the solution they need in real time with such a 3D configurator.
Digital sales channel can easily gather information about customer behavior. Based on the data collected about the customer’s interest, the company is able to assess what the customer thinks as possible solutions, at a very accurate level. For example, it is possible to draw conclusions based on customer’s behavior about the probability for the customer’s buy comparing different solution proposals and quotations. Of course, it is not advisable to leave the interpretation to this analysis alone, but rather to use this analysis to support the customer conversation.
Technologies can used to reduce unnecessary contact between people in services.
Digital solutions enable a service provider to do more services remotely. Installation work can be planned and prepared in advance, and part of the service support can be performed through a virtual channel. For example, a local service partner can be better supported in their tasks by leveraging new virtual channels to guide installation and maintenance work.
The sensors behind the remote connections make it possible to monitor the operation of the devices better and more efficiently. In this way, it is possible to anticipate the need for maintenance operations and produce maintenance work more productively, causing less disruption to production. The services are produced from the customer’s point of view in a timely manner, in which case they best benefit the customer’s business. From the supplier’s point of view, on the other hand, resources are allocated and operated more optimally. In this way, the customer gets more benefits and the supplier’s operational costs decrease again.
In the sales phase, many steps and tasks related to the definition of the solution can be performed remotely. Various digital tools and visual configurators can be used to determine needs and find solutions that fit the needs. Digital tools can even improve the quality of customer work by ensuring that the customer’s need is systematically identified and documented together in a single database.
As a result of the effective use of virtual tools, the need to travel is significantly reduced, and thus there will necessarily be fewer have physical encounters with other people, whether it is sales or service activities. In addition to increased safety, the environment, travel time and money are significantly saved.
At the same time, investing in digital services is also an economic investment in sustainable development.
Digitalisation in sales processes also enables higher quality of sales management.
With the help of digital tools, a company gets a significant amount of new data related to their sales transactions. Thanks to digitalisation, sales proposals are included with high-quality information. In general, this new type of sales data allows for better management as more detailed information is obtained about the sales measures taken and their impact.
With better data, it is possible to monitor sales performance more closely, and reward sales for more targeted successes. Thus, based on the analytics, it is possible to reward more clearly on achievements made, and the correlation between the sales compensation and the financial benefit received by the company increases. This is how both the company and its salespeople wins.
The necessary technologies are available – how can companies seize new opportunities?
The technologies required for new types of digital sales and service models already exist and are used by many companies. The question is more about how companies want to be accessible to their customers and how companies want to serve their customers. So companies need to think about how they want business models and processes to work in the new world, and plan how digital solutions can serve the company.
In terms of digitalisation, in terms of the “new normal”, everything starts with the company’s business strategy, just like before. An operating environment in line with the “new normal” requires a new business strategy for the company. The new business strategy must be able to define the customers sought in the corona world, for whom a new sales model must be considered with appropriate processes and tools. Digitalisation is now a huge opportunity to reach existing customers as well as new customers with new business models.
According to a McKinsey study, new digital tools can help companies achieve:
- Growth in productivity
- Reduced direct operating costs
- Improved production quality
- Increased staff safety
- Improved the customer experience
Many benefits are available through the digitization of customer service processes. It is more about what are the business needs of the company and the opportunities to invest in digital processes and services. Based on the company needs and investment abilities, the company’s development priorities and digital investment targets in customer processes must be considered. There are a lot of possibilities in the new digital normal!
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