Technology is evolving at a fantastic rate and the buzzword of the moment right now for businesses is ‘digital’. The growth in use of the web and social media platforms has changed the way people interact, find and choose products and services, so both B2Bs and B2Cs are needing to adapt.
The role of IT is being seen as increasingly important in the world of sales and marketing – and more broadly within models of business growth. Digital tools are being integrated within day-to-day processes and the IT function is working more closely with marketing to capitalise on the rise of multiple customer channels.
Its importance is also being seen in the creation of new job roles. Chief marketing technology officers, and other similar positions, are popping up with responsibility for aligning marketing technology with business goals, serving as a liaison with IT teams, and evaluating and choosing technology providers.
While traditional ways of doing business that focus on face-to-face communication and relationship building continue to be strong, there are now more and more digital tools available that can help strengthen and enhance all stages of the sales process.
As leader, you have overall responsibility for strategy, direction and ensuring your teams have all the tools they need to succeed. You will want to provide resources that make a measureable difference, can save you time and that will pay back on your investment many times over. But with so many to choose from, and with new ones emerging daily, it may feel like a minefield.
So where do you start when it comes to choosing and integrating the digital tools that will most aid your business?
Bringing IT to the strategic table
A good place to begin is with your high level business objectives, and your short and long term goals. To get the results you’re striving for, what do your teams need to achieve and how are they going to do it? Is it reaching more potential customers and generating more leads? Closing more deals, or growing revenue from existing accounts or through referrals? Find the metrics that could be gamechangers for your business. The tools to consider are ones that are proven to help with these specific tasks. Consider asking team members for suggestions and ideas on different tools they may have used previously.
For some ideas check out these articles:
Apples or oranges?
When you look at the available tools, consider how you are approaching the decision-making process itself. It’s time to consider the old adage – are you comparing apples with apples? Only when products and services are truly comparable can you make a clear comparison and come to an informed decision.
Once you’ve found a tool that fits the bill, think how long you will trial it for and what measureable results you will use to evaluate its success. This should include speaking to teams for their feedback, as they are the ones who will be working with it on a daily basis. Make sure you give it a reasonable timeframe and plan in to canvass for opinions throughout the process.
Full buy in
Then it’s time to plan how to integrate the tool and to fully commit to it. Teams will need proper training and ongoing support to make sure they understand and get the most out of the investment you have made.
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