Is Your Business Transactional or Strategic With Customer-Facing Technology Investments?

Brendon Dennewill March 26, 2021

As you plan for business growth, is your leadership team strategic or transactional when it comes to deciding on sales and marketing technology solutions?

If you're not sure, here are three simple yes or no statements to help you answer:

    • We have invested in sales technology and marketing technology and the systems are fully integrated with each other.
    • Our sales, marketing, and customers success systems are set up to help our teams accelerate sales.
    • Our sales, marketing, and customer success technology is designed to deliver a great customer experience.

If you answered yes to all of these, then you likely have a strategic-focused leadership team, your business is most likely in great shape, and there’s no reason to continue reading this article.

If you answered no to one or more of these statements, it could be extremely helpful to read on.


Digital Transformation

The digital transformation of businesses has been underway for more than 100 years, since the telephone started changing how products and services were bought and sold. The common thread of all improvements in technology is that they make our lives easier (more convenient, more efficient, and/or more effective).

According to leading research teams at organizations such as McKinsey, the digitization of many of our businesses and industries accelerated by seven years in 2020.

This acceleration has created real challenges for millions of businesses. As always, it has also created the biggest opportunity since 2009, especially for companies who are serious about growing their market share.

A common struggle is that this is the first time many businesses are seriously investing in the technology and digital consulting needed to scale and stay relevant, and that’s often when poor ‘transactional’ decision-making happens.

Quite often, when we do anything for the first time, knowing what questions to ask as we frame the objectives is often a primary challenge. Organizations that are successful in these situations are the ones who have the foresight to slow down for long enough to later speed up more effectively, and to do so for longer. These are typically businesses where leaders have a clear vision, a smart go-to-market strategy, and a solid operating plan.


Voice of the Customer & How People Buy

One of the most important components of a strong strategy and an exemplary operating plan that comes into play here is customer feedback – frequent and ongoing customer feedback. This is also referred to as VoC or Voice of the Customer. (👈This is a link to a recent HubSpot article about VoC Methodologies)

As we are reminded at least every 90 days during our quarterly planning, a growing business exists primarily because of two factors: great employees and great customers.

If you have a great team solving for your ideal customers, the rest will take care of itself, right?

Absolutely. 

A major complication, however, is the impact of the ever-changing, and ever-accelerating, change of technology on those great employees and customers.

One more complication in this scenario is that customers typically adapt to change quicker than businesses and their employees.

For example, when those of us who could work remotely started working from home a year ago, we went home for our jobs AND we went home as consumers. We quickly figured out how to buy what we needed and wanted but when we put our work hats on in the morning, we were still trying to figure out how we should sell given the new circumstances.

Businesses that figured this out, or are still in the process of figuring this out, have been and will continue to reap the rewards and return on investment.


The ABCs of ROI With Digital Transformation

  1. Assess – Assess where the gaps are in your sales, marketing, and customer success processes and systems.
  2. Build – Build out the first solutions based on what you found in your assessment. For example, it might be your website that needs work, or your CRM, or how you integrate them using automation.
  3. Consult & Support –  Consult your customers, your cross-functional teams, and any external partners to create top-down and bottom-up solutions that will create momentum for your business.

Keep repeating and refining these three steps and you’ll be on the path to transform your organization in an effective and sustainable way. And, you will maximize ROI.

To get you started, Here’s a quick assessment to identify where you currently have gaps or friction in your sales, marketing, and customer success operations. 

This will help you take a step back and strategically figure out where to focus your efforts. You’ll see the results in two ways: (1) improved operational effectiveness and (2) a better experience for your customers and your team.

By taking a more strategic approach to aligning your people, processes, and technology, you minimize the risk of making poor ‘transactional’ decisions that result in less than desirable outcomes. Instead, you will be solving for all stakeholders, starting with your customers, and including your staff, your partners, and your shareholders.