How B2B firms should move their sales forces in digital era


A recent research by market analysis firm Forrester found that Cisco, GE, and IBM have showcased best B2B sales force digital transformation practices.

Forrester says those methods can be followed by organisations regardless of the size, complexity, or targeted industries.

In the digital era, B2B marketing and sales leaders must transform their sales forces to keep pace with digitally oriented buyers.

According to a report in eMarketer, a study from Technology for Marketing (TFM) and Smart Insights revealed that some marketers have started to adopt digital transformation programs.

While 21 percent of the marketers surveyed globally in April had already started a digital transformation program, 9 percent already had one in place for two years.

The above mentioned three companies demonstrate that cross-departmental collaboration is essential and sales force digital transformation requires new and more creative ways of collaborating.

Therefore, IBM embedded data scientists into regional sales teams; GE established collaboration among sales, finance, and technology executives to create an app that streamlined the sales forecasting process; and Cisco’s revenue marketers packaged and served up custom contact-level data to salespeople.

It’s true that for any enterprise, initiating a sales force transformation of any type is a daunting task. Additionally, increasingly independent B2B buyers, challenges of managing a multigenerational sales force, and the abundance of new enablement tools, are overwhelming.

However, it’s time to move forward regardless of the size, industry, or complexity of your business.

Even without the resources of Cisco, GE, or IBM, enterprises can execute sales force digital transformation at the appropriate scale.

Forrester recommends enterprises can begin transformation by taking these initial steps:

  • Identifying those pockets within the sales team where most of the technology and digital enthusiasts reside and innovation is possible.
  • Upgrading existing sales technologies and adopting fresh technologies to remain competitive
  • Aligning data scientists with sales to improve performance of sales team.

Adopting best practices from those who have become successful will add value to the performance of the sales team.

Once firms test and measure new tools and processes, they can then scale and roll out the successful ones to the rest of the sales force.

Among the market players, NetLine Corporation recently announced that they have generated over 40 million leads to date on behalf of their clients, across 300 industry sectors. The Silicon Valley-based start-up offers content-based lead generation marketplace.

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