Hammer or nail: How digital tools define the sales process

The tools that inspire digital sales

The wrong tools and friction in digital tools in sales can quickly lead to poor close rates. Here’s how to boost sales with digitization.

Let’s start with a steep thesis: The digital transformation of sales formats has not only provided acute replacements for traditional sales channels in times of Corona, but also creates clear advantages and measurable added value. Current developments also show that the topic of digital transformation is fundamentally relevant: Marketing & Sales are digitizing themselves faster than ever before. And many companies currently see themselves in a transformation process that was ahead of them in the long term anyway, but was repeatedly pushed to the back of the priority list. The fact that companies are now being forced to stop putting digitization on the back burner is a good thing for now. However, premature decisions should be avoided here.

The tool defines the process

Because this rapid progress runs the risk of becoming a missed opportunity. For one very simple reason: because processes, tasks and structures are often tackled with unsuitable tools. The result is that the tool defines the process – and not the other way around. Because even those who have extensively studied the possibilities of current technologies and their company’s own digital needs tend to implement common tools unfiltered in their own processes and, in case of doubt, to build their own structures around the new medium.

This is because, on closer inspection, the standard solutions have a number of weak points. The most central one is that they cannot be adapted to the individual needs of the company, its stakeholders and users, or only to a limited extent. This starts with branding: Why does the touchpoint of a company that otherwise pays meticulous attention to its corporate design suddenly look like Microsoft Teams? It continues with a poor user experience, such as inconsistent user guidance. Tools that are not intuitive for users run the risk of wasting their potential. In addition, routine work processes are so firmly anchored in the minds of employees that they often cannot be discarded immediately. As a result, tinkering, old-fashioned, pragmatic processes remain in place, in contrast to the advantages of the digital world. This results in unproductive workflows à la “I’ll write the results of the call on paper now and transfer them manually to the SAP system later”.

Friction loss and poor completion rates

All of this leads to negative effects which, in the worst case, show up as a loss of friction, in frustrated employees and thus in missed deals. There is no point in investing in new technologies if they do not meet with the approval of users and result in additional work instead of streamlining processes. It is therefore necessary to take another step back and determine individually which specific challenges in one’s own company are to be mastered by digital technologies. In doing so, the existing structures and working methods must also be scrutinized. With regard to sales, substantial questions must be clarified for this: Why do people come together in the first place? What is the analog sales conversation, face-to-face, actually about? What is behind it? Only a deeper understanding of these behaviors can provide an answer to the question of which tool I actually use to optimally achieve which goal.

This is how digitization in sales unleashes its full power

Lead management, the subsequent accessibility of call content, the simple storage of all relevant data become hygiene factors. Saved travel costs and CO2 values and, last but not least, the health protection of employees, automation, scalability and thus the acceleration of processes – these are all tangible qualities that also make themselves significantly felt on the economic side.

The short-term shift of many workplaces to the home office saves employees time-consuming commutes and business trips. This not only has a positive impact on the environment, but also on employees’ time management and work-life balance. In addition, location-independent working also offers the opportunity to expand one’s own target group, as sales are no longer limited to leads from one’s own region. Decreasing administrative costs as well as an optimized flow of information through cloud solutions that can be accessed at any time are just a few other notable advantages of digital technologies. However, the true significance of a digital sales process, it will become clear, still lies in the experience and the encounter. With a clear definition of goals, a solid strategy, and the right toolkit, digitization can unleash its true power.


Author: Till Beutling, Managing Partner at Fluur GmbH

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