Man at window, title: digital transformation part 1

Digital transformation is the next big topic in our series of interviews about Sales Performance Management. Mario Pufahl, CSO at ec4u, explains how digital transformation works and how management can play their part efficiently. 

„Digital transformation needs to be implemented step by step.“

The transcript of the interview part „digital Transformation part 1“:

How does digital transformation turn out well?

For a successful digital transformation, you need to digitalize processes, especially core processes. There are two essential components for conducting processes successfully.

Identify the moments that matter for the customer

The first component deals with the customer. You need to identify so-called “Moments that matter” from the perspective of the customer. Customer journey mapping is a helpful methodology to find out what the customer deems important. The customer’s journey is played through end-to-end in this methodology to reproduce the customer’s view and his challenges.

Employees need to get on board with the cultural change

The second component of the core processes are the employees. A change must be initiated within the employees and they need to understand why using digital possibilities is important. My colleague Reinhard Janning has written a great book: “Customers call all the shots“ that covers Marketing Automation and the Customer Journey.
The customer can’t be fully controlled by a company. Furthermore, he uses digital tools to inform themselves.
Therefore, the employee of a company needs to use the same digital tools. The question is how managers can get their employees to enter the digital world. Courses are an important step as well as daily practice. Another very important point is to implement digital transformation step by step instead of introducing it all at once.

Change Management needs to bring added values

Time and time again, I see huge change management programs rolled out by our customers. However, the sales employee does not have the time for dealing with digital transformation all at once.
In the end, the work of a sales representative is to do sales and to sell something. Therefore, added values need to be created, so that sales reps see optimizations. Not everything needs to be covered at once. The aim is to improve the status quo.
For example: if you want to establish a new digital system like CRM, you have to ask how it can improve the situation for the end user, the employee and/or the manager. How can the employee use these new changes to improve their work? This is an important point for the acceptance of digital transformation: added value. If there is no added value in sales, then the digital tools are doomed to fail. You can still call it „digital“ but these digital tools won’t lead to much improvement overall.

What role do the managers play in the digital transformation?

Managers have a very important responsibility in the digital transformation. On the one hand, they need to be role models and live the digital transformation. They must be digital themselves. On the other hand, they need to recognize and analyze what they can expect of their employees.
Figuratively, you cannot turn a Fiat Punto into a Ferrari. A Fiat Punto cannot compete with a Ferrari neither. Therefore, you need to know as a manager what your employees are capable of. How can you gradually develop them towards this goal step by step?

The digital transformation is a journey. A journey needs some time. Every journey has a starting point and an end point. There can be complications on the way. Maybe a flight is delayed or you get stuck in rush hour during your journey.

Complications can arise during the digital transformation just the same. As a sales manager, you need to be sensitive and keep an eye on the processes and your employees.
You need to identify the employees who are already digital: these employees can be young or old, age is no defining trait of the digitally well-versed. These digital experts are pioneers who can help their colleagues if needed.
It is also necessary to determine and identify what is missing for your employees to get fully on board. This cannot be generalized because the reasons vary. These are important responsibilities of the leader.

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