Digital Transformation? Where Do I Start?

We recently put together a plan for the digital transformation of a manufacturing and distribution company. The first challenge was aligning on the purpose of their digital transformation. The second was defining what could be done in a couple of months to meaningfully impact the business and build confidence with sales, marketing, and operations. 

The takeaway

Painting the Car While Driving

There isn’t the luxury of pausing sales, marketing, or operations while implementing a holistic digital transformation. We have to start somewhere. With a strategic roadmap developed alongside key digitalization projects, companies have the ability to paint the car while driving. Either/Or becomes Both/And. 

The client recognized that changing critical processes and technology systems takes time. They also knew that quick wins were the key to creating momentum. There had been false starts and incomplete initiatives in the past that contributed to change fatigue. The question they asked us was ”How do we plan for the long term while implementing effective and visible solutions immediately?”

We started with the Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) they use to measure company health. Focusing on leading indicators, we identified activities that directly drove these numbers: lead generation, average deal size, and sales funnel velocity. By mapping the sales, marketing, and operations collaboration, we also defined areas to accelerate closed sales and onboarding. And we focused on areas that had high visibility for the company.

After creating that list of opportunities that could create a tangible impact on meaningful business metrics, we prioritized the phase one implementation that balanced impact with required effort, resources, and timeline. What could be done quickly and affordably? The passion of client leadership also put a thumb on the scale with a couple of issues the company had been trying to solve for years. Problems that leadership had started to believe were unsolvable. Creating value here sets the foundation for less objective advances down the road.

After making sure that the opportunities mapped to the company’s long term vision and goals – the 3-year digital roadmap, we put them through the lens of the digital transformation model.

Digital Transformation Model

Our approach to evolving and managing exceptional and effective experiences (both internal and external) is predicated on this digital transformation model:

Digitization is “the process of changing from analog to digital format” (Gartner). The company had largely made that transition. Using Sharepoint as an asset sharing repository and their ERP for product information, most of their information had been digitized. That didn’t mean that information was being managed, shared, or leveraged effectively. 

We identified a solution for sales to efficiently share relevant assets with prospects and customers as one opportunity for immediate impact. Too much time was spent trying to find the right and most current assets. Then those assets, many of the files quite large, were sent out via email. There were minimal tracking and little insight into what actually accelerated the sales.

Digitalization improves processes by leveraging digital technologies, and Digital Transformation is the holistic approach to delivering integrated internal and user experiences. We defined several immediate digitalization projects to pave the way for digital transformation.

Quick-Start Digitalization Projects

A 3-year plan is great and necessary. But the company also needed ways to immediately accelerate sales, improve technical and support efficiencies and excellence, and engage with existing customers for growth and retention. We developed a shortlist of Quick-Start Digitalization Projects, including:

Sales Acceleration Solution

Leveraging OneVoice for phone, we’re launching an app that lets sales find assets by industry, product, and relevancy and then add them to an opportunity dashboard for the prospect. The prospect is sent a URL with all the relevant communication and assets and the salesperson can see what is clicked on and downloaded. Integrated with their CRM, the company will be able to determine which assets help shorten the sales cycle. And marketing can see what content is most valuable. 

Technical Audit Tool

Improving operational tasks was also a high priority for the tool. A valuable differentiator for the company is the ability to do facility audits. These have been completed via pen and paper or using byzantine spreadsheets. The information is captured, shared via email, and invariably lost in a shared drive. With a tablet-based application that integrates with the CRM, this information is centralized and easily accessible to sales or the technical and customer service leads that take over the project. 

Painting the Car While Driving

There isn’t the luxury of pausing sales, marketing, or operations while implementing a holistic digital transformation. We have to start somewhere. With a strategic roadmap developed alongside key digitalization projects, companies have the ability to paint the car while driving. Either/Or becomes Both/And.