Marketing and sales executives, who are becoming the true sparring partners for the CEO, are the linchpin of a customer-centric – and therefore successful – realignment. The digital transformation isn’t just revolutionizing the areas of marketing and sales, but also internal processes and the internal organisation. The operational business of all companies is increasingly being transformed into digital platforms and processes. As a result of this, marketing and sales managers are increasingly being perceived as strategic partners who are driving the transformation of a business on the basis of sound consumer and product-specific knowledge.
Example of the CMO
The CMO builds bridges between the company and its customers. No one knows or anticipates the ever-changing needs of the customer as well as the CMO. No task on the executive board is therefore subject to such rapid change as that of the marketing executive. The CMO leads the brand dialogue and inspires internal and external customers while also driving the increasingly important discipline of performance marketing. S/he balances challenges such as the digital transformation, sales, innovation, and the creation of entirely new customer experiences. To implement all of this successfully, the CMO requires in-depth knowledge of the company’s entire value chain. The CMO fosters the development of partnerships across departmental boundaries and markets. This means, however, that the modern CMO requires a brand new set of leadership skills compared with those that were the norm just a few years ago.
Example of the CSO
Sales executives are aware that buyer behaviour has changed more in the last ten years than it did in the previous thirty. These days, consumers can access a wealth of information from service providers, consumer advisers and social networks, which encourages them to make their own decisions. It is not uncommon for a customer to complete over 75% of the purchasing process before approaching a vendor. Since technology is allowing vendors to offer more complex, expensive and risky solutions, customers have become far more risk averse, and are bringing an increasing number of stakeholders into the purchase-related decision-making process. This has resulted in a lengthy consensus-driven process that often does not end with a positive decision in favour of the vendor. Quotas are not being met, levels of confidence are waning and voluntary efforts are decreasing, which has led to a downward spiral in terms of sales productivity.
It is self-evident that something needs to change in terms of how organisations engage with their customers. The restructuring of the sales process is easier in theory than in practice, however, and is beset with difficulties. We guide organisations through large-scale sales transformations by making sure that the right people are in the right positions and that the sales professionals have the right tools, skills and mindset in order to be effective.