As part of our Sales in the Digital Age tour, Pipedrive hosted a satellite event at the brilliant Tech Open Air (TOA) conference in Berlin.
The event came at the perfect time to inspire German businesses to attack the key challenges currently acting as a barrier to fast growth.
Research recently commissioned by Pipedrive shows that many of Germany’s 3.6million “mittelstand” or SMBs badly need help with sales activity.
For example, data of 1000 sales professionals reveals that 79% seek to improve their sales performance, with 1 in 3 concerned about efficiency in particular.
We gathered some of the most experienced and accomplished minds in the SMB digitization space to provide a deep dive into the issues and technologies shaping sales activity today. We’ve prepared a super helpful video recap of the event with 5 critical pieces of advice to help you sell with more certainty in a new world of automated sales.
Digital Transformation Triangle
We were lucky to have Professor Katja Nettesheim explore the Digital Transformation in terms of its make up of Customer Centricity, Data Centricity & New Technology.
Firstly, customer centricity is a true disruptive power. Think of companies like Netflix, Apple, UBER and Amazon - the way in which they do business provides a positive customer experience before and after a sale, which also helps to drive repeated business, customer loyalty and profit.
Today, customers are more selective with which brands they choose to spend their money with. Winning brands will be the ones who give great service and build a relationship with their customers. By being customer centric, you will anticipate the needs of your customer and delight them with products and services they may not have thought of but will immediately fall in love with.
Data is a key asset of any organization. Data centricity refers to an architecture where data is the primary and permanent asset and applications, come and go. Acquiring data won’t make you data centric, it may make you even less data centric.
Companies that invest in data-centricity can drive messaging, efficiency and superior customer experiences across all functions, not just in marketing. A data centric approach will eventually result in customer centricity across an organization.
Lastly, in order to thrive in a digital age, companies have to be flexible enough to adapt to new technologies. Successful companies will be adaptive as they journey through continuous learning and improvement. Technology is not a solution, it’s only an enabler.
For the Connected Business - “Sales Never Ends”
As part of our panel “Selling with certainty”, experts debated the challenges of digitization today and the trends set to shape the future of e-business.
The panel was moderated by Jan Thomas of BerlinValley, and included Laurence Bret-Stern of Pipedrive, Robin Brinkmann of Cloud Ecosystem, Florian Eismann of Bullet Global, and Professor Rainer Elste of University of Esslingen.
All agreed that data is now front of mind for business owners, but gaining the right insights and a credible use of data is often key to competitive advantage.
Automation and AI in sales is certainly on the march - with Forrester Research forecasting that 1 million US B2B salespeople alone will lose their jobs to self-service eCommerce by 2020. However, it is already clear that sales success remains largely contingent on “people buying from educators, people they trust”.
A clear trend is that performance marketing and sales are merging. Even SMBs are under pressure to move away from a “silos” approach, and think about sales in terms of the customer journey. Elste, an author and expert on digital transformation, remarks, “Moderns sales is the process before and after the sales. Effectually, sales never ends”.
Modern Sales Requires New Efforts
As part of the TOA main-stage program, Pipedrive CRO Laurence Bret-Stern shared an intensive master-class on how to respond to trends challenging sales and day to day pressures to drive your activity based sales success.
Above all, the recipe for high conversion and high consistency involves a focus on driving home wins, performing measured activities of high quality, knowledge of customer problems, emotional intelligence and strong drive.
You must lead your customer conversations.
Trial and error is great, but if you do fail, make sure it’s quickly.
Effective organization and using technology to automate and scale are of course important. However, for many SMBs there can be a mental block that prevents progress with sales.
As our CEO Timo Rein often says, “As a start-up, as soon as you accept that you’re a salesperson, you will scale and succeed”.
Talking GDPR at TOA
Also joining the main-stage at TOA, our co-founder and VP of Product, Martin Henk, explored the challenges and opportunities for sales pros to conquer GDPR compliance.
Since coming into European law on May 25th 2018, GDPR was designed to give European residents more control of their personal data, including the right to know what data companies are collecting from them, how the data is stored and the option to delete this data. It also requires business to be able to prove they have reasonable cause to collect data or make contact.
The changes are designed to make life easier for your leads and customers. The intention of the law makes sense, as it gives people more control over their data.
GDPR is made up of 99 articles, while it’s fair to say not everyone is going to be well versed in everything stated, if you internalize the processes outlined in Article 5 and really understand them from the perspective of the data subject while seeing what the value is for the individual then you and your company will likely be in line with what’s required.
Research and preparation are key! It will allow you to take GDPR as an opportunity for you and your team to develop more customer-friendly sales and marketing practices. The relationship you form with your customer will be enhanced in the years ahead as a result.