The benefits of using enterprise software can be quite substantial. Not only for the company, but each member of the team. The right software can synchronize the efforts of thousands of employees. This can give your company a significant competitive advantage in the market and is commonly referred to as a digital transformation.
Gartner defines digital business transformation as: “The process of exploiting digital technologies and supporting capabilities to create a robust new digital business model.”
In theory, leveraging enterprise software to achieve a digital transformation is a great idea. But in practice it can present a massive change management challenge. How would you handle such a challenge? Where would you begin the journey of an implementation?
Done wrong, it could become a losing battle. The first step should be to get key stakeholders involved early on. Let’s take a look at the people involved at a fictional company called Acme Widgets Inc.
Acme Widgets decided to add a new sales quoting solution. This would impact everyone at the firm. Let’s examine their fears and challenges of everyone involved. And, what they need to succeed.
Digital Transformation for the CEO
Digital transformation will be a big shock for Acme’s CEO, Jim Jameson. He’s never been through a digital transformation, so he has no idea what to expect. His biggest fear is that the software implementation will go off the track.
Jim’s firm has a limited budget. He must keep the project within a reasonable scope. But he must also do what is needed to keep his people happy. A failed implementation would destroy his future road map.
Further, most of the company’s sales have come through his rep firms. Acme has spent years building these relationships. They can’t afford to lose even one. It would cost them a large percentage of their sales.
What’s more, the people who have at Acme the longest aren’t all that tech savvy. Jim doesn’t want his most loyal employees left out. But he knows there’s a new generation coming in. And they’re good with technology.
Not only does Jim feel the need to modernize, he knows that one day he will need an exit strategy for himself from the business. And he wants his company to be prepared for that day when it comes.
Digital Transformation for the VP of Sales
Julie Jackson is Acme’s VP of Sales. Like Jim, she’s not been through a digital transformation. But her knowledge of technology is more advanced than his. She’s up to date on existing technologies because she’s used similar systems in past roles.
But Julie is still using outdated methods to gather sales forecast data. She spends a lot of time on the phone with her Regional Sales Managers. And she spends a lot of her budget paying an Executive Assistant to review weekly reports.
Julie’s biggest concern is about how the implementation will affect the Reps. Not only does she care about their success, she shares the same fears as the CEO. And she’s the one who must approve the new software. If it fails, her job security and reputation are at risk.
Digital Transformation for Regional Sales Managers
Doug Denny is a Regional Sales Manager with Acme. He finds managing sales reps a bit like herding cats. He must know what they’re up to. This means having detailed information on their quote activity and pipeline. At any time, he must be ready to describe their results to his VP of Sales.
Doug is a Generation Xer, so he’s good with technology. But he hasn’t been through a complete digital transformation. Still, he has the advantage of knowing how to get things done without all the tech.
His main concern is whether his Sales Reps will use the new software. He’s more excited than worried about it, though. He’s been hoping these new software tools will help his team get better results.
Digital Transformation for Sales Reps
Johnny Johnson is one of Acme’s Sales Reps. He’s in his early 30’s and part of the new tech savvy generation. He grew up with technology, so he can hardly wait for Acme to provide him with better sales tools. His iPhone has all the latest Apps. He’s already using social media like LinkedIn and Sales Navigator for prospecting.
Johnny hates doing data entry, though. He sees it as an administrative job. He sort of feels he’s doing the Sales Manager’s for them, by making it easier for them to report to the VP of Sales. For him, it increases his workload and adds stress. But it doesn’t necessarily increase his take home pay.
Sales Reps like Johnny want to work from 9 am to 1 pm. His daily goal is to close a couple deals, or at least get meeting setup by 2 pm. Then he’d rather head out to head out to the golf course, or some other leisure activity.
Sales is hard work. His leisure activities keep him motivated. Johnny hopes the new software will even let him login from the golf course, or from home. Then he could send customer quotes while working on his putt. With all the limitations surrounding the Covid-19 crisis, he’s sure such a tool would increase his productivity.
Digital Transformation for Order Entry and Customer Service Reps
Bob Benson is part of the Customer Service department. He worries about breaking the new software. He hopes it doesn’t make his life more difficult, and makes data entry easier.
Bob wants the new system to limit data duplication, too. There’s nothing he hates more than re-entering a P.O. line by line. He feels he could be more productive if the system did these repetitive tasks for him.
He feels his time could be better spent solving issues related to product availability, credit, or price discrepancies. If the new software eliminated data duplication, he could focus increasing the effectiveness of each quote. And that could turn into more sales.
Digital Transformation for the I.T. Department
Richie Ramada is technical lead in the I.T. department. He’s worried about how the new software will affect the other systems he has in place. Sometimes he feels like a juggler trying to keep all the balls in the air at once. Too much complexity makes him less productive.
A big part of Richie’s job is data storage and backups. If the system crashes, a backup is designed to kick in within seconds from an offsite location. When he adds new software, he must check that it plays nice with the other programs. A single glitch could crash the whole system.
Further, he worries about being able to get data out of current systems. Or, into the new system. He may need to do updates to get access to APIs. A smooth integration is critical.
If there’s a problem, Richie always gets the blame. In fact, he only gets noticed when things go wrong. What’s worse, he doesn’t get paid for overtime. So, he wonders how much extra time this new software will take.
Digital Transformation for Distributor Sales Reps
Danny Dimagio is one of Acme’s most profitable external Sales Reps. As a distributor, he deals with many other manufacturers besides Acme.
When one of Danny’s customers needs a quote, his goal is to get it to them ASAP. He rarely has time to phone a manufacturer and talk to one of their people. Or worse, wait 1 to 2 weeks for a quote.
When this happens, there’s a good chance he’ll lose the business to a competitor. He hates losing sales because it means he makes less income. And unfortunately, this is often the situation he finds himself in with Acme.
Sometimes when he calls Acme for a quote, he must wait 1 to 2 weeks for feedback from an engineer. By then, he can usually kiss his commission goodbye. Often, all he needs is a price for the customer’s budget. Of course, when he loses a sale Acme does too.
Some of Danny’s manufacturers have already gone through a digital transformation. The better ones give him his own online portal. He can pull quotes 24/7. He always goes to them for quotes first. He uses the others as a last resort.
How to Succeed at Digital Transformation
As you can see, digital transformation affects everyone in a manufacturing company, and their rep firms. From the top on down, each team member has their own fears and goals. But if transforming digitally is such a smart strategy, why doesn’t everyone do it?
Going through a digital transformation is a big change management challenge. You simply can’t do it without careful planning. You must ask:
- Who will this implementation affect?
- What steps must we take?
- How can we alleviate everyone’s fears?
- How can we get everyone onboard?
In Part 3 of this series, you will learn what steps Acme Widgets Inc. took to make their software implementation a great success.
About the Author
Wes is the Director of Marketing at BCA Technologies, and brings over 15 years of sales, marketing, and technology expertise. He has successfully completed major CRM, CPQ, ERP and CMS projects and is a seasoned expert in how technology can positively impact user experience and drive business value. Outside of work, he is a loving father and husband and a huge fan of the Tennessee Titans.