What does digital distribution mean ?
Digital distribution is much more than just marketing and selling via digital distribution channels. The digitalisation of sales structures takes place at different levels and fields of action. Sales is always a company-wide and cross-departmental process. It consists of a multitude of individual steps such as customer contact, service presentation, offer creation and order processing, provision and logistics, invoicing, warranties, etc., as well as partly overarching service & customer retention. It is crucial to know the individual elements and actors in the sales process, to link them efficiently and to ensure targeted control – also across various channels.
Digital sales means a paradigm shift: although people remain important as sales staff, advisors, experts and the first point of contact for the customer, digitalisation offers many opportunities for improving service and customer loyalty. But digitalisation offers many opportunities in the automation of information transfer, in tracking and observing prospect behaviour. And working with data means that it is no longer the salesperson’s gut feeling that is decisive for the approach, but rather reliable, verifiable facts.
Another advantage of digitalised sales is the simplified tracking and enrichment of B-leads. In other words, leads that often languish in databases (or even worse, notepads) and are not followed up on can be tracked and enriched with digital processes and in many cases still lead to a successful conclusion.
Strategy and concept for digital distribution
Both companies and private individuals use the internet to research and communicate, but equally to conduct business and make purchases. Whereas in the past it was primarily books and CDs that were bought over the internet, the internet is now used to purchase almost all products and services.
This means that clothing or household items are bought over the internet just as much as high-priced products such as consumer electronics.
Customers also like to use the internet to take out insurance policies, book trips or do banking transactions from the comfort of their own homes, especially if they not only do not have to take opening hours into account, but can also be sure of price advantages.
But even if a company relies on digital sales, this is still no guarantee that it will actually generate sales and be successful on the market. The reasoning behind this is as simple as it is logical. If a customer buys in a local shop, he can personally convince himself of the competence and trustworthiness of the trader.
In addition, he can hold the product in his hands and look at it from all sides. If he wants a personal consultation, he can turn to the dealer who is standing in front of him as a person. None of this is the case on the Internet. Provided the customer finds the website, he often does not know who is behind the offer and must also believe the product descriptions and images.
New processes for digital distribution
Every sales process is different, but it is important to establish a digital sales process that serves as a guide or framework from lead generation to contract closure. In this process, define how you will engage with prospects at each point in their customer journey, how you will generate leads and how you will provide them with information and when, in order to guide them to the next touchpoint in the customer journey.
The (digital) sales process is always evolving. Set key performance indicators to review the digital sales process. Review them regularly and improve the sales process continuously.
Of course, digital sales is always a hybrid approach: the sales process is only purely digital in e-commerce – but this is the rule, especially for capital goods. And the advancing digitalisation and the increasingly sophisticated tools will not change anything, because when a lot of money is at stake, people want to do business with people. Providing them with optimal sales support is then once again a matter of digital sales processes.
Tools for digital sales
Nowadays, there is a wide range of tools to optimise your processes in digital sales. And without a toolbox with the right digital tools, sales in the future is also hardly conceivable. Data-driven, digital sales needs a reliable database of high quality and great topicality. This is usually the CRM system as the central data store that feeds other applications.
With intelligent retargeting, website visitors can be addressed today long before they have left personal data on the company website and thus become a “lead”. After lead generation, contacts can be provided with information automatically with marketing automation or advanced newsletter systems via 1:1 communication channels.
For a quick start into the world of digitalised sales, the right set of tools is important.
Whether best-of-breed or standard solution is not only a question of (sometimes very high licence costs), but also depends on the existing systems and solutions. Those who first start by defining their digital sales processes in order to then introduce a suitable CRM system naturally still have a longer digitisation road ahead of them than those who can build on a functioning CRM and only need to digitise the travel activities of the sales force.
Find out in our white paper how to digitalise your sales and successfully position yourself for the future.
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