How to Plan Successful Omni-Channel Sales Initiatives
July 28, 2015
Let’s be realistic: if you’re not careful, omni-channel selling strategies can become extremely complex and get out of hand. They often require an intensive use of technologies to enable processes and selling/buying experiences.
That said, you’re not going to go very far in modern business without a detailed and successful omni-channel strategy. So where do you begin? We recommend starting with a good sense of prioritization. Any successful initiative for deploying and expanding these channels needs to account for three major interrelated issues: automation, adoption and agility.
Automation eliminates the manual tasks that can bog down your entire operation. It also accelerates execution, while increasing measurability and allows you to step back and take the long view, often revealing trends, patterns, and other more strategic capabilities. There are more automatable steps in the sales process than you’d think: distributing marketing content, or setting up self-service environments can go a long way here. Choosing the right technology or vendor is essential for success here and can often reduce the cost-to-serve.
Adoption is your secret weapon; it’s a re-, cross- and up-selling tool. It’s normally interpreted to mean coaxing people to embrace a business approach and system based on high usability and relevance. If a system cannot be mastered or configured as easily as popular Web stores (particularly consumer-oriented ones), then innovative capabilities will likely be neglected. Failure with adoption will hobble any omni-channel initiative right from the start. Success on the other hand creates advocates within your customer base for future opportunities. This is a win-win situation.
Agility entails consistently staying on top of market dynamics, exploiting opportunities quickly, being responsive to clients and outclassing competitors. Forewarned is forearmed. Gaining access to superior insights into trends, customer behaviors and internal processes enable firms to rapidly change practices around selling, marketing and managing partners, product lifecycles, pricing and capacity. Key to agility is having process automation in place that can be easily reconfigured as businesses evolve or are reinvented.
As you develop your omni-channel campaign, remember to think practically and strategically from the offset; there are many pitfalls that foraging ahead too quickly can create. Ration the tools you’re using and make certain you have a plan in place for each of them. Piecemeal sales automation, channel management, and other branches can create a quagmire for you if they’re not being used harmoniously.
Keeping all this in mind will allow you to provide customers and prospects consistent, flexible offerings across multiple points of contact. Sales technology can take on a large part of the communication and resources involved in running a program, but none of it means anything if you aren’t staying active and providing top-tier service and responsiveness to your customers. Creating a long-lasting, productive partnership with them is always a worthy goal and modern technology has put it within your reach.
About the Author: Kamal Ahluwalia is the Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Apttus, the Silicon Valley based company that defined the Quote-to-Cash space. Kamal is an established industry leader, and has a tremendous history of success developing long-term productive relationships with large global brands. Kamal was previously the CMO of Apttus.
Edited by Dominick Sorrentino
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