If you are a business owner or work in the marketing or sales space, you will have heard of “digital transformation.” This is not just a buzz term making the rounds in business circles, it refers to the integration of digital technology in all areas of business and it is here to stay. Not only does digital transformation refer to the automation and digitization of business processes, it also alludes to a significant cultural change that requires businesses to consistently innovate the status quo and experiment with different communication and management tools.
Digital transformation is vital for all businesses, no matter industry or size, because these new technologies make business processes easier and are designed to provide a better customer experience. If you do not embrace digital change, your competitors will, and your customers will turn to your competitors - leaving you in the dust. However, many business leaders have stated that the term “digital transformation” can quickly become overwhelming and may be used too broadly, so it is important to have a greater understanding of what the term actually means for business and business development.
Defining Digital Transformation
As stated previously, Digital Transformation is a broad term and can look different for every business. It is difficult to define the term however, if we look at it as an umbrella term it refers to the integration of digital technology throughout a business that results in fundamental changes to business operations and delivers high value to customers and employees alike. We also mentioned that Digital Transformation is also about a cultural change within an organisation because the innovation that comes with digitization means that traditional business processes are now significantly altered and the company is adjusting to a new way of engaging with each other and with customers.
So, how can you define Digital Transformation for your business? It comes down to the “why.” Why do you need Digital Transformation for your business? Ask yourself what it is you need to improve upon with new digital integrations. For example: you may need a Customer Relationship Management tool to improve the entire customer experience and reduce friction between internal teams, gain more lead data to ensure greater profitability and increased sales, or you want to elevate productivity through new and improved automated processes. Or all of the above.
Leaders need to fully understand how they want to frame the conversation around their idea of Digital Transformation within the business, and help employees embrace this change by showing them how these new tools will benefit them, their teams and the business in its entirety. Essentially, defining Digital Transformation comes down to what you want the systems and technologies to do for your company, your clients, and your bottom line.
Why Digital Transformation is Vital for Business Growth in 2021
Now that we have a greater understanding of what Digital Transformation is, let’s take a look at why it is important for businesses to adapt to these new processes and systems in 2021.
As stated previously, there are a variety of reasons why a business would invest in digital transformation - every business has a different goal in mind and it is not a one size fits all approach. But if we had to sum up why all businesses require digital transformation tactics (goals aside) it would come down to business survival.
In 2020 the world went through a collective change and businesses had to quickly adapt to the unprecedented disruption. 2020 interfered with everything from supply chains to business travel, to customer expectation regarding both service and pricing. It was no longer business as usual, as employees had to work from home and social distancing regulations had been put in place - this meant that businesses needed to invest in digital communication and management softwares, from Zoom and Slack through to Customer Relationship Management systems such as HubSpot. A CRM such as HubSpot helped business organise information, lead data, and communications in a single place and this has helped align marketing, sales and service teams better than ever before. Not only have businesses had to adjust to remote working, they have also had to take new consumer behaviour into consideration.
At a recent MIT Sloan CIO Symposium series, IT thought leaders stated that consumer behaviour has drastically changed since the beginning of the pandemic and because of this, businesses have had to adapt their marketing, sales and service strategies. Today, consumers are doing more online research before making a purchase decision and they are engaging with companies before shortlisting potential service providers - this means they expect instant communication and instant information at any given moment. Because of this, digital processes have been accelerating in all aspects - from digital marketing and digital lead generation to marketing automation. Because of this, business leaders have had hardly any choice when it comes to investing in new digital tools - it has become a necessity for business survival.
A few of the areas of digital transformation efforts that have been highlighted since the pandemic changed the way we do business include:
- Tools to better customer support including chatbots and automated emails
- Automation tools to ensure swift communication
- Housecleaning of redundant systems
- Having a single location where business information and data can be easily stored and accessed - which also gives way to team alignment within a company.
As we have touched on above, Digital Transformation is not a one size fits all business model. It varies depending on a businesses specific needs, challenges and goals.
However, digital transformation efforts can be placed in the below categories:
- Operational Agility
- Customer Experience
- Leadership and Culture
- Workforce Enablement
- Digital technology Integration
And businesses that have invested in these technologies are not looking back - to put it simply, these technologies just make life easier for everyone.
2020 became a year of reckoning for digital innovation and initiatives and as we head into 2021, there is a rapid scaling of digital transformation across all business sectors.
Trends for Digital Transformation in 2021
This year there are key digital trends that business leaders and management teams should be aware of, and they need to unpack which trends work for their business in order to select the best technologies for their business in the new normal:
- Adoption of digital operating models that can help integrate and align teams
- Technologies that allow for big data collection - that is: a place that can store lead data, marketing and sales analytics and track customer behaviour.
- Better use of chatbots and AI
- Communication platforms to help streamline communication across the company as more and more employees begin to work remotely
Customer Relationship Management Software for Digital Transformation
Customer Relationship Management software has quickly become the most sought after digital strategy for developing, retaining and acquiring customers. Essentially, the goal of this software is to improve marketing, nurture potential and current customer relationships, and drive sales growth. At its core a CRM should ensure that every interaction between a business and consumer is smooth and efficient, which in turn increases overall business profit and provides long-term value.
The benefits of a strong CRM:
- Data Collection: A strong CRM compiles and stores in-depth customer data from a variety of channels, or points of contact, between the lead/customer and a business. A powerful CRM can compile this lead information from a variety of touch points including a company’s website, live chat, email, marketing materials, social networks and telephonic conversations.
- Understanding the Buying Cycle: Having in depth customer information such as data regarding past purchases and online interactions, helps customer support representatives provide greater service, and helps the sales team understand buyer intent.
- Marketing and Sales Alignment: A CRM is also able to launch and analyse marketing campaigns, and provide greater insight into audience behaviour and trends through reporting features. This helps marketing and sales teams better understand what the audience is looking for, what is working and what messaging best suits a specific lead.
- Marketing Automation: A CRM provides sales and marketing automation software that ensures your leads receive communication from your business that is triggered based on specific actions. This tactic cultivates personalised relationships with high quality leads and has the power to convert them into clients.
- Data Driven Sales Insights: As a CRM stores all the data your marketing and sales team will need, it streamlines all processes from a single place - making for greater sales and business growth.
This kind of digital transformation tool is becoming a necessity for businesses (no matter size or sector) as it provides a single location to store all customer data and lead information and is also designed to monitor sales processes, and track overall business performance.
The demand for CRM's has seen hundreds of solutions pop up on the market. It is important that business leaders, managers and IT professionals do the relevant research when selecting the CRM platform for their business as many of these platforms do not offer the tools you need for pecific business goals and objectives. Some CRMs are exclusively designed for smaller businesses and start-ups, while others are designed specifically for large corporations and big businesses. The key is to find a CRM that is able to scale with your business and grow with your team.
HubSpot for Digital Transformation
HubSpot is an inbound marketing and sales software designed to assist businesses in attracting potential clients, converting leads, closing deals and nurturing client relationships. What sets HubSpot apart as a powerful platform for large business is that it can be scaled to suit your needs, and is not limited to a small number of users.
HubSpot has been created to provide a full CRM solution that is fully integrated with your marketing and sales platforms, ensuring you receive the best value for money and a return on your investment. We believe that HubSpot is the digital transformation tool of the future and have proven success with the platform.
Measuring your Digital Transformation Return on Investment
It is important for business leaders or management teams to be able to quantify the return on investment for their digital transformation efforts. With this in mind, it is important to note that digital transformation efforts are always evolving, which means that traditional calculations may need a new approach.
But thanks to digital metrics and easily accessible data provided by online means (CRMs are a great example of this), business leaders are able to track success in real time. This allows them to amend their digital transformation strategies on an on-going basis, ensuring all technologies are optimised to the best of their ability.
How to measure your digital transformation ROI:
- Set goals and KPIs in advance
- Create micro-metrics: this allows you to learn and adjust as you move forward with the technology
- Track business outcomes: lifetime customer value, revenue growth, scale, operational efficiencies etc.
But it is important to note that digital transformation requires a holistic view of digital efforts. This means that when measuring success, sometimes the underperformance of a specific project does not reflect negatively on the overarching efforts of the strategy. This also allows place to assess the necessary risks and will help teams adjust tactics to achieve real digital transformation results.
Digital transformation is about learning and if every project of your digital transformation is successful - you are probably not learning enough - because digital transformation is about pushing boundaries through innovation.
Getting Started on Digital Transformation for your Business
You need to understand your goals and what you want to achieve as a business through digital transformation efforts. Once you understand what it is you would like to gain from your efforts, you can begin sourcing the ideal tools and experts to guide you through the digital transformation of your business.If you are looking to transform your business in 2021 through digital initiatives, contact the Nexa team of professionals today. Time to transform!