8 Key Considerations When Planning Your Digital Transformation - Part 2

by Chris Horn

In my last post I discussed the first four considerations which drive success when planning your digital transformation; business-wide education, a new level of customer understanding, alignment behind priority customer segments and the dissolution of all customer-facing silos.

In this post I’ll explore the last four considerations:

5. Greater data integrity and integration
Incomplete or inaccurate data can severely limit the ability to deliver personalisation and relevance. For example, if a prospect’s job title is incorrect, it’s difficult to segment correctly and deliver relevant messaging. As such, it’s critical for organisations to perform a data health check, clean their data if inaccurate and implement internal data hygiene disciplines. Alongside this is the challenge of making data accessible and actionable for the right marketing and sales staff to ensure they can deliver relevance at the right time. Close collaboration with colleagues in IT will be required to implement (or build) and integrate the platforms that can deliver a single, cross-functional view of the customer.

6. New roles and capability shifts
As a host of new digital channels and technology are introduced, it’s essential that the right people are in place to operate them and make sense of the greater influx of customer data. All the technology in the world won’t deliver results without the people to drive it. On the marketing side, new capabilities are required to build compelling content, leverage new channels and analyse customer data. An overall shift to a more accountable approach also needs to take place for marketing to deliver lead flow and revenue. For sales, reps need to be prepared for a higher level of interaction, delivering greater value and insight. With so much of the buyer’s journey now happening online, sales can now leverage a host of ‘digital footprints’ which provide more data than ever about what customers are looking for and thinking about. Sales must possess the commercial acumen and tech savvy to effectively leverage this data in order to deliver a new level of relevance and value.

7. Compelling, differentiated content
Given the way today’s customers consume information before they buy, there’s definitely an imperative to create more content more often. But there’s a lot more to it than meets the eye. Generating content, let alone unique differentiated content that cuts through, is often the stumbling block that unhinges many a well-formed marketing transformation project. Working out how you will generate the compelling insights, produce new content assets and then distribute the material so it’s found by the right buyer at the right time, is challenging. Doing this sustainably however is a whole other challenge in itself, one that typically requires important changes to the marketing operating model and processes.

8. New technology adoption
With digital dramatically increasing both the volume and variety of customer interactions, organisations now face a critical problem; how do you deliver relevance at scale? People and process transformation will form key parts of the solution, but ultimately you will most likely need new technological tools to enable scaled execution and deliver the ROI. Understanding the variety of tools on offer, how they can best combine for your business requirements and then how they can integrate with each other and your legacy platforms is a significant first hurdle. As a starting point, building a future-fit combination of core platforms is critical to ensure marketing and sales are set up for success with the right data and capabilities. A user-friendly CRM, marketing automation platform and robust website content management system are typically essential. For large enterprises with complex data requirements, an in-house built solution may replace or assist in integrating these core platforms. Once these foundations are bedded in, a range of apps, plugins, workarounds and hacks are usually required to optimise the technology ecosystem around the business.

Conclusion – Gaining cross-functional support is key
In our work helping organisations adapt to the new buying environment, a key challenge we’re observing is bringing about a holistic, business-wide approach to transformation. One of the most critical success factors for any digital transformation is gaining cross-functional sponsorship. If your approach to transformation is to launch disintegrated initiatives that don’t adhere to a single vision or roadmap, it will never get off the ground. Thinking through the key shifts mentioned above, taking the time to educate the business and then creating a clear transformation vision and roadmap will be key to delivering organisation-wide transformation success.