New report findings help leaders examine deployment of technology
As a CEO, I know the importance of the revenue pipeline. It’s the lifeblood of any company — yet so many enterprises today find it challenging to keep it flowing seamlessly and equipping the people who populate it with the right tools for success.
Every day, sales activities take place that require informed, constructive data to create an optimal result for buyers and sellers alike. From the seller’s point of view, working with the most up-to-date information, the most efficient processes, and the most relevant background knowledge will provide a distinct advantage to drive the best deal for your business and customers. This hasn’t historically been easy — disparate and disjointed information about customers, unnecessary back and forth on paperwork via email (or snail mail), and the inability to move at the pace of the customer’s needs have made capitalizing on revenue opportunities much more difficult.
Today, new technologies stand to change all that. From automation and mobility to artificial intelligence and machine learning – enterprises can benefit in a big way. However, as a leader, how do you pick the right solution or approach? How do you navigate the universal need to evaluate business tools with the aim of increasing workforce enablement for company growth?
I know there is not only a need to show the value of these tools to my fellow C-Suite, but there is also a need for a roadmap. Today business leaders must navigate a digital economy characterized by on-demand, self-service, new business and monetization models (subscription, after-market, etc.). With that in mind, we at Apttus set out to produce an objective, report that guides leaders in addressing the customer expectations in a digital economy. The result is the Apttus Commercial Enterprise (ACE) Report. I’d like to walk you through some key findings that I think will change the way any leader looks at technology deployment.
Global Seller Enablement for Better Customer Service
The ACE Report focuses on 3,000 B2B buyers and sellers in the United States and Europe. It spotlights their expectations, demands, and behavior involving buying decisions and customer experience. The report examines the role of business innovation, automation, artificial intelligence, and the impact of new technology on customer buying experience. The first chapter (one of three) reveals the ability for enterprise organizations to unlock 10 percent more revenue in sales deals and 25 percent faster deal cycles.
How, you might wonder? Well key findings revealed that roadmap opportunity I mentioned — one to enable global sellers for real success. The key focus must center on customer experience, even more than competitive pricing or feature sets alone.
- Almost half (45 percent) of B2B buyers rank customer experience as the most important factor in a first-time enterprise purchase – more than three times as important as price.
- Three out of five (60 percent) B2B buyers will pay 5 percent more for a product or service if their customer experience is positive.
- Four out of five (80 percent) sellers believe deals can fluctuate 20 percent higher or lower based solely on their customers’ buying experience during the purchasing process.
- Almost 70 percent of B2B sellers believe automating selling processes can improve customer buying experience, accelerating deal cycles by as much as 25 percent.
- 66 percent of sellers believe automating the selling process can improve customer buying experience, increasing deal sizes by as much as 5 percent to 10 percent as a result.
Not only do sellers want automated, AI-driven tools, but they also understand their value. The ACE Report shows the need for more focus on providing technology solutions that accelerate the selling process and ease the buying experience, especially for first-time customers.
Automated Quote-to-Cash and Contract Lifecycle Management solutions that take an end-to-end integration approach to automate paperwork approval flow between the deal and legal requirements, apply machine learning to merge all factors of a complex deal to produce the best quote for a customer, as well as AI-powered voice assistants that expedite a deal for a mobile sales force are all good opportunities to explore in order to make the selling process and buying experience more fruitful.
Of course, these tools may start with first-time buyers, driving value during the pre-sale phase — but ultimately the investment continues to pay off. These technologies help manage post-sale relationships and foster continued growth through positive customer interactions that encourage additional cross-sell and upsell opportunities.
Looking Ahead for Success
Realizing better selling processes and customer experience should not be shackled by budget. Interestingly, the ACE Report revealed that 50 percent of sellers expect an increase in their overall budget year-over-year on enterprise software solutions. Whether budgets increase or not, executives and operators understand it’s not always how much budget you have but how you allocate it. Therefore, it is important to allocate funding toward priorities that make the most impact while sunsetting investments that don’t. Adjusting your cost structure to support greater revenue outcomes is a natural evolution that occurs as business models, priorities, and customer expectations change — budgeting accordingly is a sound business investment to make.
Now that you know what the sellers need, stay tuned for what the buyers want. Our next installment of the ACE Report will be in the coming weeks with more rich insight the C-Suite can use to fill that revenue pipeline while generating a better buying experience for your customers.
Written by: Frank Holland, CEO Apptus
Frank Holland is the CEO of Apttus. He previously served as Corporate Vice President at Microsoft, where he built and led global teams for more than 20 years. His extensive experience in the software space spans decades and includes a track record of operational and strategic accomplishments, board memberships and sterling leadership. He excels at building high-performing teams. As CEO, Frank is responsible for directing the company’s growth at scale and capitalizing on the vast Middle Office market opportunity.