Too often, I find myself in a dialogue with a CxO responsible for revenue generation who has just licensed/purchased new commercial technology or digital platforms like CRM, CPQ, eCommerce or similar solutions under the vendor promise of significant revenue uplift through the tool itself. As it turns out, only very few CxOs have had an upfront dialogue with the technology vendor about crucial themes such as:
- The maturity of the commercial organisation that is to reap the benefits of the technology/platform
- The level of customer insights required to configure and use the technology to its fullest
- The quality of the data-driven commercial decision-making process/governance that is around the technology
- The types of commercial data required to improve customer interaction through the technology and its location and accessibility across the organisation
This often leads to insufficient performance of the implemented technology because it was selected based on “coolness” rather than its ability to drive customer acquisition, engagement and/or retention. In addition, the dialogue around the required capabilities, commercial process maturity or commercial data structures is rarely addressed before the technology selection is made, leading to costly mistakes.
Commercial development through technology and/or digital tools is a great lever for growth, but such endeavours should always be driven by these four critical questions:
- Customers: What do customers expect of my organisation now and in the future?
- Commercial decisions: Which commercial decisions do we need to be better at making going forward to meet the customer expectations?
- Data: What data do we need to be better at making some of/all these commercial decisions going forward, and how should it be stored and presented to us?
- Technology: Which technologies does it require to generate, store and present the data needed to make better commercial decisions?
As seen from the four steps above, the technology question is the last of the four questions to be asked. Hence, while you should be curious about technology, you should be much more intrigued by understanding your current and new customers and the commercial decisions you need to make.
Now it’s up to you!
Bring the above four questions into your next commercial meeting and discuss to what degree the commercial technology you have or want delivers on these elements.