You’re running a business that has prospered in an offline world. Now you recognise the growing importance of digital to support your continued success in a post COVID19 world. But there is a challenge; in a recent survey whilst most firms recognised the importance of digital, many felt overwhelmed by choice and did not know where to start.
So how do you see the wood for the trees and build the business case for digital in your firm? Issues I regularly discuss with the leaders of engineering, manufacturing and technology firms. In this blog, I’ll start to unwrap my approach to developing and understanding the business case behind digital transformation for your firm.
Customers increasingly expect brands to provide seamless online experiences that are centered around their needs. COVID-19 has only accelerated this trend. Additionally, with business buyers getting younger, they’ve grown up with a digital-first approach and expect business suppliers to provide the same. The data backs this up; 70% of B2B buyers expect an Amazon style buying experience and a typical buyer is already 57% through the purchase journey before they engage with your sales team. We know that engineering, manufacturing and technology firms that create these frictionless online experiences thrive. And, if we’re honest, those who fail to develop a plan to engage the digital consumer are increasingly being left behind.
Important information, but, with a huge number of choices, how do I find the right ingredients to unlock my firm’s digital growth potential and quantify the business case?
The good news is that it’s not about the technology. It’s about solving your customers’ most pressing problems and optimising your internal processes. Activities that have doubtless driven your past progress. Think of digital as a new tool in your arsenal which enables you to do this more effectively and more efficiently.
When you employ this tool, with a relentless focus on the customer, you find ways to generate revenue and save costs, driving the bottom line of your business.
In the diagram below I’ve outlined three ways to generate revenue and save costs through smart use of digital…
The diagram above gives six tactics, which when properly implemented, will drive revenues and cut costs, improving your bottom line. But of course, implementing any of these strategies will take time and investment. So the critical question is; when will I see a return on my investment and what will that return be?
As with all projects, your end result depends on the quality of your foundations. Get the foundations right and the rest will follow.
In the case of digital, this is a deep understanding of your customer:
You then need to ask:
Once you’ve got some answers to these questions you can start to ask; how could you use digital to serve your customers and in doing so, grow my bottom line?
There is no one size fits all solution, your business is unique and your ideal digital footprint is unique. What is common, is the fact that there are proven processes that enable insight to be gained and clarity to be created. Once you have these insights you can start to plan and act, bringing offers to the marketplace, earning initial revenues, and gaining further insights. It’s not a simple switch, rather it’s a wave that builds, gathering energy and yielding financial returns, and, building a firm that knows how to compete in a digital world.
When I work with clients, I apply a structured process which puts the customer at the heart of the solution. Harnessing my engineering training I combine a process-driven and data-first approach with lateral thinking and focused listening to enable clients to find that creative spark that can transform their business. Using this approach I’ve created seven-figure online revenue streams in traditional manufacturing businesses and doubled turnovers in 18 months.
Businesses that fail to ride the digital wave will find it increasingly difficult to compete. Those who adapt will find their futures transformed. By working with a digital consultant you can uncover the right solution for your firm, accelerate your progress and future proof your business. Which camp are you in?
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