In addition to the four steps proposed above, BCG also recommends the establishment of a cross-functional team to “identify, prioritize, pilot and scale longer-term digital initiatives”. This is an important recognition of the fact that digital transformation initiatives, whether they are driven by a need to improve sales or production, cannot be implemented in isolation. As customers are becoming more digitally adept and more demanding, they require access to as much digital insight and information as possible to help them in their sales process. Ensuring that this information is reliable, up-to-date and available to whatever sales channels the customer chooses to use is now essential.
For example, digitizing go-to-market strategies demands solutions that have the sophistication to handle personalized customer demands across multiple sales channels including digital sales channels. For complex products, this often means offering more choice and variety, but this can introduce its own challenges. The options that are possible to offer to customers can result in thousands, and in some cases millions, of potential product, pricing and delivery combinations that need to be managed. This can pose serious challenges for existing digital sales tools.
Scaling e-commerce, digital sales and inside sales is therefore challenged by the scale of potential complex product combinations. But scaling is also challenged by omni-channel sales and ensuring coordination of pricing and availability of product options across multiple channels. Trying to manage this complexity manually can result in a number of issues.
For example, pricing for sales in both B2B and partner channels for all possible product combinations and options can lead to pricing discrepancies and channel conflicts. This can not only lead to disgruntled customers, but also disgruntled channel partners.
BCG recommends the use of artificial intelligence and machine-learning capabilities for pricing, but this is only part of the solution. The real underlying issue that needs to be addressed is the complexity of product options that need to be managed where price is just one of the options in play.