Strong IT involvement can help drive sales

by Sohini Bagchi    Jul 26, 2013

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In order to compete in today’s marketplace, organizations are expected to rapidly respond to new demands, drive relevant products and interact with customers and partners in real time. The bottomline is to increase sales and improve ROI.  But what drives the sales is technology. With IT playing the role of an active catalyst in sales, experts believe the CIO’s constant involvement in the selling process is becoming imperative.

Robert Wollan Global, MD- Sales & Customer Services practice, mentions in his book Selling Through Someone Else: How to Use Agile Sales Networks and Partners to Sell More that emerging technologies such as cloud computing, big data an analytics are streamlining sales activities and are helping companies connect with the broader ecosystem including partners, customers, suppliers, vendors and even competitors. In such a scenario, the CIO is expected to constantly supports sales by offering access to the relevant information with respect to the broader selling network.

Role of emerging tech

IT should offer sales team with tools that are easily deployable, affordable and deliver immediate value. In the age of devices and apps, it must be ensured that the tools can be accessed from multiple devices and platforms.

Titan Eye Plus, the eyewear segment of Titan Industries improved the company’s sales significantly with the help of advanced analytics solution. Suresh Dangi, Chief of Technical Services, Titan Eye Plus explains that by using analytics in inventory management the company realized customer preference and segmentation much better. “For example, In Pune, a place with more students’ population, most customers would prefer fancy lenses as compared to Jamshedpur, where more senior citizens reside and they required durable, heavy glasses. These and other decisions with the help of analytics improved our sales margin by 30 percent,” he says.

IT leaders are also deploying cloud computing to rapidly distribute sales capabilities to new and existing. markets Rohit jalan, Business Development Executive of Linc Pen and Plastics believes cloud computing allows partners and customers to engage with them in more meaningful ways and in turn boosts the entire selling process. “Earlier, IT leaders had to develop software for a certain number of users. But with the massive changes in organizational setup, with so many stakeholders from different locations, a cloud model for selling makes better sense,” he says adding that the company’s cloud-based customer portal that is a platform for customers to buy products also treats them like an extension of the sales team.

Companies can even take advantage of social media to instantly input up to date the information on customers. According to Dangi, by integrating customer social media updates to its CRM systems, teams could get the latest and most accurate information from customers.

IT-business Collaboration

However, experts point out, collaboration plays a key role in the process. As Suresh Verma - Manager System IT, Lite Bite Foods note without a coordinated effort from business and IT teams, sales can fail to respond appropriately to customers’ needs or keep up with the pace of new market trends and developments.

Wollan concludes to improve the bottomline, there has to be tremendous cooperation between the the teams to understand how market dynamics and technology roadmaps work and how companies can derive the maximum value from both their sales and IT investments.