Disrupt Or Be Disrupted: Will Your Company Survive By 2020?

Jamie Shanks
Jamie Shanks

Going Digital SurvivalWe’re seeing a shift in the way B2B organizations generate revenue today which will significantly impact your sales force in the next five years. Digital is disrupting how we meet our buyers and if you are prepared then you’ll be to make the fast pivots needed to survive. But are you keeping up with modern, digital world of 2016 and looking ahead to 2020?

Relying On Old Strategies

If you’re relying on cold calling and traditional sales techniques, you’re way behind the curve—and you may be putting your business’ future at risk. Wherever you look now, organizations are foreseeing the disruptive force of going digital.

Back in 2011, my business was very different than it is now. We were a value-added reseller that made calls for companies worldwide. With 17 employees, we were the outsource partner for many SAP companies. But every month, we’d apply more human capital to our business. We’d make more calls, send more emails, and hire more people to do the job.

But we weren’t building any residual awareness or brand, where someone could perform due diligence on our business and learn more on their own.

We were spinning our wheels. No matter how many calls we made, it had diminishing return on investment, to the point where it became a failing business.

Buyer Behavior Changing

I recognized that the phone is always going to be a successful means of a short-tail strategy – getting somebody on the phone to make a decision to have a next step to book a meeting. But back in 2011, what I didn’t realize was that 57% of a buyer’s journey is happening without sales professionals. The buyer is going to learn behind the scenes on their own, reach out to peer-to-peer network, do competitive analysis, and so on. So I had to go digital.

Digital Reaching The Tipping Point

Forrester Research predicts that digital is approaching a tipping point.

“Over the next five years, companies will begin to see digital affect the majority of their revenues. Most of today’s companies are unprepared for this change.” Nigel Fenwick

Quite frankly, going digital was the only reason I’m still an entrepreneur. If I’d continued down the path I was going, there’s no way in this modern age that people would be able to find us on Google. We’d have zero search engine ranking. We’d have zero social presence that would have allowed us to do large summits and webinars and speaking engagements, and all of the brand awareness we do. We would have risked our existing revenue streams and panicked if our business was unprepared for change and not ready to go digital.

Percent of Digital By 2020 Source: Forrester Research, The State of Digital Business, 2015 To 2020

And while creating that brand awareness is free—it’s earned media. By putting in those solid years of writing a blog a day, an e-book a month and an infographic every week – it compounded itself to building a multi-million dollar business—which we would never done even with an army of people making cold calls.

Key Takeaway

So here’s my advice to you, if sales, marketing or enablement leader, a C-level executive or a VP, you need to look at digital transformation. Do not wait until digital surprasses the tipping point in the next five years but instead, take action and the necessary precautions. Execs in professional services expect 49% of revenue to come through digital channels or products by 2020 — a big difference from the 20% in 2014 according to Forrester. This is an opportunity for your business to shift and develop revenue-generating products that disrupt your industry.

Remember this quote, defining the word synergy:

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” – Aristotle

This means that if you can mechanize the digital relationships of everyone in your company – sales, marketing, operations, and others, you’ll far exceed what you think your own corporation can do.


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