Your expert for questions
Partner, Customer Practice at PwC Germany
Tel: +49 69 9585-7919
The pandemic abruptly changed sales: from face-to-face visits to video conferencing, phone calls, and numerous digital tools. But is it also true that our sales operations achieved years’ worth of progress in a matter of months? How sustainable is the use of digital tools such as chatbots, Robotic Process Automatization (RPA) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), and are we deploying them precisely enough to optimise customer relationships? Which channels should be used for which customers and tasks in the future? How should sales teams be managed across field sales and office sales, SSC and contact centres?
PwC supports you in building a powerful sales organisation for the “Next Normal”. We harmonise your processes, technologically and internationally, and implement interfaces to get your sales force systematically aligned with your customers. The right sales strategy, appropriate customer relationship management (CRM) and optimised omnichannel touchpoints for personalised customer interactions are important building blocks for this. Together with us, you can significantly improve the customer experience, reduce the costs of your sales organisation by 10 to 30 percent, and increase sales by 5 to 30 percent.
Would you like to optimise your customer relationships while reducing your costs? Then contact us. We look forward to hearing from you.
Sales have gone virtual. Is this just a makeshift solution for the pandemic, or a permanent shift? According to studies, B2B buyers are certainly satisfied with their current interactions. They want digital sales to continue, both for existing suppliers and new ones. They still value face-to-face encounters, but support these with much more intensive use of portals and storefronts, which are seen as more efficient and less subject to personal influence than conventional channels.
Sales organisations' websites must give comprehensive customer information, and their stores must offer a good experience while supporting cross-selling and upselling. In this context, the simultaneous and coordinated use of different contact channels such as chatbots, contact centers or sales representatives becomes essential. Customers expect contactless transactions, from the first touchpoint to the signing of the contract to the complete delivery. Companies must adapt their internal processes to enable them to implement an omnichannel strategy and design seamless journeys.
The pandemic may have accelerated this transformation, but the trends in sales channels and requirements have existed for a long time. B2B buyers expect a consumerised experience: they enjoy engaging shopping experiences and expect the same in a business environment. The speed and maturity of automation is increasing, and chatbots and AI can now provide useful support.
Changes in society are also having an impact on sales. Skills shortages and demographic shifts are diversifying sales organisations. Global sustainability ambition compels companies to use a positive climate balance as a sales argument. In addition to pandemics or climate change, political developments can disrupt global supply chains and affect markets worldwide. The result of all this? Increasing speed and volatility. PwC's global network can help you find answers to these pressing issues.
Why should you choose PwC to advise you on sales strategy? The answer is “BXT”. “B” stands for business success – with online and offline sales strategies, globally standardised processes and clever target operating models. “X” stands for perfect customer experiences, powered by our design thinking expertise, among other things. And “T” stands for technology expertise for all relevant systems.
We support you in aligning all your sales channels to different customer groups, integrating your digital commerce strategies into your overall sales, differentiating your web stores from competitor marketplaces, and effectively personalising your customer interactions with the right SRM (Supplier Relationship Management) and CRM data. Whether you want to strategically develop key accounts, find new customers using predictive sales, simplify processes (M2L and L2O), automate quoting (CPQ) and back office with chatbots, RPA and AI (O2C), or support your systems with CRM, PIM, webshops and SRM: PwC can power the digital transformation of your sales organisation, involving all stakeholders from the beginning.
PwC develops the detailed implementation of your corporate strategy, together with you. The result is a sustainable sales strategy with clear goals and links to the supply chain, production, purchasing and finance.
To achieve this, we analyse your current sales strategy and budget, linking all available internal information with external market and customer information. We forecast the purchasing behaviour of your target groups and work with you to develop a strategy that increases your planning reliability (including integration into your S&OP process), chance of success and profit.
The new normal also requires organisational change: many sales organisations must become more powerful and at the same time more efficient. Reducing costs while increasing sales success is possible with the correct measures, which PwC develops and implements knowledgeably and enthusiastically. In recent years, we have been able to achieve sustainable sales cost reductions of 10 to 30 percent without loss of revenue, and in most cases even with an increase in revenue.
Together with you, we optimise the customer approach of your sales team through potential, demand and behaviour-driven customer micro-segmentation. The size of your sales teams is precisely adjusted to the needs of defined customer groups and regions. In addition, we ensure that a specially trained inside sales force provides optimal support to the field sales force. This can be done, for example, through a Shared Service Center (SSC). Together, we design your organisational and operational structure according to a Commercial Target Operating Model (CTOM). We standardise and digitise your sales organisation globally, reducing local and manual effort. We identify opportunities to outsource functions and relocate transactions to web stores. The bottom line is that you have less effort and sell more.
Serving customers in the digital age with traditional methods is unlikely to work. Especially when they expect instant services across different time zones, languages and cultures. For this, companies need:
PwC supports you in making your key account management staff fit for the future. Together with you, we analyse which of your customers you should look after and in what way. We define key account processes for you and determine the optimal key account management organisation. We develop cooperation processes between individual key account teams and train them with the necessary technological, commercial, digital and social know-how.
Traditional sales channels such as field services, call centres, web stores and stationary retail are increasingly being supplemented – or even supplanted – by digital B2C, B2B and B2B2C platforms. The SRM systems of such open and closed platforms, be it Amazon, Alibaba or even SAP Ariba and SupplyOn, trigger order processes completely digitally and in real time. These platforms are relatively new but growing rapidly, and real platform experts are hard to find at the moment. Many companies do not yet have professional sales platform strategies and may be missing out on revenue potential.
PwC provides you with platform specialists who have known the market since its inception. We show you:
Together with you, we design how your platform teams will work, and train team members in maintaining your company's presence, tender strategies, offer formulations, pricing concepts, auction tactics, and so on. Use our platform competencies to maximise your revenue potential.
Qualified and successful sales employees are increasingly hard to find and keep hold of. Existing employees should therefore be supported as best as possible by removing all repetitive manual tasks where possible. This is where automated omnichannel solutions make a big contribution. The simplest form is chatbots, which have now reached a reasonable level of maturity. They can be used in most business languages and are capable of conducting simple dialogs in a structured form, advising customers on specific topics, from product descriptions to price information, shopping cart help and even triggering workflows. If a dialog becomes too complex, they can always refer to a human counterpart.
Bots become more powerful through RPA. RPA can automate repetitive and error-prone tasks, such as transferring data from one system to another. It performs desktop procedures, clicks and copy-paste routines from certain fields to other fields. It succeeds where humans struggle because it repeats constantly recurring activities around the clock without error. It is often used to:
At its highest level of sophistication, AI offers natural language, pattern recognition, machine learning and independent logics. Its “intelligence” lies in filling in gaps as the human brain would. It can:
For salespeople, researching prospective new customers and contacting them with suitable offers is a time-consuming, low-success-rate task. But AI can support here as well, removing repetitive elements and maximising opportunities. It can:
Predictive Sales answers sales' most important questions:
The use of Shared Service Center (SSC) has been tried and tested for decades. What is new is the inclusion of sales. Whereas until recently only internal functions were centralised, customer-facing units are now also shared. Entire internal services are transferred to an SSC, often leaving only the field sales force working on a localised basis. This needs to be carefully managed, as the customer relationship is an extremely sensitive asset that requires close attention. In addition, especially in Europe and Asia, local languages and dialects are numerous and affect customer interactions.
PwC therefore typically recommends a phased approach based on business risk, staffing potential and ease of implementation.
This phased approach is enabled by continuous training of centre agents to handle more complex tasks, better understand the intricacies of customers, and acquire appropriate language skills.
Most companies still use conventional financial indicators for their sales management and reporting: Number of Customers, revenue and profit margin. These KPIs remain important, but in the Big Data age, they are only part of the necessary metrics for optimal sales management. As a global leader in finance and reporting, PwC can support you in adopting holistic concepts for sales management and reporting. Our approach includes answers to questions like these:
Detailed customer data-based reporting allows for sales management that is more granular and target-oriented than ever before. To this end, even marketing data such as brand impact and brand value development are incorporated. The dovetailing of marketing and sales, as required by Customer-Centric Transformation, becomes real here.
“Commercial Steering” is what we call our holistic approach. The term refers to a steering system that links all commercial functions: sales, marketing, service, pricing, and so on.
“Realization of specific customer benefits, dynamic pricing and digitized sales are key elements of a future-proof market organization.”