Integrated Digital Sales Platform for the Solution of Customer Needs 1/2

Integrated Digital Sales Platform for the Solution of Customer Needs 1/2

Welcome to our series of articles on current theses by our students!

Our alumna Antonia Biel wrote an outstanding master’s thesis in the field of digital sales as part of her master’s degree at the Fresenius University of Applied Sciences in Cologne. The topic: “Integrated Digital Sales Platform for the Solution of Customer Needs”. In the following, the first important findings of the thesis are presented. You can already look forward to part 2!

Digital Sales

To what extent has the COVID 19 pandemic permanently changed daily life? Have the effects of the pandemic accelerated digitization?

The COVID-19 pandemic confronted the entire world population with an unpredictable situation. Therefore, all people, despite geography, level of economic development, or socio-political system, had to adapt their lives completely. The impact of the virus reached far beyond the medical sector and held powerful consequences for the social, cultural, economic, political, and everyday lifestyles of nearly everyone. In the economic context, the significant impact on the work environment led to several changes in the way companies do business. As people were forced to stay at home, they had to work digitally. Therefore, companies had to abruptly set up and improve their digital way of working.


This accelerated the digital transformation to a great extent. On average, digital offerings jumped seven years forward in just a few months. But what initially began as a crisis response has now become the next normal. Companies are increasingly determined that their business is becoming more digital as the relationship between traditional methods and digital is shifting. As a result, within the last year a strong awareness among people was created, that digital ways of working work well and that they can bring benefits such as increasing efficiency and effectiveness.


To what extent will digitization change the sales sector?

Digitalization is currently one of the most important drivers of change within society and business and therefore holds a great impact on the sales sector as well. In the last years, sales already developed rapidly. Especially in the B2C sector, digital is already very much at the forefront. In addition to that, today’s stage of sales is characterized by automation and computer-controlled processes. Here, through the collection and evaluation of personal data about the customer, the identification of his needs is faster and more targeted. This process leads to global competitive pressure and a massive range of offers, as customers can view any product, at any time and place. In addition to that, the customer is able to obtain the information he needs before making a purchase decision by himself, even without a salesperson. Also, due to the Internet and its range of information, the customer holds data sovereignty. Therefore, sales must change its focus and increase customer benefits. According to that, intelligent pull measures and intensive lead nurturing based on aggregated, individual customer data are becoming indispensable. Furthermore, this development is leading to an increasing merging of sales & marketing.


In the future, companies need to position themselves digitally in order to keep up with the competition. Consequently, digitizing sales will be critical to the success of one’s business. Moreover, as a result of new digital support options, a customer no longer goes through a traditional purchasing process. He embarks on his customer journey where he can have various digital touchpoints with a company. Therefore, the importance of aligning these touchpoints and providing him with an increasingly fluid experience with the company is increasing as well.


To what extent is digital sales becoming more important for B2B?

For B2B sales, digital is the wave of the future. The topic of digital sales is becoming increasingly important, and companies see a clear opportunity here. Nowadays, customers more and more expect well-developed digital experiences like those they already experience in the B2C sector. In addition to that, the age structure of people working in B2B purchasing is also changing. More than every second one already belongs to the generation of digital natives. This generation grew up with the Internet and mobile communications and is therefore characterized as technology-savvy. Their preferred way of communication and finding information is online. As a result, the Internet is becoming their focus.


This development was also particularly emphasized by the COVID-19 pandemic last year. Since sales could be done primarily digitally or through digital tools, the attitude of the masses has also changed significantly and the openness towards digital sales has increased. In this context, a growing preference for digital self-service, or remote human engagement in B2B sales could be observed.


Nevertheless, the increasing importance of digital sales does not mean that the sales force is being dispensed. Face-to-face contact will continue to be essential for sales success in the future. This is particularly necessary for B2B products, systems, equipment, and services that require detailed explanation or when large quantities of money are involved. Despite great changes, especially the traditional way of maintaining relationships will remain: for example face-to-face meetings, events, fairs, and dinners. However, these activities will be supported by entirely new ways of building relationships and closing deals. B2B Sales is developing rapidly and will continue to include digital channels. Nevertheless, digital interactions will coexist next to traditional ones to close the deal. However, digital sales channels will increase in relevance, and companies that are unable to keep up will disappear from the market.


Did you like the first part of this master thesis? You can look forward to many more exciting theses!

Summarized and edited by Antonia Biel

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