Digitized technologies have long been established in private and professional life. Faster data exchange and mobile communication options not only have an impact on society but are also changing the international economic market across the board, forcing companies to adapt to the technological age. On the one hand, innovative technologies harbour outstanding growth potential for companies. On the other hand, however, they are seen as a threat to classic business models and structures.
The current change has taken place across all industries, depending on the industry-specific requirements. In connection with the social orientation towards the “Always On” culture, the upheaval of entire corporate structures is an indispensable success factor, to adapt to the changed consumer behaviour in a target group-oriented manner. The current customer is networked and mobile, has constant access to current information and can obtain extensive transparency about any product, company or market situation.
The focus is on service and quality, which we try to ensure through digitized additional benefits and service components via the Internet. It is therefore not surprising that entire business models have emerged that are based purely on digitized technologies. The market entry barriers for start-ups are through technological replacement strategies that replace traditional business areas (such as online shops instead of building a local sales structure) and has been reduced or even eliminated by access to low-cost technology-based services. For this reason, international competition has intensified and traditional companies have had to react to this increase in competitive intensity. For the sales division, this primarily meant using innovative methods of sales realization. The establishment of an online shop and the expansion of advertising activities on the Internet became standard. In addition, the acquisition and evaluation of customer data made it possible to estimate future customer behaviour and to derive their needs and implement them in the form of target group-specific company services. Customer management, for example via social media, must also be implemented in a targeted manner.
In operational sales, in particular, it becomes clear that sales make use of several technologies along with the phases of the sale to achieve a benefit. For example, in the phase of the purchase process, the sales department uses three technologies, such as big data, mobile devices and the Internet of Things, to achieve an information advantage over competitors, the reduction of process complexities and the benefit of lowering costs. However, it can be seen that other sales phases are also affected by digitization, which provides at least one advantage for both sales and the customer. To name one, the technology of mobile devices can first be related to the reduction of complexity. The use of smartphones makes contact between sales and customers easier. Compared to before, the field service was instructed to contact the customer by the arrival to acquire them or to provide them with more information. In contrast to the past, digitalization means that there is no need to travel to the premises and customers can use their smartphones to gain additional information on the Internet or initially satisfy their interests by subscribing to newsletters.
The risk and opportunity analysis show that the influence of digitization brings with it numerous potential risks for the company. For example, data security means a lot of effort within IT. Because of mobile devices, many companies are using the BYOD trend, which means that customized IT has to be developed. There is also the risk that viruses are already present on the mobile device, which can hack into the company’s internal network. To mention another risk potential, reference is made to the stress potential of the technologies. Mobile devices in particular mean that employees within the company can exchange information at any time and anywhere. For example, in sales, stress affects facial expressions, Gestures and choice of words of the employee and thus harms his charisma and persuasive power when talking to customers. The use of new technologies enables targeted and cost-saving customer management, but attention must be paid to compliance-related and legal framework conditions in this context. A violation can have legal consequences as well as extensive economic losses.
However, the risks are also offset by potential opportunities, the number of which have a positive effect on the influence of digitization. Young companies are granted easier market access by removing traditional barriers to market entry through the use of new technologies. At the same time, for example, mobile devices or social media potentials for data acquisition and systems such as cloud computing enable targeted data processing, which in turn makes it possible to meet specific target group-specific needs and to translate them into company-specific services and products. But the influence also brings some opportunities within sales. Through technological networking of the components involved in the value creation process, enables independent and interactive communication between the elements. For example, it is possible to react optimally and immediately to changes in capacity or bottlenecks.
The impact of digitization on sales has become an important part of the future. The technologies offer the sales department numerous opportunities to support their processes even more precisely and specifically. To meet customer requirements, traditional business structures have to be fundamentally rethought, because only in rare cases can innovative business models be transferred to classic processes. In addition, the pressure of current change is increasing as IT and high-tech companies penetrate traditional industries such as healthcare. Supported by the high speed of innovation, previously unknown competition is developing, which is increasingly blurring industry boundaries. Therefore it is necessary for the distribution of his “digital fitness” to be checked to recognize and exploit his growth potential. The variety of new technologies is almost unlimited and is constantly evolving. However, it is not the use of every single technology that counts as a success factor, but the selection of technologies tailored to individual needs and their targeted and continuous use. In this way, it is possible to realize comparative competitive advantages in the long term. but the selection of technologies tailored to individual needs and their targeted and continuous use. In this way, it is possible to realize comparative competitive advantages in the long term. but the selection of technologies tailored to individual needs and their targeted and continuous use. In this way, it is possible to realize comparative competitive advantages in the long term.