On-the-go data-driven tools such as AI-powered mobile sales apps and Customer Relationship Management (CRM) systems are becoming increasingly integral to sales toolkits. Such technologies provide sales teams with complete, contextual customer information and quick actions to service digital-first customers. However, tactically seeing through the selection and implementation of such tools is just as important, if not more, for any business's success.

Here’s a look at how Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), one of India’s largest oil and gas corporations, empowered its sales teams with technology.

BPCL's digitalisation initiative, Project Anubhav, spans seven business units that serve crores of customers through direct sales and thousands of dealers and distributors across India. BPCL is using Salesforce to build a 360-degree view of its customers and operations. With greater collaboration across its business units and channel partners, BPCL’s sales teams are now building stronger relationships and expanding their customer bases.

Click here to read the complete story on how BPCL is partnering with Salesforce to transform its sales processes and customer experience.
Drawing from BPCL's experiences and learnings, here are tips on how B2B businesses can digitalise their sales operations successfully:

1. Let customer-centricity drive tech adoption

Customer-centricity enables you to align your business’s processes and services with customer expectations. Keeping the customer journey and their needs at the core of your digitalisation efforts can help you deliver convenient and personalised experiences. This creates a stickiness that can lead to higher sales.
Using Sales Cloud, BPCL’s sales officers can access complete data on existing customers and leads from BPCL's conversational chatbot 'Urja', unified mobile app (HelloBPCL), WhatsApp, and partner channels. With complete visibility into customer context, sales officers can respond quickly and meaningfully. This helps gain new customers and cross- or upsell to existing customers.

2. Carve a niche by providing connected, consistent experiences

It is not always possible to create differentiation through your products. In such cases, think of how you can use technology to deliver exceptional services and experiences that can help you beat the competition and boost sales. 85% of business buyers say the experience a company provides is as important as its products or services.
BPCL realised that visibility into partner and customer interactions could uncover new cross-business opportunities. They wish to be customers’ one-stop shop for fuel and related needs. So, BPCL’s leaders decided to adopt Salesforce to break down silos and unify the entire organisation on a single platform. This has enabled them to meet customers’ different needs proactively irrespective of the business unit contacted.

3. Think of the technology’s usability and relevance

When adopting new technology, it is important to find a balance between two things – the tech-savviness of the end-users and the rapid pace at which technology is evolving. Not only is the lifecycle of technology products and platforms rapidly decreasing, but that of a company’s products and services as well. So, as you design your digitisation journey, consider a horizon of only five to 10 years, and focus on ease and rapidity of evolution.

4. Build familiarity with technology to drive adoption

Change management is crucial to optimum tech adoption, and it is the most effective when senior stakeholders lead it. This sends a clear message to the rest of the organisation on:

  • The need for digitalisation in B2B sales
  • The necessary steps to optimise implementation of technology
  • How this will benefit the business, users, and customers

Set up workshops, training sessions, and support mechanisms – like change leaders and forums – to address queries and teach employees to use the tools properly.

BPCL appointed eight regional champions who oversaw the implementation of Salesforce solutions and the training of employees across 38 national territories. Sales teams were also educated about the benefits of specific uses such as lead management, creating beat plans, recording the minutes of the meetings (MoMs) with partners, etc.

5. Measure adoption rates in the earlier days

It is important to allow technology at least an eight-month to one-year maturity period before you start measuring its ROI. During this period, focus on observing adoption rates and qualitative improvements in efficiencies. 

BPCL measures metrics like:

  • how much of their sales teams' time is being saved by automation or enhancements of their daily activities
  • how many partner and customer interactions are being recorded
  • how productive these interactions have become
  • the quality of data generated from these interactions

This is helping the sales team to adjust their strategy to changing goals and maximise technology’s impact. As the company changes direction from productivity to effectiveness, this is also higher adoption and better outcomes.

Once the tech solution is fully implemented, you can use metrics like the number of leads generated, conversions, time taken for each conversation, revenue generated, etc. to gain further and deeper insights into businesses processes.

Be prepared to let go of older systems to make way for change. For the successful digitalisation of B2B sales, it is important to inculcate and maintain the right mindset and processes. When done well, the right technology should help recover your investments within four-five years of the deployment.

Salesforce Customer 360 is a one-stop solution for businesses of any scale and in any industry. It unifies all the important business functions such as sales, service, marketing, and more – all on a single platform. With an in-built AI engine (Einstein) and strong analytical capabilities, Customer 360 can help any B2B sales team build customer relationships for life and drive faster growth.

Click here to know more about Salesforce Customer 360.