This quick-read looks at a new term which is emerging to describe the most forward-thinking sales leaders: “Revenue Innovators” and assesses how they are addressing the digital structural shift that has taken place in the B2B client relationship world.
“If you don't adapt to something like this [ERI] you are dead in the water.*”
“Revenue Innovators” is a new term coined by Mary Shea, VP, Global Innovation Evangelist at Outreach, to describe the emergence of a new cohort of revenue leaders who put buyers at the center of their strategies, who arm their sellers with the most innovative sales technologies, and who leverage data-driven intelligence, rather than intuition to inform their business decisions. Of all the new terms and phrases being used to describe actions and actors in the post-pandemic world, this is one that will gain traction. The emergence of this new term is being validated by discussions we’re having with some of the most forward-thinking global sales leaders, and supported by predictions and analysis conducted by consultancies like Forrester.
In its 2021 predictions, Forrester foretold that 2021 would be the year that “AI and automation puts sellers on a path to fulfill their consultative destiny.” They predicted that sales tools that capture and automatically upload buyer and seller engagement activity to CRM systems would finally enable sellers to have the time and space to conduct deeper customer research, extract insights from data, and orchestrate more meaningful interactions with their buyers.
In the first half of 2021 we have seen the demand for these technology solutions increase significantly. Client relationships are at an inflection point – the human signals which we once gained through face-to-face interactions are becoming less frequent which has elevated the importance of data signals in gaining a full understanding of client bases in today’s increasingly digital world. The businesses that are emerging as winners are those that equip their managers and salespeople with the next generation of data-driven client intelligence.
Over the past year we have seen a seismic shift in the way sellers interact with their clients. It has precipitated a dramatic acceleration in the adoption of digital knowledge sharing and has advanced the demand for technology solutions to address this shift by an estimated 5+ years. According to Candace Browning, Head of Global Research of Bank of America Securities, the amount of financial research consumed in the past year is up by low double-digits, and importantly, this is showing no signs of slowing down. As we come out of national and international travel restrictions, we are likely to see an increase in face-to-face client meetings, but not to the extent which we once deemed necessary. Email has become the most valuable source of knowledge sharing and we are entering an era where deriving human insights from digital communication channels is mission critical for client relationships.
Where we once based our sales interactions and forecasts on intuition-based decisions, as relationships have shifted to digital channels, a new solution to this long-standing challenge has emerged: Enterprise Relationship Intelligence (ERI). This category is designed to answer the “whys” that lie within an enterprise’s client activities: Why did I not predict that that client was about to leave? Why did we not close that new business? Why is that contact a particularly good opportunity right now? ERI is much more than just a replacement for face-to-face meetings, it is a completely new approach to understanding client activities and outperforms anything that has gone before in both accuracy and immediacy of the insights. The foundations of this software category are built on the requirement for automated data capture to free salespeople from manual data inputs, combined with machine intelligence to turbo-charge the understanding we have of our client activities and intentions. Those two unique features set us apart from any other providers in this space, and they address the urgent demand for improved client intelligence to drive stronger human interactions in this rapidly changing landscape.
The language used in discussions with sales leaders to discuss ERI has been indicative of its importance in the new era of client relations: “It’s like seeing the internet for the first time. I want it.” One thing is for sure: ERI is at the leading-edge of the digital structural shift in how we communicate with our clients and has become mission critical for client relationships in the new digital era.
*Regional Head of Sales, Asset Manager, Nordic Region