How do we achieve digital transformation in PLM sales?

How do we achieve digital transformation in PLM sales?

Yesterday was the Passover evening. This is a usual time for family and friends to get together around the table. This year it was different. The computer was an important citizen at the table and video conference was a way to connect to friends and families. Tomorrow’s Easter dinner will be the same. To have a digital connection and the ability to communicate with friends, families, business partners, colleagues was one of the most important things for many people during these last weeks and months of pandemic isolation.

When such an unthinkable event happens and the traditional modes of personal communication shut down, the time is to think about how many traditional business processes will be surviving in this new reality. The process I want to talk about today is PLM sales.

Why is it so important?

Because, the traditional PLM sales process is very personal with a lot of high touch events – sales meetings, workshops, conferences. All these things are now canceled and postponed. This means a lot of PLM sales activities can be on hold or in a very strange status. What can help and what PLM companies should do? Every PLM sales team can potentially face a failure to effectively communicate the brand value differentiation and stay competitive. This is a big challenge.

What companies can do?

PLM companies are getting better in digital communication. When I started my PLM blog back in 2009, the need for social media communication was barely understood by brands. A decade later, the situation is completely different. All brands have their social media accounts, sending tons of articles, webinars, videos, and other materials. The real sales and marketing teams moved slowly in this digital communication world. A slide deck presentation is still #1 sales instrument and it is used also in sales meetings with 20 people as well as during 1:1 communication.

I can see two biggest problems with this PowerPoint sales mechanism: (1) Slide deck and many other materials even streamed online have almost zero engagement; (2) PLM tools that require installation, configuration and setup provide very little trust during the sales process.

Absence of engagement and trust – these are problems in traditional PLM sales and it is going to change in a new digital world. So, here are three main elements I can see in the future of PLM sales.

  1. Moving from passive prospecting watching and listening to actively interacting prospects. New digital tools such as video and other digital communication can make a big difference. Staying emotionally connected, communicating actively and engaging using all digital channels is a new digital sales world.
  2. Moving from the demos with almost no engagements to the driver seat. New SaaS PLM tools can provide a first hands experience to future customers online. Are you looking for a PLM system? You can get a system online, create an account and experience the tool first hands. Try to do it today and most of PLM tools will fail the test. In a new digital world to experience system first hand will become a must feature.
  3. Social proof and social connection. The new digital world provides a huge opportunity to identify yourself and build social connections and social proof for your activity. Your social profile, the professional connection is a foundation of social proof for the work you do and the services you provide. It is an absolutely important element of future digital sales.

What is my conclusion?

Every PLM system works in a PowerPoint slide deck and video demos. I’m sure you’ve heard this joke at least once. The time is changing. We are moving in the world of digital communication and it will change everything in PLM starting from the PLM sales process. New normal is coming. A completely different PLM sales process will provide a way to engage with potential customers using modern digital tools, build trust using the social connection and provide real access to PLM SaaS software online instead of watching boring videos of PLM tool demonstrations. Just my thoughts…

Best, Oleg

Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups, and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.


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