RESEARCH REPORT

In brief

In brief

  • Industrial customers expect an Amazon-like digital purchasing experience, but companies have been slow to deliver.
  • Our research shows that more than 96% of companies want to transform their sales department, but only 7% have plans to act in the next 1-2 years.
  • We highlight how leading companies are setting the pace by focusing on five key capabilities to develop digital sales at speed.


Industrial customers have placed their orders

Many industrial companies know what customers want but struggle to deliver a highly digital sales experience. To better understand the barriers companies face and how the most successful surmount them, Accenture surveyed 500 industrial sales and marketing executives globally. Results reveal respondents are aware of the potential margin benefits and efficiencies from digital (or online) engagement and automation. Yet few have pursued them.

How can industrial companies jumpstart the sales transformation process?

29%

of total B2B sales will come from online sales by 2025.

~90%

of industrial customers see clear benefits in digitizing B2B sales processes.

PRESS RELEASE: “While the pandemic served as a digital wake-up call for most sectors, industrial companies seem to have missed the message,” said Thomas Rinn, who leads Accenture’s Industrial industry group globally. Read the full press release.

Sales transformation maturity levels

Our survey examined five capabilities that drive sales transformation. We assessed survey respondents against these cutting-edge sales capabilities to understand their maturity in providing a seamless digital sales experience.

Leaders are farthest along in the sales transformation journey but still need to continue their efforts to develop digital sales capabilities. Strivers struggle to transform the sales organization boldly and quickly, while Laggards face significant internal obstacles to making progress.

About the Authors

Thomas Rinn

Managing Director – Global Industrial Lead


Joe McGee

Principal Director – Strategy, Customer Sales & Service


Thomas Wrana

Senior Manager – Industrial


Matthias Wahrendorff

Thought Leadership Research Senior Principal – Accenture Research


Andreas Egetenmeyer

Associate Manager – Industrial Research

MORE ON THIS TOPIC

Blueprint for service success
Cooking up superior customer experiences
Winning the race to reinvent B2B sales

How does your company measure up?

Take five minutes and answer a few questions to find out your organization’s strengths and weaknesses on the path to digital sales.

Digital Sales Benchmarking Tool

How do you score across the five key capabilities for digital sales?

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This benchmarking tool is being used to measure your company’s strengths and weaknesses across the five key capabilities for digital sales. Participation is optional and voluntary. The results of this survey are not anonymous, although your responses will be treated confidentially. Your responses will be made available to Accenture marketing and sales teams. For more information about how Accenture processes personal data, read our external privacy statement.

How important are the below aspects for today's digital customer's journey in your company?

Please rate on a scale from 1 = Not important to 5 = Very important

Which digital tools are most used today in your company's sales process?

Please select your top three

In which tools (and by how much) do you plan to invest in the next 3-5 years to increase your company's online generated revenue?

(Annual Investment includes development, licenses, implementation, internal cost, and maintenance support)

1
No investment planned - already fully implemented
2
No investment planned - not planned to use
3
Total Annual Investment of under $5 million
4
Total Annual Investment of $5 million to $25 million
5
Total Annual Investment of over $25 million

Do you have a recommendation engine in your company's online shop to facilitate cross- and upselling?

05a

If Yes: What percentage of your company's total sales is induced via the recommendation engine?

0

Does your company offer online shop solutions (“punchout solutions”), that are directly integrated into the purchasing systems and tools of your customers?

What is the current organization and reporting relationship of marketing in your company? What will it be in 3-5 years?

Please choose one answer per column

What is the current organization and reporting relationship of aftersales in your company? What will it be in 3-5 years?

Please choose one answer per column

Your Results

See how your company’s digital sales progress compares to Leaders, Strivers and Laggards.

Choose the cluster(s) you want to compare against.

Overall Averages

With knowledge comes power. Now that you know your key focus areas, you can accelerate your digital sales transformation.

Contact us to discuss how we can help you on your journey to "high-voltage" digital sales.

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Make sales truly digital

Leading Industrial companies are focusing on these five key capabilities to transform their sales at speed.

1. Digital end-to-end customer engagement

Create a personalized online experience such as product and service configurators, to build a robust digital commerce offering.

2. Proactive, customized recommendations

Build recommendation engines to increase cross- and upselling for products and services.

3. Predictive, data-driven customer insights

Stitch together customer insights from marketing, sales and service transaction data.

4. Automated, standardized sales processes

Provide immediate customer responses via chatbots. Leverage RPA for approval workflows to unleash back-office capacity.

5. Collaborative front-office operations

Break down functional silos. Direct cross-functional teams to improve the customer journey at moments of truth.

View All


Create a seamless digital sales experience

The path to creating digital sales is individual to each company, determined by your company’s strengths and weaknesses. As a first step on this journey, assess the maturity of your company’s capabilities and where you need to start. Don’t wait—ignite “high-voltage“ digital sales at your company, now.

Here’s what mature digital sales look like

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