It’s a Brave New Remote World

The B2B landscape has perhaps never evolved as quickly as it did during the pandemic. In particular, eCommerce growth accelerated years faster than it would have otherwise. It pushed even more consumers online and caused those who were already utilizing eCommerce solutions to spend more money more frequently online. Digital Commerce 360 estimates the pandemic contributed an extra $218.53 billion to eCommerce’s bottom line over the past two years. 

Yet online options didn’t accelerate only for consumers. The pandemic’s impact also caused a significant - and rapid - adoption of remote work, resulting in increased mobility for employees and potential employees. A McKinsey report found, “The pandemic accelerated existing trends in remote work, eCommerce, and automation, with up to 25% more workers than previously estimated potentially needing to switch occupations.”

Buzzy catchphrases such as “The Great Resignation,” and “The Great Attrition,” abound, as employees consider making a shift if companies don’t offer remote options, or exploring a new career since remote options have opened up new opportunities all over the world. 

In fact, people aren’t just switching companies, they’re switching industries entirely. “Globally, just 35 percent of those who quit in the past two years took a new job in the same industry. In finance and insurance, for instance, 65 percent of workers changed industries or did not return to the workforce. In the public and social sector, the exodus was even greater, at 72 percent.”

The Pandemic Remote Work and Employee Expectations graphic

Consequently, remote work doesn’t just impact how you manage teams, whether that’s tools, strategy, or style, but it’s also made it a much more competitive hiring market, where companies have to fight - and often spend more - to hire the talent they need, searching for atypical candidates in unexpected industries.

McKinsey noted, “Even as employers scramble to fill these positions, the voluntary quit rate is 25 percent higher than pre pandemic levels. At the current and projected pace of hiring, quitting, and job creation, openings likely won’t return to normal levels for some time.”

While there are a number of strategies that businesses should be utilizing to attract and retain the best team members, one important piece of that puzzle - and one that can be deployed now - is improving your digital experience for employees.

The Case for Enhancing the Digital Employee Experience

At this point in the eCommerce era, companies are likely deeply familiar with the importance of creating a digital experience for customers and have the numbers to back it up. 

Per a Hubspot study, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. In 2021, slow-loading websites cost retail companies $2 billion in sales, and users abandoned sites if they didn’t load within 3 seconds. User experience is more important than ever, and customers no longer tolerate a poor one.

Yet the other end of the equation - employees - are all too often subjected to a bad user experience internally. And unlike consumers, who can and will walk away for a better user experience, employees are stuck with the digital options provided by their employer. This can quickly become a source of frustration and is a factor in the resignations and attritions companies are experiencing. It also slows down efficiency, results in more errors, and affects business processes negatively. 

Particularly in an increasingly hybrid and remote work environment, having an excellent digital experience for employees is critical. As one digital employee experience expert, Mark Banfield, put it, “In hybrid work, bad tech days are bad workdays.”

Banfield’s company, 1E, surveyed more than 300 IT professionals in the U.S. and U.K. and found that 66% of IT decision-makers say that a complete overhaul is needed to enhance the digital employee experience.

Having the right tools - and ensuring that they function properly - can set employers competing for talent apart, all while positively impacting the customer experience, too. After all, happy team members deliver far superior customer experiences than their disgruntled counterparts, resulting in stronger sales and increased revenue.

The Digital Employee Experience & Sales

Sales is a great example of how developing a digital employee experience can have a huge impact on your bottom line.

There are several tools and strategies that improve the employee experience, thus impacting the customer experience.

Let’s break down some of the big ones.

CPQ

CPQ, or Configure, Price, Quote solutions allow companies to quickly and accurately generate complex sales quotes for configurable products. Quotes created via CPQ software follow a predetermined set of rules, accounting for a long list of variables, like: quantity, customization, optional features, discounts, etc. 

Even better, CPQ often works in tandem with other solutions, like CRM platforms or ERP programs, which provides integrated data and simplifies business operations. This also enhances your digital employee experience, allowing seamless data sharing rather than clunky switches between systems.

Yet perhaps the most exciting thing about CPQ is its direct impact on revenue. In traditional sales operations, a large part of a sales rep’s time is unfortunately spent on generating quotes and proposals, and following up accordingly. In fact, most sales reps spend only 34% of their time actually selling - the rest is tied up putting together pricing for potential customers. 

CPQ solutions minimize the time sales reps have to spend doing things other than selling, and consequently, they are able to increase revenue by focusing on more critical things. In fact, according to a Salesforce report, sales teams have reported: 

  • 10x quicker quote generation
  • 95% reduction in time for approval
  • 30% quicker onboarding for new sales members
The impact of CPQ on Revenue graphic

Thanks to these benefits, teams see immediate and impressive return on investment (ROI), one that is far faster than many other products can yield. Sales teams also get to do what they enjoy - interacting with their clients - rather than being bogged down in quote creation and paperwork. It’s a win-win for employees, customers, and revenue.

Subscriptions

CPQ can also help companies launch subscriptions, a market that has grown significantly in recent years.

McKinsey subscription eCommerce research infographic

In fact, from 2014 to 2018, the subscription market grew by 890%, and by 2019, 54% of online shoppers said they have at least one subscription.

For many businesses, subscriptions are a new way of meeting customer needs, differentiating their brand, and selling products. It’s also a way to minimize workloads on employees, allowing the automated nature of subscriptions to do the heavy lifting. 

Companies that are utilizing an ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning system, (or even worse, spreadsheets!), to manage these configurations have no way to enable subscriptions sustainably, and certainly no way to do so without frustrating team members. 

But CPQ solutions give enterprises a way to move complex configurations and pricing out of older systems and into modern tools designed to automate these processes and easily scale as the business grows and needs evolve. They also take a burden off employees.

eCommerce

All of this ties to eCommerce. As previously noted, eCommerce exploded during the pandemic and shows no sign of fully returning to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, per a Google and Roland Berger study, 60% of sales managers surveyed believe that digitizing the sales organization will be critical to the success of their business.

The increase in customers utilizing eCommerce - and expecting eCommerce options - drastically impacts employee workloads and experience. Without the right tools in place to support the sudden uptick in customers, team members will burn out. 

Indeed, in a survey of over 1000 respondents by Deloitte, 77% of employees say they have experienced burnout at their current job. Even among those passionate about their jobs, burnout reigns supreme, with 64% citing frequent work-related stress. 

Not only does a poor digital employee experience drag morale down and increase risk of burnout, it also leads to inefficiencies in procurement, sales, marketing, and more aspects of eCommerce.

But by deploying digital tools, companies that either need to finally delve into eCommerce or ramp up their current eCommerce offerings can reap major rewards. McKinsey categorizes these into three key areas: “an improved end-to-end customer journey, incremental sales opportunities, and increased sales-force efficiency. These benefits can translate into major improvements in revenue.” 

Bottom-line benefits of digitization graph

Their study also notes that, “companies that invested significantly in digital solutions had higher revenue growth and better total returns to shareholders.”

The Digital Employee Experience & Marketing

But Sales is just one example. Consider the impacts of enhancing the digital employee experience on Marketing.

Globalized CMS

Since the early days of web development, traditional Content Management Systems (or CMS), like WordPress, have been used to store the images, videos, and text that make up a website. These elements were written directly into the code and were only capable of being used in one linear fashion.

Fast-forward to the present day, where companies can now initiate touchpoints and nurture leads in a variety of different ways outside of the traditional website structure of text, video, and images. The inclusion of mobile apps, drip campaigns, digital displays, virtual assistants, and other digital platforms helps create a much larger, all-encompassing user journey. To stay ahead of the competition, you need a CMS that is flexible enough to adapt to these ever-evolving digital platforms. 

Just as importantly, a globalized CMS makes it easier for marketing teams to work collaboratively, to remain agile in increasingly volatile markets, and to save time and money by managing content as effectively as possible. This can be an incredibly powerful tool for marketing team members, making it easier to do their jobs and do them well. 

A headless CMS serves as an asset repository that organizes existing content, then uses APIs to map that content to a specific digital platform, device, or display method. Hosting and delivery live in the cloud, making it secure, flexible, and configurable anytime, from anywhere, regardless of work location or schedule.

The business benefits are significant. Content can be created without dependencies, cross-platform publishing is quicker than ever, developers can select desired frameworks rather than conforming to one programming language, companies can tap into best-of-breed architecture, and upgrades are a thing of the past. That alone can be a significant source of cost-savings, as IT teams spend on average, 40% of their time delivering upgrades. 

These are just a handful of examples illustrating how investing in backend experiences for marketing team members delivers results in ROI in numerous ways.

The Significance of Employee Satisfaction

To come full circle, your employees are arguably your most important resource - and they impact your customer experience and your bottom line.

Yet most companies don’t invest in the employee experience accordingly. Consequently, only 13% of employees cite being satisfied with their employee experience, per a Gartner survey

Employers have started to recognize that this is an abysmal statistic, one which directly impacts the quality of customer service they can provide. An article by the Harvard Business Review extensively unpacked this correlation, noting that on a 1 to 5 scale of employee satisfaction, for everyone one level improvement, there was a corresponding improvement of anywhere from 8% to 19% in long-term market valuation. 

Fortunately, companies are making adjustments. In fact, a new research study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of VMware, “Optimizing Digital Employee Experience for Anywhere Work,” shows that:

  • 75% of organizations are making digital employee experience (DEX) a higher or top priority
  • Only 25% of organizations currently implement a comprehensive DEX solution
  • 60% expect to implement one in the next 24 months 
  • 75% of organizations implement three or more solutions to address DEX versus a comprehensive, integrated solution
Forrester Consulting research study graph

In an incredibly competitive market, employee satisfaction and customer satisfaction are two sides of the same coin, and that coin is critical to success. 

Next Steps

To learn more about investing in a digital experience for employees, reach out to the team of experts at Object Edge for a free consultative call. With over twenty years of experience in solving complex digital challenges, we're excited to help.

About the Author

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Sarah Falcon

VP, Marketing Global

Sarah is a nimble and creative marketing leader with 15 years of experience in a mix of agencies, B2B, and B2C enterprises. She brings a background in building and driving impactful marketing practices and processes for growing businesses. Sarah has expertise in brand, content marketing, lead generation, and marketing operations. She’s a co-author of the 2019 book on B2B eCommerce Digital Branch Secrets: eCommerce Playbook for Distributors.

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