The Digital Revenue Organization

A Post-Pandemic Perspective

Data and technology advancements continue to fundamentally change how marketing, sales and service organizations operate.

For more than a decade, B2B marketing, sales and service organizations have been modernizing how they engage with customers. Data and technology have fundamentally changed how the revenue organization operates. The pandemic served as an opportunity for laggards to catch-up and leaders to commercialize years of investment.

Alexander Group surveyed digital, marketing, sales and service leaders across industries to learn more about the state of the Digital Revenue Organization post-pandemic.

The results? Leaders widened the gap while laggards installed the foundation needed to catch-up.

The research delivered the following insights:

“Digital” means innovative customer experiences enabled by data and technology

Digital organizations go through four stages of maturity as they scale

Digital organizations follow common organization design archetypes and feature new jobs

Leaders face common inhibitors and offer practical advice to build and maintain momentum

Cross-functional teams collaborate on programs to bring the digital vision to life

The Meaning of Digital

Digital means many things—even when the scope is marketing, sales and service alone.

A specific definition is too narrow for the revenue organization. A broad definition is unwieldy. 63% of participants indicate their organization does not have a common definition. 100% agree that lack of a common definition impedes execution.

Those with a definition described digital as e-commerce, e-business, digital commerce and omnichannel. The meaning of digital is different company to company. While participants could not agree on a universal or narrow definition, they agree digital – at its core- is all about customer experience.

More specifically it is how a business uses data and technology to create innovative, disruptive customer experiences – leading to competitive advantage. A complete digital definition also includes perspective on strategy, leadership, culture, talent, data & insights and operations.

Leaders of these teams often spend the first several quarters in the role aligning the organization on a common definition, vision and roadmap. Lack of a well understood definition and communicated vision is viewed as the most common inhibitor to progress.

Strategy & Leadership

Differentiate based on customer needs turning marketing, sales, and service functions into a competitive advantage.


Accelerate digital literacy through aligned definition, organizational agility, and change management.


Develop, recruit, motivate, and retain the human resources needed to turn vision to reality.

Data & Insights

Advance intelligence by contextualizing data applications for customers, colleagues and systems.


Create technical agility speed integration of back-end systems with front-end customer experiences.


Redefine processes to deploy the right motions to colleagues and customers at the right time.

Customer Experience

Deliver seamless customer experiences across physical and digital interactions to improve revenue growth, market share, and customer satisfaction.

The Digital Maturity Model

Digital Revenue Organizations are often born out of a narrow e-commerce remit.

They start out developing foundational capabilities to process an online transaction. As they move forward, they begin experimenting with new-found data and technology capabilities – often applying the skills to how they market and engage customers post-sales. Organizations at this stage will often rebrand as “e-business” signifying accountability for more than just e-commerce.

As experiments prove out, digital organizations grow in scope and function. Discrete marketing, sales and service digital capabilities integrate. The organization infuses sister functions with new and advanced capabilities. The organization aspires to deliver integrated online and offline experiences.

Those that achieve this transformational level of maturity deliver innovative and disruptive omnichannel customer experiences. Marketing engages across the customer lifecycle, buyers transact seamlessly via an array of channels and service is delivered when, where and how customers prefer.

Regardless of where a business is on the Digital Maturity Model, leaders advise anchoring to customer expectations. While it is important to be aspirational, they indicate a practical, near-term focus is needed to ground the organization and build momentum.

Figuring out where to start begins with developing an outside-in view. Actively monitor customers evolving expectations. Base your digital roadmap – the set of initiatives the business will undertake – on what your unique buyers want. Avoid falling into the trap of being biased by a B2C experience that overshoots the emerging needs of a B2B buyer.

Customer Expectations Inform Digital Requirements

Customer Maturity

Reliance on Physical Channels

Digital Maturity


Digital (e-commerce) is a new sales channel

Customer Maturity

Shifting Preferences

Digital Maturity


Digital is an important lever for marketing and customer engagement


Customer Maturity

Empowered by Digital

Digital Maturity


Digital is a virtual unit with dotted line to marketing and sales


Customer Maturity

Expecting Omnichannel

Digital Maturity


Digital is a separate BU, integrating resources across functions

Organization Structure

As digital revenue organizations move through phases of maturity, they demonstrate new capabilities.


Moves from plumbing together marketing automation and CRM to dynamically engaging customers across channels throughout the lifecycle.


Expands from few easy to transact SKUs to a full suite of configurable solutions with multiple modes (e.g., cart, click to buy, click to speak, etc.) of transacting.


Moves from installing baseline data and system driven processes (such as forecasting and pipeline) to enabling sellers with data driven custom messaging and offers.


Shifts from installing foundational IVR and ticketing systems to launching self-service portals and delivering AI driven preemptive support.

Delivering those capabilities takes people and investment. Alexander Group research shows that digital organizations find their roots diffused across different parts of the business. At a point in time, they are brought together into a centralized function – often under sales and marketing. They start by delivering a limited value proposition such as baseline e-commerce capabilities. As momentum builds, these organizations take on more accountability and may rebrand to e-business as they do more than just transact. In their most mature form, they may be described as omnichannel – engaging with customers across a complex mix of marketing, sales and service channels.

The organization features a team that owns underlying technology such as the e-commerce platform. Team members here maintain and enhance the shop. Marketing resources are often owned by the function to engage with customers across digital spaces, drive traffic and deliver needed content and messaging. Finally, the function includes operational team members enabling with data, insights and program management.

As the Digital Revenue Organization matures it ultimately becomes a standalone function, shifting out from under Marketing and Sales to the COO or CEO. These mature organizations are often helmed by an SVP level leader or a Chief Digital Officer. They are tasked with shift (productivity) and lift (revenue) goals.

Want to Learn More?

Contact a Digital Practice lead.

Talent and Jobs

Talent is one of the top reported inhibitors of digital roadmap progression. Plainly stated being digital requires people. Critical human resources are not easily found or plucked from B2C. They bring specialized capabilities and unique career experience. They are hard to find and even harder to woo.

Research participants describe three roles at the center of their recruiting efforts. These roles are viewed as pivotal to roadmap execution:

The Omnichannel Experience Manager

The Omnichannel Experience Manager owns the digital roadmap. They deploy capital to bring the digital vision to life. Omnichannel Experience Managers are well versed in commercial motions and understand technical environments (data, systems and processes). They are visionaries that bring to bear strong project management, communication and leadership skills. They have a team of program managers reporting to them who work with cross-functional teams on digital initiatives.

Omnichannel Program Managers

Omnichannel Program Managers own agile digital initiatives. They drive execution, shouldering up with cross-functional stakeholders (IT, marketing, sales, service, others) on projects. They are the answer to getting things done. While the Omnichannel Channel Experience Manager owns the vision and roadmap, these people bring it to life. They are expert project managers and collaborators. They demonstrate the ability to bring cross-functional teams together. They are NOT just process people. They own outcomes.

Data Scientists

Data Scientists work with IT to build and maintain data environments. They team with functional stakeholders to find high impact applications for data assets. They power the predictive machine. If Program Managers and their cross-functional agile teams build the piping and infrastructure, Data Scientists supply the fuel. They work with IT to make data accessible. They work with cross-functional teams to refine the data and make it usable. They make sure the engine is fed with the needed data and insights to bring vision to life in real-time.

Why the “Omnichannel Experience”?

Participants call out a central issue with digital – no one function owns the customer experience. Roadmaps are anchored to deliver disruptive, innovative customer experiences but there is no clear accountability. Digital leaders claim it is their team’s accountability. They use “experience” in their team’s job titles to make this clear internally and externally. They use “omnichannel” to imply the transformational nature of the team’s vision.

Inhibitors and Enablers

Bringing a digital vision to life is hard. Leaders describe a path riddled with obstacles. They face a breadth of expectations from customers and the business. Even if they are well-funded and have a vision, they run into difficulty gaining cross-functional buy-in and support due to lack of a common digital definition. They operate in a complex matrix – serving product, geo and functional stakeholders. They are pressured to show results faster than corporate culture, access to talent and timelines will allow.

Those making progress within their organization offer practical advice.

A Breadth of Expectations

Customers and internal executives understand the benefits of digital – better experiences, increased scale and efficiency are just a few. They have seen pioneers in the space deliver amazing results. These reference points create expectations and pressure. Digital leaders advise a focus on quick wins. They warn against grandiose programs and visions that excite yet are at high risk of failure. Their audience – customers and internal budget holders – are not patient. Meeting their expectations is best achieved via a roadmap comprised of reduced scope initiatives that build toward an ultimate vision.

Fragmented Definitions

Many digital leaders share a common anecdote. They are hired into a transformative role. They are tasked with leading a digital revolution. They are promised support and funding. They are sold on executive leaderships commitment to change. They join with energy and excitement only to find that while leadership is aligned, the rest of the organization is not on the same page. They spend the initial months speaking with stakeholders, inventorying ongoing digital initiatives across functions, business units and geographies. They observe no common digital definition or charter. They realize that nothing will get done without alignment among the arms and legs needed to execute. As digital leaders take the helm, unify the organization to a common charter and definition. Reign in localized efforts and centralize resources.

Unclear Operating Models

Alexander Group research suggests the most clearly defined digital operating model is when the function is described as a channel. Digital is a route to market for marketing, sales and service customer interactions. Digital is contemporary means of engaging with customers online via websites, search, content, social and others. Digital is an e-commerce platform enabling customer transactions. Digital is a self-service portal enabling 24/7 access to support resources. Positioning digital as a channel eases internal communication and alignment to a common definition.

Investment Outpacing Speed of Delivery

Customer and company executives want digital teams to crawl, sprint and rocket off to space. While energizing (and flattering) this is not pragmatic. Digital teams need to break down cultural walls, fight internal politics, acquire talent and move quickly to demonstrate impact (or risk losing interest and access to budget). This journey features triumph and failure. Those having walked the path advise an agile roadmap to mitigate risk. Progress to the long-term vision through a series of small-scale sprints. Keep an innovative customer experience at the center and prioritize initiative that will have the greatest near-term customer impact.

Digital Brought to Life

Stakeholders tend to understand digital when discussed in terms of a function (like digital marketing), a channel (like e-commerce), or technology. The definition gets cloudy when digital is talked about in terms of delivering an experience – the intersection of functions, channels and technology. While experience is the most complex of digital definitions, it is where Alexander Group research suggests companies are investing most. Digital leaders most commonly feature three experience-oriented initiatives on their roadmaps:

Omnichannel Quoting

Imagine you are in line at lunch browsing a website for a B2B product on your mobile device. The kitchen is backed up, so you start to configure the solution. A chat message pops up offering to help. You bite. Next thing you know you are web chatting with a salesperson while your lunch is being prepared. They help you finish the configuration and send a quote via email. You get back to the office and log into your account and only to see the order in your shopping cart, just one click away from a completed transaction. Delivering an integrated – on and offline – quoting experience is an example of the initiatives Omnichannel Experience Managers are bringing to life.

Auto Replenishment

You are in charge ordering regular supplies for your team, or maybe you recently bought a piece of capital equipment that requires regular use of consumables. What if you did not have to remember to reorder? What if your vendor was smart enough to know when you need replenishment? Wouldn’t it be nice to have the needed inventory just in time? Participants report working on predictive and IoT driven capabilities that allow customers to opt in for this type of experience. These capabilities deliver value across a series of metrics including customer experience, average order size and retention.

Immersive Portals

We live in an impatient world. Customers want what they want when they want it. There are also limitations to how much companies can invest in serving a growing breadth of customer expectations. The answer? Online portals that provide customers with access to account and order information, virtual demos, technical content, social networks to crowd source support and more. Digital leaders are investing in ecosystems that allow customers to get the support when and how they want it all the while reducing service organization workload. The impact? Improved customer experiences and lower cost to serve.


The Digital Revenue Organization is here. Data and technology advancements continue to fundamentally change how marketing, sales and service organizations operate. Mature organizations have strong leadership, they are well resourced and are actively progressing down a defined roadmap. They anchor their vision to innovative customer experiences. They break down barriers through ongoing communication and organizational alignment. They maintain momentum and funding through agile operations. They feature specialized, visionary talent with the ability to lead cross-functional teams.

To learn more about how Alexander Group can help set your organizational digital definition, leverage the experience of mature digital organizations to plot your path, rally resources and teams and bring your digital vision to life, please contact a digital practice lead.

More Resources

Digital Overview

Digital Revenue Organization

Podcast Channel

About Alexander Group

Alexander Group understands your revenue growth challenges. Since 1985, we’ve served more than 3,000 companies across the globe. This experience gives us not only a highly sophisticated set of best practices to grow revenue—we also have a rich repository of unique industry data that informs all our recommendations. Aligning product, marketing, operations and finance efforts behind a successful sales organization takes insight and hard work. We help the world’s leading organizations build the right revenue vision, transform their organizations and deliver results.

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