Mark Magnacca Of Allego On How To Use Digital Transformation To Take Your Company To The Next Level

An Interview With Cynthia Corsetti

The first is onboarding and training of new employees. By using digital tools and interactive online training programs, companies can significantly enhance their onboarding process. These tools enable new hires to learn at their own pace and simulate real-world scenarios they will face on the job. This not only speeds up the learning curve but also ensures they are better prepared to handle their roles effectively.

Digital transformation has become a crucial component for businesses striving to stay competitive and relevant in today’s rapidly evolving landscape. As technology continues to shape industries and redefine business models, companies must adapt and leverage digital tools and strategies to unlock new opportunities for growth and innovation. In this interview series, we aim to explore various aspects of digital transformation, including best practices, challenges, success stories, and expert insights. We are talking to thought leaders, industry experts, entrepreneurs, technology innovators, and executives who have firsthand experience in driving digital transformation initiatives within their organizations. As part of this series, we had the pleasure of interviewing Mark Magnacca.

Mark Magnacca is the co-founder and president of Allego, the leader in modern revenue enablement technology. After starting a financial planning company right out of college and selling it a decade later, Mark then started a sales consulting business to support a wide range of financial services companies as they began their digital transformation. He’s the author of several books, including Digital Sales Revolution: How Digital Sales Rooms Can Transform Your Buying and Selling Journey.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series. Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?

My background is as a financial advisor and later as a subject matter expert helping financial advisors to more effectively market themselves and their business. I wrote a book called, So What? How to Communicate What Really Matters to Your Audience. Soon after, I started training people in the asset management business whose customers were financial advisors. I was looking for a way to make it easier to conduct a “train-the-trainer” style event given these people were located all over the country. This was at the same time as the iPad was introduced. This was the spark of the idea for Allego.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lessons or ‘takeaways’ you learned from that?

Telling the people I was training to record a 30-minute presentation of themselves using the original 16-gigabyte iPad. People started calling me saying, “It used up the entire memory!” and “It’s going to take 24 hours to upload!” I knew at that point I needed to have a technical expert to help build this new app.

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

I brought this problem to my entrepreneurial group called Forum, and one of the members, Yuchun Lee, said, “You may be looking at this the wrong way. I think you need to build a software company that helps support training rather than a training company that has a software app.” I told him I didn’t have any experience building a software company, and he said, “Well, I do.” And that was the start of founding Allego.

Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?

Founders podcast with David Senra. I’ve listened to a number of episodes, and what keeps me coming back, whether it’s George Lucas or Michael Bloomberg, is there is a pattern that sets great founders apart from the rest. The first one is having a clear vision of what they want to accomplish. Second is being curious and willing to test assumptions. And finally, to persevere even when it is very hard. When you recognize these elements, you realize that there are certain things that make all the difference in the long run.

Are you working on any new, exciting projects now? How do you think that might help people?

The newest project we are working on is introducing Digital Sales Room (DSR) technology to the market, using our new book as a guide, Digital Sales Revolution: How Digital Sales Rooms Can Transform Your Buying and Selling Journey.

A DSR is a secure platform that allows sellers to collaborate with buyers and prospects virtually. Sellers use the platform to provide personalized, self-serve buying experiences, which increases engagement, speeds up the sales cycle, and reduces costs. Our book explores that in depth and guides readers on how to get started using the technology. In it, we explain B2B buyer behavior, how B2C experiences have impacted B2B buying, what B2B buyers want and expect, and why the DSR is not just the right solution to meet their needs, but that the technology will transform business and deliver more and bigger sales deals.

Thank you for all that. Let’s now turn to the main focus of our discussion about Digital Transformation. Digital transformation can mean many things to many people, from your perspective, how do you define digital transformation in your industry?

On a high level, digital transformation means integrating digital technology into areas of a business, fundamentally changing how it operates and delivers value to customers. It involves rethinking old operating models, experimenting with new technological approaches, and becoming more agile in responding to customers and competitors.

On a practical level, engaging in digital transformation might look like adopting a comprehensive revenue enablement platform to deliver modern buying and selling experiences, using AI to personalize customer interactions, or implementing machine learning for predictive analytics. It requires cultural change, as well, encouraging an organization to continuously challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure as a path to innovation and growth.

Which companies can most benefit from a Digital Transformation?

Virtually every company that has a salesforce can benefit from some type of digital transformation. In essence, digital transformation empowers those teams to work smarter, not harder, by leveraging technology to enhance efficiency, personalize customer interactions, and make data-driven decisions that drive success. The industries where we have seen the most direct impact include financial services, life sciences, high tech, and manufacturing.

For example, a medical device customer of Allego’s improved their buying experience dramatically by using DSRs. In the past, they would email documents back and forth and require the buying team to talk directly with a rep for nearly everything. Now, they use the virtual, interactive spaces to collaborate with the buying team in real time, share product information, demos, and contracts, and monitor engagement. The AI functionality helps automate much of the process, and the metrics allow them to make data-driven decisions. And it’s all in a secure environment tailored to the buyer’s specific needs.

Has integrating Digital Transformation been a challenging process for some companies? What are the challenges? How do you help resolve them?

Whenever there is a new transformation, it comes with a change management process. And there are two key components to that. First, is selecting the right technology or solution. Second, is user adoption, which is the biggest hurdle to overcome. For the digital transformation to succeed, you must ensure maximum user engagement and adoption of the technology and demonstrate that behavior change and the value. We’ve seen that the most successful digital transformations have a specific person or team spearheading the “digital enablement” process.

Not only that, but the person or team has a comprehensive plan for implementing the new technology. Essentially, you want to understand the problem you want to solve, plan the transition to the new technology, communicate the reasons for the change to each stakeholder, implement the new system, and monitor the progress to ensure you’re achieving the goals you set out at the beginning of the process.

Based on your experience and success, what are “Five Ways a Company Can Use Digital Transformation To Take It To The Next Level”?

Digital transformation can propel a company to the next level by integrating advanced technologies into four critical business areas.

The first is onboarding and training of new employees. By using digital tools and interactive online training programs, companies can significantly enhance their onboarding process. These tools enable new hires to learn at their own pace and simulate real-world scenarios they will face on the job. This not only speeds up the learning curve but also ensures they are better prepared to handle their roles effectively.

The next critical area is launches and rollouts of new products. Using advanced digital technology, sales leaders can ensure sellers fully understand new products and can practice pitches and presentations before they go into the field. These new tools include interactive virtual training, AI-powered role-playing, and conversation intelligence.

Third is content and messaging. Sales content management platforms have come a long way in recent years. Now, AI-powered platforms like Allego’s make it possible for your marketing team to manage, track, and scale content and messaging. Not only that, but the technology makes it easy for sellers to quickly find answers to pressing questions, video tips and advice from SMEs, eBooks to share with buyers, product information, and more. Plus, content creators can measure usage and engagement. Marketers can see if sellers use the content they create, and sellers can see if buyers are engaging with the content they share. They can then make decisions based on data rather than assumptions.

And last, but by no means least, is digital selling. Thanks to new technology such as DSRs, digital selling has taken center stage, offering sellers opportunities to connect, communicate, and close deals in ways previously unimagined. DSRs, for example, allow sellers to communicate and collaborate with buyers throughout the duration of a deal through a personalized, centralized, and secured space. They deliver a compelling buying experience, while enabling sellers and the marketing team to track which content the buyer reads, watches, and/or downloads — and which content performs best.

Across those areas, the role of coaching and collaboration cannot be overstated. Digital tools facilitate the sharing of best practices and innovative ideas among teams, ensuring that valuable insights are communicated just in time to make impactful decisions.

In your opinion, how can companies best create a “culture of innovation” in order to create new competitive advantages?

Having a diverse perspective is a big part of a culture of innovation, but more than anything, it is a willingness to recognize that failure is an inherent part of the process and that most innovations result after numerous failures. At Allego, we have defined operating principles that are central to our company. One of them is “learn to love your own mistakes instead of hating them.” Mistakes are opportunities to grow and learn, and we encourage everyone to build skills to “own” their mistakes: honesty, humbleness, fortitude, resiliency.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“None of us is as smart as all of us.” Ken Blanchard coined the phrase in the book he co-wrote with Randy Conley, Simple Truths of Leadership: 52 Ways to Be a Servant Leader and Build Trust. It reminds me of the power of being able to reach out and access the best thinking to solve a problem — whether within my company or a larger community.

How can our readers further follow your work?

Folks can follow me on LinkedIn where I regularly share content on sales enablement and digital transformation.

Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!

About the Interviewer: Cynthia Corsetti is an esteemed executive coach with over two decades in corporate leadership and 11 years in executive coaching. Author of the upcoming book, “Dark Drivers,” she guides high-performing professionals and Fortune 500 firms to recognize and manage underlying influences affecting their leadership. Beyond individual coaching, Cynthia offers a 6-month executive transition program and partners with organizations to nurture the next wave of leadership excellence.