A great sales catalyst for organizations
Last week we focused on the steps that are necessary for developing a successful IoT strategy. Today we are going to explore how the Internet of Things will change the face of sales operations, ushering in an era of better-targeted campaigns and enhanced customer interactions – at least for those organizations willing to embrace it.
The first major advantage that the IoT affords sales professionals is the ability to create better strategies, tactics and an overall improved sales message. What do I mean by that? The idea behind the Internet of Things is that objects – consumer products, infrastructure etc. – will be able to collect data and share it among themselves and obviously with us. In this case, collecting the data that gets generated and applying intelligent analytics will allow organizations to elicit valuable answers from it, which will help to inform their sales approach. Think about it. We all like to hear what we want to hear, it’s human nature to seek confirmation.
Involving the IoT in the sales process can ensure that a company is able to position itself so that at all stages of the sales funnel a prospect is either met with the right content, speaks to the right person, or is presented with the right angle on an issue. Since prospects are by definition people who are expected to incur an expense in the reasonably near future, they are cautious and resent being coerced into a decision. As such, making them feel in control by speaking their language is vital to smoothing their path as much as possible and making certain they don’t get spooked before the deal is closed. If you are going to spend money, you would want to have things your way, wouldn’t you? Having customer-driven data on which to draw when deciding how best to communicate with customers is the surest way to hold their attention.
Studying the data to unlock key insights about their behavior will prove a game-changer. Additionally, access to live, high-quality insights will become a prime differentiator in the future. Indeed, on one side of the spectrum we will have the companies talking to a faceless crowd, their message undifferentiated. While on the other, there will be companies honing their strategy and serving highly targeted offers that resonate with the audience. I’ll let you choose which of the two groups consumers will flock to.
Another way the Internet of Things will aid sales is by transforming an organization’s upselling and cross-selling strategies and ensuring a much higher success rate for individual initiatives. All companies are aware of the necessity to try and upsell/cross-sell to customers. However, most times this is done with little or no regard for the client’s individuality. It is carried out as a blanket exercise, addressed at everyone and no one in particular. The IoT will change this by providing businesses with a body of knowledge that will inform the decision to approach someone with a proposal. For instance, this may be their past purchases, habits highlighted by a product’s sensors, or other relevant lifestyle information.
Now let’s say you are looking to buy a bathing suit. You’ve made up your mind and are ready to finish your purchase when the website (or shop assistant, if you are in a physical store) tells you about a fantastic discount they have on another article of clothing. If this is a traditional operation, you will probably be offered some old stock nobody else wanted, in which case you politely decline. If instead the store knows that you like to exercise regularly they may decide to offer you discounted gym wear, something you are statistically considerably more likely to buy. This simple scenario can apply to any industry not just retail, and for big purchases as well as insignificant ones. A quick example is the case of new parents deciding to get a new car. The up-selling opportunity here is vivid, with a more expensive but safer car often proving an irresistible temptation. All in all, the IoT promises to increase the effectiveness of upselling and cross-selling initiatives thanks to its ability to summon relevant background information on shoppers.
Finally, the last point I want to mention is the Internet of Things’ ability to increase your bottom line through the creation of new revenue streams. We’ve just mentioned how analyzing data can provide valuable, actionable insights that you can either base your strategy on, or inform your upselling/cross-selling offers with. Well, in those two scenarios leveraging the IoT serves to find solutions that one might say lie within the realm of the expected. The practices themselves are established within the organization, so the endeavor can be thought of as a honing exercise.
However, the IoT can also help to uncover insights that lead to entirely new ways of doing business. This is because we have never had this level of intimacy between consumer and product. Learning will become a two-way highway, with the product too starting to learn about their owner. Manufacturers will get detailed reports of how the public actually use their products. Service providers will be able to see whether their offer actually caters to their target audience’s needs. The world will witness an entirely new class of companies flourishing as a result of their ability to collect every bit of data about how humans behave and interact, which they will then monetize by creating memorable experiences for their customers. And it will all be backed by the Internet of Things.
This marks the end of our IoT series. I hope you enjoyed it, see you next week when we begin a discussion about the financial sector!