Interactive technology and self-service in B2B environments are no longer novel. Instead, as companies seek to continually improve efficiencies, they’re quickly becoming the new normal. Businesses are increasingly crossing international boundaries and time zones to set up their supply lines, inventories, and shipments, so the trend toward interactive tech is only likely to gain more ground.
In fact, McKinsey Research clearly shows that an increasing number of people prefer this approach to B2B commerce. Buyers and sellers alike benefit from the increased speed and accuracy of digital commerce. What’s more, the shared belief in the efficacy of online transactions is growing in every market. Businesses see digital commerce as a means of increasing engagement, not diminishing it.
Increased traffic requires new frameworks and infrastructure. Kaon Interactive is a leading interactive sales and marketing platform for B2B brands interested in educating and engaging customers during the sales process. Kaon sees the digital realm as a means to deepen customer profiles and increase loyalty.
Recently, Kaon CEO Gavin Finn answered some common questions about the role of interactive technology in an increasingly remote sales ecosystem.
How has a digital-first strategy changed the B2B sales process during the pandemic?
Gavin Finn: The key to success in digital-first strategies is active customer engagement where the differentiated value of a brand’s solutions is the focus of the process.
This contrasts with traditional customer engagement practices that focus on the sales representative’s interpersonal skills or product expertise. Those soft skills will always be needed, but we also need to figure out ways to translate them into the digital realm.
In the world of B2B sales, the sales funnel dynamic has shifted 180 degrees. Time has changed the sales funnel dynamic from a sales-led, “showing and telling” process to a customer-led “discovering and learning” process. The control of the process is where we find the most dramatic change. That’s a powerful thing. At the same time, it’s understandably frightening for B2B sales teams. Will there be a place for human sales reps in the brave new digital world? The answer is “Of course.”
When companies turn to interactive tech tools to enhance their sales process, what are some of the applications?
GF: Visually interactive applications are highly effective at providing a simple way of conveying a complex story. Where sales teams have acted upon this insight, it results in a much better understanding of the key value propositions and also promotes excellent knowledge retention.
These highly engaging applications are typically used to demonstrate how a company’s products, services, and solutions solve the customer’s specific problems. They can include immersive digital representations of a factory, hospital, sports stadium, office complex — or anything, really — in order to show how solutions deliver value in the customer’s environment.
People can also use immersive interfaces to explore and experience 3D product tours. Instead of looking at physical products, customers and prospects can delve into the details of how the products actually work. More importantly, these interfaces show why they suit the customer’s needs better. They do so by allowing customers to form a more complete mental picture of what the company is offering.
What are some of the ways these advanced tools change the effectiveness of the sales process in complex B2B transactions?
GF: When customers interact with these applications on their own, as opposed to watching a sales demo or video, they are much more focused. Simply by virtue of being in control of the process, a potential customer’s active involvement results in less distraction. According to cognitive science research, this focus allows them to learn more effectively and remember approximately four times more than they would if they watched a slide presentation or video.
There are three science-validated reasons these experiences are more effective.
For one, customers are interacting in a multi-sensory manner by touching the mobile device screen or moving the mouse. Secondly, they are controlling the process of information transfer. This ensures that what they are learning is relevant to them and their problem. Third, the process is engaging and fun, which creates an emotional connection.
Cognitive research has shown that strong synaptic links are formed in the brain when there is multi-sensory engagement. Additionally, these links are also formed through relevant knowledge transfer and emotional connection. The result is a better understanding and higher retention.
For transforming the sales funnel, interactive technology brings a lot to the table. It plays a vital role in enhancing user experience, improves engagement, and helps users recall product details. Additionally, immersive interfaces allow customers and prospects to drive their own experience, making the remote product and brand interactions much more fruitful.
Customers continue to show a preference for both remote and self-service interactions. Likewise, e-commerce brands will have to adapt and utilize these technologies as well as others. This will help brands ensure that they remain competitive and succeed in the ever-evolving retail space. For anyone who still has doubts, Kaon Interactive has already made a strong, data-backed case for this.
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