Even when they’re trying to be their most proactive and thoughtful, the best sales professionals have often had to guess or use their instincts about when their most loyal customers might want (or need) to hear from them again. Along with many other ripple effects it will cause in our daily lives, the Internet of Things could eliminate such guesswork for good.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has been a buzzword in the technology space for some time, but only in the last few years have “smart cities” and even “smart homes” started to enter mainstream vocabulary. All these terms generally refer to the growing increase of sensors and other embedded technologies into walls, floors and everyday objects like thermostats and lighting systems. As online connectivity becomes more pervasive, it opens up some very futuristic possibilities of doors that lock themselves when we leave an office, or pillboxes that remind us to take our medications.
For sales professionals, this also represents an entirely new wave of data about customers that can be harnessed to drive more revenue opportunities, while improving customer service. Here are just a few of the examples:
Replacing Before Repairing: Customers are probably most likely to call their rep when products break and they need a new model in order to keep their business functioning normally. The IoT will allow companies to more easily monitor when equipment starts to age or show signs of wear, allowing sales teams to reach out in advance of any potential issues. Some vertical markets where this may happen include everything from home services, to farming and the transportation sector.
In its recently published IoT report, the Information Technology Association of Canada (ITAC) suggests taking advantage of increased connectivity will become a hallmark of our most successful firms.
“The roll-out of the IoT will also dramatically improve Canada's economy by helping our companies become more competitive. After all, the IoT was envisaged as solving specific business problems in critical business verticals and functions,” ITAC said. “Canada as a whole will be benefit from its positive effects on the operations of companies large and small – virtually all of which will see ways to take advantage of IoT-based capabilities.”
Upselling Based On Insight: There can be a very brief window of opportunity where sales reps can encourage customers to spend more, but the IoT can make sure they don’t miss it. Usage data about how buildings are maintained, for instance, could prompt an insurance firm to offer clients some options about better coverage for commercial assets. This could be one of the reasons why IDC Canada has named insurance as one of the main markets for Internet of Things opportunities, along with manufacturing and health care.
Selling What’s Actually In Stock: There’s no better way to irritate customers than having to tell them something they want to order is no longer available. As more warehouses and distribution centres get equipped with sensor technology, call centres and other sales teams will have more accurate information about their organization’s inventory, as well as when items are most likely to be shipped and arrive.
“Canada has all the ingredients to become a global leader in both the development and adoption of the next generation of IoT services,” the Huffington Post recently said. “We've built world-leading infrastructure including ubiquitous telecom networks with ample bandwidth that enables us to communicate quickly and efficiently from coast to coast.”
Now is the time for sales pros to take advantage of the capabilities the Internet of Things offers.
Read about Salesforce’s recently-launched IoT Cloud, powered by Thunder or view a demo to understand how to get started.