Is There Technology in Your Sales Process?
You've probably heard a lot of people say that sales has changed in the last 15 years. If you're in sales, you probably have experienced it firsthand.
Maybe you have trouble articulating what has changed. So let me give you an analogy.
A few weekends ago, I was at the pool with my kids. I decided that I would play little trick on my son, so I asked him to grab a towel and play tug-of-war. I carefully positioned him with his back to the pool and we started to play. He thought he had the upper hand... until I let go of the towel and he went flailing backwards into the pool, towel and all.
The Sales "Tug of War"
15 to 20 years ago, your sales rep played tug of war with the prospect because the prospect had no choice. Your sales rep had a lot of power in that tug of war battle. There wasn't much information freely available to the prospect. Your sales person was in control and the gatekeeper in the relationship. Sales might've been more reliable and predictable back then, because your organization was in control.
In the last 10 years, your customer "let go of the towel," sending your sales person falling backwards uncontrollably.
Sadly, most organizations still haven't figured this out and are using the same old techniques to try to sell. It's why so many sales reps miss their targets. Sales activity just isn't good enough anymore.
Did you know that just recently, millennials became the largest generation in the workforce? Do you think they buy like the baby boomer generation?
Millennials grew up with technology and know that they can find information almost anywhere. They expect to find product spec sheets, detailed information and pricing online, and are frustrated when they don't. They want to research online and skip the salesperson's pushy tactics.
Don't believe me?
- Millennials are turning primarily to digital channels in the initial phases of researching new products and services (search engines, vendor websites and social media).
- Millennials’ leading choices of social channels to research B2B products and services are Facebook and YouTube.
- More than one-third of millennials use Glassdoor to assess company reviews and decide whether or not to engage vendors.
- Millennials rate video content as their most preferred channel to research B2B products and services.
This cultural shift (from working with a sales rep as a first point of contact to researching independently) is forcing companies to lead with technological solutions to bring the sales and prospect relationship back into equilibrium.
Do you know the technology that is available to your sales team today?
If you've seen sales slump and sales reps underperform, you've likely been searching for a solution. But you might not be aware of technological solutions that connect to your website to give you intelligence that you've never had before.
Rather than trying to force the conversation through a sales person, companies are starting to meet customers and prospects where they are... on your company website.
This does not bode well for many B2B companies (especially manufacturing companies) that haven't updated their websites in a half-decade or more. Your company website is more important than ever, and here's why. Your company website can collect information that you never knew existed about your sales prospects and can bring the prospect/sales person relationship into equilibrium again.
Take a look at the kinds of "digital body language" that your sales team can collect when using your website as an intelligence gathering platform:
- A complete timeline of an named individual's journey from first awareness of your company to the sale and beyond.
- How a contact found your company.
- What web pages named individuals are visiting, including alerts to your sales rep when they visit pages they deem important to the sale.
- Lead scores based on web activity like email opens, email clicks, website visits, website page views, etc.
- Real-time notifications when a prospect opens an email a rep sends them
- Real-time notifications when a prospect browses a document your sales rep attaches to an email (and even see how long the document was open and how far the prospect read through the document).
If you look at the technology landscape today, you will see that dozens of software companies are creating applications to link up your website and a CRM like Salesforce. Sales is headed in that direction, like it or not.
At Whittington Consulting, we strongly believe that your company website should be linked up with a CRM via marketing automation software. It's only then that you are able to make a new sales channel available for your company. This shift has revolutionized corporate sales because it makes a new business channel available -- a channel that most companies previously did not have in their arsenal. You can open up a whole new revenue stream for your company.
China's Push Toward Excellence Delivers a Global Robotics Investment Opportunity
Written by: Jeremie Capron
China is on a mission to change its reputation from a manufacturer of cheap, mass-produced goods to a world leader in high quality manufacturing. If that surprises you, you’re not the only one.
For decades, China has been synonymous with the word cheap. But times are changing, and much of that change is reliant on the adoption of robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence, or RAAI (pronounced “ray”). For investors, this shift is driving a major opportunity to capture growth and returns rooted in China’s rapidly increasing demand for RAAI technologies.
You may have heard of ‘Made in China 2025,’ the strategy announced in 2015 by the central government aimed at remaking its industrial sector into a global leader in high-technology products and advanced manufacturing techniques. Unlike some public relations announcements, this one is much more than just a marketing tagline. Heavily subsidized by the Chinese government, the program is focused on generating major investments in automated manufacturing processes, also referred to as Industry 4.0 technologies, in an effort to drive a massive transformation across every sector of manufacturing. The program aims to overhaul the infrastructure of China’s manufacturing industry by not only driving down costs, but also—and perhaps most importantly—by improving the quality of everything it manufactures, from textiles to automobiles to electronic components.
Already, China has become what is arguably the most exciting robotics market in the world. The numbers speak for themselves. In 2016 alone, more than 87,000 robots were sold in the country, representing a year-over-year increase of 27%, according to the International Federation of Robotics. Last month’s World Robot Conference 2017 in Beijing brought together nearly 300 artificial intelligence (AI) specialists and representatives of over 150 robotics enterprises, making it one of the world’s largest robotics-focused conference in the world to date. That’s quite a transition for a country that wasn’t even on the map in the area of robotics only a decade ago.
As impressive as that may be, what’s even more exciting for anyone with an eye on the robotics industry is the fact that this growth represents only a tiny fraction of the potential for robotics penetration across China’s manufacturing facilities—and for investors in the companies that are delivering or are poised to deliver on the promise of RAAI-driven manufacturing advancements.
Despite its commitment to leverage the power of robotics, automation and AI to meet its aggressive ‘Made in China 2025’ goals, at the moment China has only 1 robot in place for every 250 manufacturing workers. Compare that to countries like Germany and Japan, where manufacturers utilize an average of one robot for every 30 human workers. Even if China were simply trying to catch up to other countries’ use of robotics, those numbers would signal immense near-term growth. But China is on a mission to do much more than achieve the status quo. The result? According to a recent report by the International Federation of Robotics (IFR), in 2019 as much as 40% of the worldwide market volume of industrial robots could be sold in China alone.
To understand how the country can support such grand growth, just take a look at where and why robotics is being applied today. While the automotive sector has historically been the largest buyer of robots, China’s strategy reaches far and wide to include a wide variety of future-oriented manufacturing processes and industries.
Electronics is a key example. In fact, the electrical and electronics industry surpassed the automotive industry as the top buyer of robotics in 2016, with sales up 75% to almost 30,000 units. Assemblers such as Foxconn rely on thousands of workers to assemble today’s new iPhones. Until recently, the assembly of these highly delicate components required a level of human dexterity that robots simply could not match, as well as human vision to help ensure accuracy and quality. But recent advancements in robotics are changing all that. Industrial robots already have the ability to handle many of the miniature components in today’s smart phones. Very soon, these robots are expected to have the skills to bolster the human workforce, significantly increasing manufacturing capacity. Newer, more dexterous industrial robots are expected to significantly reduce human error during the assembly process of even the most fragile components, including the recently announced OLED (organic light-emitting diode) screens that Samsung and Apple introduced on their latest mobile devices including the iPhone X. Advancements in computer vision are transforming how critical quality checks are performed on these and many other electronic devices. All of these innovations are coming together at just the right time for a country that is striving to create the world’s most advanced manufacturing climate.
Clearly, China’s trajectory in the area of RAAI is in hyper drive. For investors who are seeking a tool to leverage this opportunity in an intelligent and perhaps unexpected way, the ROBO Global Robotics & Automation Index may help. The ROBO Index already offers a vast exposure to China’s potential growth due to the depth and breadth of the robotics and automation supply chain. As China continues to improve its manufacturing processes to meet its 2025 initiative, every supplier across China’s far-reaching supply chains will benefit. Wherever they are located, suppliers of RAAI-related components—reduction gears, sensors, linear motion systems, controllers, and so much more—are bracing for spikes in demand as China pushes to turn its dream into a reality.
Today, around 13% of the revenues generated by the ROBO Global Index members are driven by China’s investments in robotics and automation. Tomorrow? It’s hard to say. But one thing is for certain: China’s commitment to improving the quality and cost-efficiency of its manufacturing facilities is showing no signs of slowing down—and its reliance on robotics, automation, and artificial intelligence is vital to its success.
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