In five years, it’s projected that there will be more than 33 billion Internet-connected devices on earth – that’s about 4.3 devices for every person! These devices will connect people on social networks, appliances in our homes, cars on our streets and smart grids in our cities.
All of these connected devices drive huge volumes of data and transform how people can engage with each other, from how doctors engage with patients to how businesses engage with customers.
To harness this tsunami of data for competitive advantage, organizations are inventing new ways to apply technology. In the process, three key requirements for success have emerged:
Insights provide the complete picture
Insights are critical in any endeavor. If you don’t have a complete picture of a given situation, it’s like operating with your hands tied behind your back. In today’s digital economy, analytics deliver the essential insights.
Analytics show exactly how much energy we use in our homes per individual appliance, time-of-usage and the specific power source. Analytics can show retailers precisely how much inventory they have remaining with up to 99 percent accuracy, reducing out-of-stock situations and shrinkage. And analytics give businesses insight into customer behaviors.
Organizations need a complete buyer picture to operate successfully in the connected age. With on-demand access to the Internet and social media, customers have more knowledge about companies, products and services. This requires a new approach to engage with customers who are further along in the buyer process. Real-time insights delivered through powerful analytics give businesses a more comprehensive picture of the customer and show where they are in the buyer journey.
Personalization transforms engagement
Forrester Research finds that nearly 80 percent of executive buyers say sales reps don’t understand their issues. Armed with insights, organizations can tailor interactions. According to Aberdeen Group, nearly half of best-in-class companies personalize the customer experience. To be most effective in the connected age, engagement must be personalized.
Analytics provide the depth of knowledge needed to deliver that personalization. Emerging sales analytics tools give deep insight into customer behaviors, so organizations can see exactly where a buyer is in the customer journey. They can see what page of a proposal has been viewed and how long, so they can customize follow-up to meet a prospect’s specific interests.
Automated processes increase agility
Organizations that combine real-time insights with automated processes can achieve enormous productivity gains, increasing their agility in areas where they can deliver the biggest benefit to their business. Doctors that leverage Google Glass to record their appointments, for example, don’t need to spend time taking notes and can instead focus their full attention on patient care.
Inside sales reps can write up to 30-40 emails per day. Sales teams that automate email processes, using email templates or group emails, have more time to spend engaging with customers rather than cutting and pasting or rewriting emails.
Organizations that leverage both analytics and automation can react more quickly to:
- Address problems as they occur
- Respond to their customers at their moment of need
- Move faster than the competition
The biggest opportunity in the connected age lies in its ability to strengthen customer relationships. With real-time insights, businesses can provide a more personalized experience and respond faster to customer needs. Businesses can deliver more value, improving existing processes and enhancing customer engagement.
Suresh Balasubramanian is CEO for LiveHive, Inc., whose sales acceleration platform automates sales follow-up to increase buyer engagement insights that power repeatable sales processes. Suresh is a seasoned software industry executive with more than 20 years of operations and senior management experience. Before LiveHive, Suresh served as CEO for Armor5, and GM worldwide at Adobe Software. You can reach Suresh at email@example.com and follow on Twitter.