Kaon Adds 11 Major Accounts to Its Enterprise Client Roster, Proving AR & VR Are Ready for B2B Marketing

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VR and AR Are Ready for The Enterprise

We are on the cusp of an immersive experience revolution. This revolution is already having a measurable impact on B2B enterprise sales and marketing, and the future will yield even more dramatic benefits as adoption grows.

Immersive experiences fuse real and digital worlds, allowing people to visualize and interact seamlessly with real and virtual objects and environments. (Augmented reality is the technology that “places” digital objects and data into a person’s view of the real world. Virtual reality is the technology that “places” a person into a digital environment. Mixed reality is the term that has come to mean the technology that uses some aspects of both augmented reality and virtual reality.]

Where are we in this revolution? First a “reality” check – while a lot of attention is focused on these technologies, it is clear that in both the B2B and B2C marketing and sales domains, neither AR nor VR will be used as a standalone experience. These techniques will be components of, or complements to a broader landscape of customer experience solutions. Almost every AR or VR experience will, in the long term, become a “feature” of how customers experience products and solutions when they are in the consideration (buying) phase and, to a large extent, in the implementation, deployment, and support part of a solution’s lifecycle.

This prediction is already being realized as more and more companies start to use AR and VR at relevant and meaningful stages of their customer lifecycle journeys. Yes, there remains much work to do to fully realize the potential of these technologies, but early adopters are already proving how much better their prospects and customers understand the value of complex products and solutions after engaging with these experiences.

Cisco Live Augmented Reality with Kaon AR

B2B sales and marketing teams have recognized what science has been teaching us for a while now, that the typical (slide) presentation is not effective in conveying the nuances of how a company’s complex solutions differ from, and are more valuable than competitive solutions. Leading global enterprises now understand that a broader set of sustained interactive customer experiences have become necessary. Because of the interactive and immersive nature of AR and VR, customers learn and remember more than twice as much as when they have listened to a sales presentation. As marketers and sales leaders shift away from presenting to customers towards delivering interactive experiences for customers, they are including AR and VR as components of this experience continuum.

3D Product Models in Virtual Reality with Kaon VR

This is not just theory, or academic speculation. My company, Kaon Interactive, has deployed interactive applications for 100 of the world’s most innovative global B2B enterprises, including augmented reality or virtual reality in almost every one of these applications. Innovators, such as Lenovo, Siemens Building Technology, Georgia Pacific, and many more have all asked Kaon to help develop and deploy customer-facing applications with AR and VR in sales meetings, trade shows, customer briefing centers, and even on the web.

What’s driving Kaon’s growth? Simply put, these experiences work. These applications, including AR and VR, have been proven to result in shorter sales cycles and reduced marketing expenses, because they are incredibly effective in helping prospects and customers understand the value of even the most complex solutions to their individual needs. The fact that the customer is actively engaged in navigating through the application themselves means that the most relevant message is being delivered to, and understood by each prospect in a distinctive, personalized way.

Both the software (ARKit and ARCore on standard mobile devices, for example) and the hardware (untethered VR headsets) for AR and VR are evolving rapidly, and these improvements are enabling even more use-cases for B2B sales and marketing. As with all technologies, these foundational improvements will create opportunities for companies to leverage these innovations in ways we can’t yet imagine. But we do know that the day will come (sooner than most expect) when AR and VR will be features and capabilities of most sales and marketing experiences, used naturally when and where they are appropriate and effective.

The revolution is already underway – experience it for yourself.

 

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Press Release: Kaon Interactive Adds 11 Major Accounts to its Enterprise Client Roster

Kaon Interactive, the leading provider of 3D marketing and sales applications for global B2B brands, is poised for significant global user growth in 2018 with the recent addition of 11 major new clients. Kaon’s transformative applications allow B2B companies to more effectively communicate a product or service’s differentiated value to prospects through interactive experiences across the buyers’ journey. These solutions, in turn, help to drive increased sales and reduced marketing costs.

Kaon Buyers Journey

The most recent additions to Kaon’s client roster join a pre-eminent list of visionary Fortune 500 clients such as Cisco Systems, Dell EMC, Thermo Fisher Scientific, and GE. Each of these companies has asked Kaon to create, deploy and maintain a diverse range of advanced digital solutions that will include virtual 3D product tours, interactive storytelling and AR/VR applications. These innovative companies include:

  • Lenovo – manufactures enterprise PCs, tablet computers, smartphones, workstations, servers, electronic storage devices, IT management software, and smart televisions
  • Siemens Building Technology – provides automation technologies and services for commercial, industrial, and public buildings and infrastructures
  • Ricoh – multi-national imaging and electronics company
  • Bruker – manufacturer of scientific instruments for molecular and materials research, as well as for industrial and applied analysis
  • Akamai – content delivery network and cloud services provider
  • Georgia Pacific – one of the world’s leading makers of tissue, pulp, paper, packaging, building products and related chemicals
  • Mellanox – leading supplier of end-to-end InfiniBand and Ethernet interconnect solutions and services for servers and storage
  • Hexagon Positioning Intelligence – providing accurate positioning and correction solutions worldwide for land, air or sea

Year-over-year, Kaon Interactive has seen a double-digit percent increase in sales, a 122 percent increase in average weekly users of its interactive applications and a 37 percent increase in the number of 3D virtual product model interactions per week.

“Ever since we have expanded our platform to include Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality, we have seen accelerated adoption of our technologies by global B2B companies” said Gavin Finn, CEO & President of Kaon Interactive. “The value of Kaon’s investment in technology and creative UX design has been significant for these companies. We are pleased to be working alongside the biggest names in the telecommunications, industrial and life science industries, to help them effectively communicate their unique value differentiation to customers and prospects, positively affecting their bottom lines.”

Kaon Interactive’s applications are uniquely beneficial because they are created once and can be deployed everywhere. Currently available on devices running iOS, Android, MacOS, and Windows, Kaon Interactive’s solutions are used by sales teams and marketers in nearly 40 countries.

For more information, or to contact us about adding interactive content into your marketing mix, visit www.kaon.com.

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How to Solve the Top 5 Challenges of B2B Sales with Marketing

This article originally appeared on Entrepreneur.com (July 18, 2018).

Considering that the major portion of a buyer’s journey takes place without his or her knowledge, salespeople have to rise above a long list of challenges, regardless of their industry. Competition is fierce, and organizations are finding that their salespeople are unable to tell a compelling enough value story to set themselves apart.

If those salespeople’s portfolios are complex, the challenge may even become insurmountable.

So, how can sales teams rise above? What does it take to stand out from the crowd and leave a memorable impression? Today’s sales teams need a strategy, strong communications and up-to-date technology.

With the right strategy, a salesperson can act with a plan: communicating product value and differentiation clearly and concisely. Cutting-edge technology allows the sales professional to convey innovation and create a lasting memorable engagement. With this winning combination of strategy, communication and technology, sales teams can separate themselves from the competition and close more deals.

Here are five specific challenges that today’s sales teams face and how alignment with their company’s marketing team can help them meet those challenges.

1. Communicating value

Salespeople need to be experts at highlighting product features and benefits, but they often fail to communicate the value, which is equally, if not more, important.

Here’s where the sales department needs marketing’s help; salespeople need to put themselves in the position of their prospect and be able to answer their crucial questions: Why should this product or service matter? How will it help prospects do their jobs better? If salespeople can’t distill complex, competitive product and solution information into concise and articulate value propositions, they will not be effective.

In 2017, Sirius Decisions reported that the number one challenge for B2B salespeople was (and still is) “their inability to communicate value differentiation.” Marketers must turn toward interactive applications that aid in telling a complex story to help sales deliver these value propositions to prospects. These applications provide a vehicle for deeper sales conversations, which uncover prospects’ hidden needs and how the product or service in question can meet those needs.

Marketers must look to solutions that aid in telling a complex story to help sales deliver these value propositions to prospects. For example, interactive applications can provide a vehicle for deeper sales conversations, which uncover prospects’ hidden needs and how the product or service in question can meet those needs.

Siemens Building Technology recently earned a Communicator Award for its interactive application, which offers actionable insights and information to help customers understand the benefits of smart buildings. Software companies and digital agencies are both great resources for organizations seeking to develop an interactive application as part of their customer engagement strategy.

2. Showing instead of telling

A Chinese proverb states: “If you tell me, I will forget; If you show me, I will remember; If you involve me, I will understand.”

This is especially true in the sales industry. A verbal explanation of a product or service is likely to fall on deaf ears. However, by showing and taking things one step further, where you involve a prospect, you are likely to see rates of retention and action (a sale) increase.

Technological innovations, like augmented and virtual reality, for example, do just that — these advancements are inviting a prospect to experience a product or service. Of course, visualizing a digital solution is one thing, but interacting with it to solve a real business or technical challenge is something different entirely.

If prospects are involved and actively participate in the sales experience, they remember not only who you are but what you can do for them. Therefore, marketers — such as those at Cisco — are building immersive environments that use visuals, animations and interactivity to create a multi-sensory experience, resulting in highly engaged prospects with high memory retention rates. Cisco was able to create a highly memorable, engaging product experience at Cisco Live without shipping any products. The company used augmented reality in conjunction with its interactive 3D product catalog to show products to prospects and customers, without a sales person or product specialist present.

 3. Understanding multi-buyers’ needs

Consumers, whether B2C or B2B, are the target of myriad advertisements and sales tactics. So, if you’re in sales, understanding exactly who your buyers are, what their needs are and how your offering can allow you to tailor a personalized pitch to multiple buyers, all in the same room.

Listing product details is never going to close the sale; rather, you need to have an authentic conversation — listening and adjusting your pitch according to the varying decision-makers in the room. This is what communicates your value, builds your credibility and inevitably closes deals.

For example, Baker Hughes, a GE Company, wanted to change the way it was selling, moving from product seller to value storyteller. To address the problem, Baker Hughes’s marketing team implemented an interactive digital application to let salespeople navigate eight value stories that directly addressed numerous customers’ needs and challenges.

You can do the same: Put yourself in your buyers’ shoes to identify with their needs.

4. Accessing the latest technology

In today’s technology-driven world, there are an overwhelming number of tools to help salespeople close deals. Cloud technology, CRM systems, data analytics tools, web content management and sales software exist to make the job easier.

Machine learning, artificial intelligence, content distribution systems, augmented reality and virtual reality are also out there and becoming more widespread because of their accessibility, interactivity and effectiveness.

Take Wayfair, for example. In September, the retailer rolled out its augmented reality app functionality, allowing customers to place virtual furniture in their homes. However, companies need to prioritize their technology stacks in a way that will align with both sales’ and marketing’s needs and goals.

5. Connecting on an emotional level

Establishing and building emotional connections with prospects transcends traditional sales and marketing relationships. When prospects have the ability to immerse themselves in a solution and fully explore a product themselves, they develop deeper understanding and retention, creating an emotional connection.

Building engaging, educational and interactive experiences has been proven to create 2x more conversations than passive content. And while enhancing conversations around specific personas falls under marketing’s purview, the ability to successfully deliver those experiences to prospects is the job of the sales team.

That’s why the culmination of all of the challenges mentioned above needs to be solved by marketing and sales working together to create a deep breakdown of each buyer persona.

Whatever the challenges, there are solutions to solve them. With the right combination of strategy, communication and technology, salespeople will be able to develop meaningful dialogue with prospects, accelerate the sales cycle and close more deals.

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