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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Kaon Interactive Wins Communicator Awards for Siemens and Tecan Applications

Recognized for Engaging, Interactive Sales & Marketing Demonstrations

Kaon Interactive, the leading provider of 3D marketing and sales applications for global B2B brands, today announced that two of its interactive solutions have won the prestigious 24th Annual Communicator Awards. The Communicator Awards is the leading international awards program recognizing big ideas in marketing and communications. Founded over two decades ago, The Communicator Awards receive over 6,000 entries from companies and agencies of all sizes, making it one of the largest awards of its kind in the world.

Siemens Building Technologies: Communicator Award of Distinction, Integrated Campaign, B2B

Developed by Kaon Interactive, the ‘Building Technology’ application from Siemens is a disruptive sales and marketing storytelling app that dramatically improves the effectiveness and efficiency of complex solution storytelling using interactivity to build effective customer engagement. This application is used by Siemens customers and partners on Android tablets, iOS iPads, laptops, and large touch screens. The application effectively communicates relevant information to a wide variety of decision-makers and influencers involved in solving critical smart building challenges.

“There is growing demand to meet sustainability and energy efficiency mandates, create a greener footprint, and build greater intelligence and resilience into building systems,” stated Rich Cillessen, Head of Sales, Siemens Building Technologies. “The Siemens Building Technology application provides an interactive and engaging experience with actionable customer insights and information to help building owners, facility managers, contractors and architects understand how smart buildings can deliver these critical benefits. As a consequence of this enhanced understanding, they make better buying decisions.”

Kaon’s application for Siemens: https://w3.usa.siemens.com/buildingtechnologies/us/en/Pages/bt-app.aspx

Tecan: Communicator Award of Distinction, Digital, Interactive Marketing, Marketing-Sales

Tecan, a global provider of laboratory instruments and solutions in biopharmaceuticals, forensics and clinical diagnostics, required a more innovative and consistent way for their sales teams to effectively demonstrate or communicate the 1,000+ unique ways their Cavro® Omni Robot could be configured within a laboratory setting. In the past, when they brought the physical product to trade shows, Tecan could really only show one configuration, adding a layer of complexity to how they communicated their full product offering.

“We worked with Kaon Interactive to develop the Tecan Cavro® Omni Robot Configurator to put a fully interactive virtual 3D product (which looks and behaves exactly like the actual robot) into the hands of our sales representatives, partners and tradeshow booth staff using iPads and laptops. This allows every customer to customize the product, based on their specifications, prior to purchase,” said Joe Rotter, Vice President of Global Marketing at Tecan. “Kaon’s application has allowed us to better educate prospects and quickly move them through the sales funnel, from real-time personalized product configuration to immediately requesting a quote. It has significantly improved the process of how we sell!”

Kaon’s application for Tecan: https://apps.kaonadn.net/5463001/robot/index.html#;5

The Communicator Awards are judged and overseen by the Academy of Interactive and Visual Arts (AIVA), a 600+ member organization of leading professionals from various disciplines of the visual arts dedicated to embracing progress and the evolving nature of traditional and interactive media.

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Google, Kaon Interactive and Lenovo Disrupt Enterprise Sales and Marketing with Breakthrough Standalone Virtual Reality Headset Experience

 Trio will accelerate VR sales and marketing applications for Fortune 500 companies

Kaon Interactive, the leading provider of 3D marketing and sales applications for global B2B brands, announced that it is extending its commitment to drive virtual reality adoption in the enterprise with the Google Daydream VR standalone headset.

In January at CES 2018, Lenovo unveiled an innovative Daydream VR headset called the Lenovo Mirage™ Solo with Daydream™. A first for the Google Daydream platform, the Mirage Solo functions standalone, meaning that it doesn’t use a separate smartphone and isn’t tethered by cords or Bluetooth to a PC. At an affordable $400 price point, it will make immersive Kaon VR experiences (such as interactive virtual data centers, diagnostics laboratories and virtual 3D product tours) more accessible and seamless at trade shows, sales meetings and in briefing centers.

This is the first all-in-one with six-degree-of-freedom (6DOF) tracking, which makes a huge difference in the sense of immersion when viewing interactive, real-time VR. Other headsets offering 3DOF are designed for viewing 360-videos, but for truly interactive experiences, 6DOF is a requirement. The standalone headset opens up a world of possibilities for engaging trade show applications. By eliminating the PCs, tethers and external sensors, it becomes possible to outfit an event with dozens of immersive VR experiences for more prospects, increasing the VR experience’s ROI. This solution also makes VR applications for sales meetings feasible, since there is no physical hardware setup required.

“We are in awe of the work that Kaon is doing in the enterprise,” commented Gunjan Shah, North America Connected & Smart Devices GM at Lenovo. “They produce extremely compelling immersive storytelling solutions and interactive 3D product tours – which are deployed seamlessly in virtual reality on the Lenovo Mirage Solo – that are elevating customer engagement, increasing knowledge retention and helping B2B prospects and customers to truly understand competitive value differentiation.”

With the commercial availability of the Lenovo Mirage Solo last month, Kaon Interactive continues to lead the VR adoption race in the B2B space, with 40+ live enterprise Kaon VR applications (such as Cisco, IBM, GE, Siemens, Dell EMC, Abbott, BD), available to hundreds of thousands of customers, sales teams and channel partners globally.

“Both Google and Lenovo’s continuing breakthroughs in deploying virtual reality to mainstream devices have empowered our customers to connect with their prospects and customers on a deeper emotional level,” remarked Gavin Finn, President & CEO of Kaon Interactive. “Our partnerships with Google and Lenovo have truly disrupted the way that customers learn about products and solutions through the sales process. This has increased global user adoption of our innovative sales and marketing VR applications, resulting in customers who are passionate about what our solutions do for their business.”

To learn more about how Kaon VR can be used in business, visit www.kaon.com.

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