Next Channel of Engagement
Prospects continue to be hammered by sales people via e-mail, the phone, and social media. What will be the next channel of engagement that either does not exist or is leveraged on a limited basis today that will be the next wave of opportunity to get prospects attention in a personable manner?
For consumers an added channel of engagement is right now being developed in the form of Alexa and Google home. Alexa can interact with potential consumers to also obtain feedback collected and sent to participating uppliers regarding product and service needs, or potentially to provide feedback on a purchase relating customer satisfaction for the specific item purchased. You see the post sale survey responses from email, but Alexa could interact with the buyer to transcribe comments and provide then to the supplier or manufacturer directly.
I would suggest that where most sales people get off to a rocky start is in not offering enough value to the prospect they speak with initially. A great sales consultant, and that is what they should be possessed of expertise and knowledge, and an understanding that they must do a credible job of understanding the prospect's situation. Without assessing the prospect's driving priorities, and without an understanding of how the situation can be addressed by their solution, they are not effective. We teach situational appraisal, conversational strategy as the most straightforward way to engage a prospective customer, demonstrating that you as a sales person understand their situation, but the priorities and drivers behind any decision making that transpires on the purchase journey.
Another potential channel of engagement is right out of the science fiction novel stories. Case in point.
Buyers generally have access to information, to solutions and such, so much so that they can be easily thrown off what might be the best solution for their company. Some try to filter our the information to select from a shortlist of only a few solutions. During the initial stages of deciding on exploring something, they think they need to buy, they are able to uncover the internet offers endless sets of data, and information, that might match their unspecified needs. They may overlook what happens to be a more precise solution for their situation.
I propose to you that an Artificial Intelligence tool will be able to assess the situation and quickly respond to a set of requirements, which can be refined and prioritized on the fly, and that the AI tool will investigate ALL possible solutions, even the ones that the human buyers might not have considered, and assess the pros/cons, liabilities, and probable outcomes of success for the needs of the company on a quest to choose a solution. The AI tool can provide metrics, measure of success, case studies and testimonials for further investigation.
In short, using the AI tool will refine the solution to the point where a panel of internal buyers can quickly make decisions. All without a single discussion with sales, but offer recommendations of questions that need to be asked and answered and factored in of the solution providers engineers.
If you explore the uses of AI to solve problems, this one is facing nearly every company, regardless of size, that will determine the probable success or failure of a far reaching decision impacting a buyer's company. The AI tool will be the channel engagement, and most likely, the one that helps immensely with the desired outcomes of any critical or major procurement.
I think IOT enabled NFC will emerge as a hyper-personalized engagement channel. It will further solve the many to many problem that marketers face. It will take today's gelocation data to the next level by telling marketers in real/near real time what objects the customer is interacting with and allow marketers to respond specifically to that person through the customer's device (mobile, smartwatch, futuristically even brain interface).