Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Selling & the Industrial Internet of Things #IIoT in the OUTCOME Economy

Back in the day there was a heated debate  in certain selling circles about the difference between "retail/consumer" selling and  "industrial / service" selling.
By the end of the century this ‘difference’ was relabelled  into B2C and B2B.
But the evolution of business and selling’s role continues to change and adapt. In some senses Industrial and service selling has always followed certain aspects from the retail or consumer world. For example industrial selling adopted product branding some while after retail.
Industrial Internet of Things

The Industrial Internet of Things IIoT,  will contribute increasingly  to the benefits of improved efficiency of operations, lowering of costs, the generation of revenues and creating competitive differentiation that will play an increasing part of the twenty first century’s salesperson’s offer.

Where are you on your IIoT journey?

Professional Salespeople will become increasingly a part of a blended workforce working in ever closer collaboration with intelligent machines. 

Sales force control  and recording systems whether on  the cloud like or conventional computer systems, already have begun to show this integration  but it will increase in other parts of sales work from initial enquiries to order, from concept to completion.

More of the procedural  activity, particularly in commodity markets, will take over or be  delegated to digital labour such  as smart sensors, machines (e.g. robots) or intelligent systems that can do parts of the jobs that only humans used to do.

This is already apparent in hybrid industries  where the intersection between physical industries and digital technologies has already started to happen. (e.g. precision agriculture, digital manufacturing, medical robotics, smart transportation).
Sales has already understood the concept of added value through personalised  benefits but this will further evolve into quantifiable outcomes  for an outcome economy:
The Outcome Economy

This is the marketplace where businesses compete on their ability to deliver quantifiable results that matter to clients rather than just  the transactional selling products or services, e.g. energy saved, crop yield or machine uptime.

Delivering customer outcomes requires sellers to take on greater risks.  Managing such risks requires automated quantification capabilities made possible by the Industrial Internet.

There will be a further development of platforms (“technology” or “software” ), which is the digital layer that allows business partners to connect and interact from any applications or devices.
Through this technology platform, professional salespeople will play a part in the value network becoming part of what some are calling a digital ecosystem.

 Example industry platforms already present include  MyJohnDeere, Qualcomm Life’s 2net and GE’s Predix.

Photo of a table from Accenture on the Davos site

At the same time, Accenture’s  research participants  also point out a number of challenges that could potentially slow down the pace and increase the risks of adoption, which include  
  • security interoperability, 
  • data policies,
  • education and talent gaps.

Will you seize the IIoT day ? ( Carpe diem IIot)

To seize the opportunities, overcome key challenges and accelerate the Industrial Internet development, business, technology and government stakeholders will need to take immediate actions.
The Industrial Internet of Things will fundamentally rearrange entire supply chains from production all the way through to consumption.
 As such the role of open standards that help establish new partner ( selling-buying)  ecosystems will be critical for adoption of new technologies across different verticals. Not doubt there will IOS type standards on the horizon with accompanying auditing ( and concommitant revenues for the Standards Industry !)

IIoT will create opportunities for  sales professionals  who are equipped to cross sell  operations effectively across different silos in their clients' operations .

IIoT Challenges for Sales leadership

Sales Leadership seeking to adopt IIoT will first reorient their overall sales  strategy to take full advantage of the latest developments in the Industrial Internet.
They also  a need to identify their new ecosystem partners, and determine whether they should join a partner’s platforms or develop their own.

Those sales leaders  that  are new to the Industrial Internet would be wise to identify one or two relevant pathfinder applications that can be piloted within say a six month project period to create necessary momentum and learning.

Some critical factors in IIoT projects

All stakeholders will  need to work together in three important areas. Industries, governments and academia need to collaborate on long-term R andD to solve fundamental technology challenges:-

·         security,

·         interoperability

·         and management of systemic risks.

ROMI of IIoT ( Return on marekting investment)

They need to conduct joint lighthouse ( path seeking) projects to demonstrate the real benefits and raise the profile of the Industrial Internet in the market. They will also need to implement new training programmes, and provide policy incentives to employers and workers to encourage re-skilling for high-demand job categories

Photo of stats from the Accenture report on the Davos site.

In WEF workshops on IIOT  held in July 2014 included their conclusions areas of interest to the sales role.

• Over the long-term, new business models around products-as-a-service, pay-per-use models and monetization of data will emerge.

• Industry verticals will blur through shared relationships with customers, partners and data.

• The required education level will rise and necessary skill sets will shift. Demand for higher- skilled and higher-wage resources will increase.  

The Industrial Internet is still at an early stage, similar to where the Internet was in the late 1990s. the Accenture survey results underscore this point: the vast majority

88% of respondents say that they still do not fully understand its underlying business models and long-term implications to their industries

72% of respondents believe that the development of the Industrial Internet will be disruptive to their businesses and industries,

79% of respondents think those disruptions will occur within the next five years. These disruptions will manifest themselves in Phases 3 and 4 in the form of the outcome economy and an integrated human-machine workforce. 

Salespeople  will need to perform more specialized tasks earlier in their professions, which will require them to regularly update skills through informal or independent learning, such as participating in massive open online courses (MOOCs).

 Instead of one-off degrees and technical courses, educational institutions will need to develop platforms for continuous learning, collaborating with students, businesses and governments to produce contents relevant to valued skills.
Such training will also reduce the length of on boarding time for new employees.
 Accenture research reveals that 79% of organizations already use just-in-time and social learning to build skills quickly.

 For example, one can reasonably imagine a newly hired retail sales associate could be given a wearable intelligent assistant on the first day of the job. When a customer asks a question about a product, the tool would use automated speech recognition to detect verbal cues, and deliver relevant product information. This just-in-time delivery of information could enable the associate to learn as he is helping the customer.

Help those  adopters in Selling address market opportunities and risks.

 The Industrial Internet market is still in a formative stage.

So, many potential adopters  in Selling will need to develop a clearer picture of the landscape before they drive along it !

 It will be  important to share with them best practices, winning use cases and operational models with customers to get them started in their Industrial Internet journey. Salespeople will need  to employ a collaborative / partnership selling style. Both parties will need to assess 

  1. What benefits have been demonstrated so far?
  2.  What are critical barriers (e.g., IT/OT integration, security) that need to be overcome early in the process?
  3. What are lessons learned from past implementations?

Supplier salespeople will need to think, too, about the most effective ways to share early adopter experiences, such as by leveraging industry consortium like the Conferences at Learning Technologies, IIC or events like the IoT World Economic Forum.

Related links


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