Selling Industry 4.0

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Selling Industry 4.0

The new sales mind-set for connected products

The introduction of Industry 4.0 technologies is radically changing the types of products companies make, how they make them and how they sell them. Industry 4.0 brings smart, connected products, with increased capabilities and performance. These products, however, do not sell themselves easily, especially when they are relatively unknown. They require a different sales process than more traditional products to ensure all value is captured.

Combining digital with physical

The essence of Industry 4.0 is the leap from digital back to physical – from connected, digital technologies to actions in the physical world. An inability to articulate the benefits or capabilities of these smart products can lead to missed sales opportunities and, potentially, missed value for the client. So, how does Industry 4.0 change the sales relationship?

Many of the new products add value by integrating with other systems to provide deeper intelligence. This means that the sales process must begin much earlier in the customers’ planning process. It also means a more complex set of stakeholders is involved and that timeframes are longer. The nature of these products also means that sales teams need to talk to not only the client, but also to the IT teams, integrators, implementation teams and other third-party providers. It may also be wise to ‘sell’ the benefits to end users within the client’s organisation. Where the focus was previously on selling, it is now more on alleviating customer concerns, collaboration, and creating value.

Selling Industry 4.0

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After-market support as a product

Then there are the ‘new’ products for the sales teams to take into account. Equipment manufacturers sometimes see value ‘leakage’ when it comes to after-market support. This happens when third-party providers offer aftercare services for the manufacturer’s products. Industry 4.0-enabled products, and the data they produce, can help reclaim the relationship with the customer by keeping equipment within the service provision of the vendor, rather than a third-party. For example by understanding the state of the equipment and sending a notification when service is due. This establishes a relationship with the owner, even when the product changes hands.

Data based products and services

The vast amounts of data generated by the connected machines can also become products in their own rights. New monetisation opportunities can be created from selling additional analyses of data, for example. Many firms that are advanced in selling connected systems have seen a flip in their revenue models: the asset sale accounts for 20-40 percent of profit, and the services make up the rest. This suggests there is significant opportunity, but, again, can require a real change to what is being sold and how.

Update your sales approach

The above underlines the need for developing a sales force that can deliver state-of-the-art solutions. A sales force ‘new style’ must be able to adopt a new way of thinking and be willing to change its sales mindset to match the new types of products available. If this can be achieved, the opportunities are huge. Clients can be brought back into longer-term, higher-margin contracts, significantly enhancing the sales proposition and revenue streams. 

Our report Selling Industry 4.0: The new sales mindset for connected products can help you get started on your journey towards understanding the new sales dynamics in an Industry 4.0 world. Feel free to get in touch with our team below if you would like to discuss the opportunities Industry 4.0 offers to your organisation.

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