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Meet the Internet of Customers

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The combination of the Internet, social media, mobile CRM, analytics and collaboration allows sales people to identify new opportunities, engage earlier and share relevant content in order to make a sale, says QUINTON PIENAAR.

There is a huge shift occurring in the world of buying and selling. Customers and prospects have been practicing ‘connected buying’ for years, but too many salespeople, at too many companies, are failing to use the same strategies and resources that buyers have become experts in. But how can getting connected change the way you sell and what does ‘connected selling’ even look like?

Today everything is connected. There are 4,5 billion social connections alone on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. By 2017 there will be 5 billion smart phones and 50 billion connected products. This is what we call the Internet of customers, which was made possible by the cloud.

What this means for sales is that customers have changed.  They don’t want to be cold called, they do research before they contact vendors and they are having conversations that don’t include sales people.  The brute-force approach to selling – battering away at the customer’s defences until they crumble – may have worked in the past, but it doesn’t work anymore.

In South Africa there are too many companies that are stuck in the past or aptly ‘disconnected’: These people struggle to fill their pipelines and don’t have effective lead management, the lead quality is poor and it lacks insight from social media. According to Salesforce.com, 79% of marketing leads are not pursued and sales people waste a significant amount of time and effort on fruitless searches. An estimated 68% of sales reps spend time on everything but selling. Most often, 30% of their time is searching for the data they need and never find.

At the end of the day, these sales people do not know to whom they are selling or who the key decision makers are. Often prospects know more about the sales person than they know about their products. This leads to 60% of deals forecasted incorrectly and the use of the wrong systems. On premises solutions are often slow and costly and more often than not, there is more than one customer database, which can only lead to trouble.

For these disconnected, it is time to get connected. Connected selling is informed selling. The combination of the Internet, social media, mobile CRM, analytics and collaboration leads to invaluable insight. It helps sales people to identify new opportunities, engage earlier, share relevant content, use everything they know to collaborate and close the deal.

It is an evolutionary leap.  It is called connected selling.

* Quinton Pienaar, CEO of Agilitude, a Salesforce.com reseller. 

* Follow Gadget on Twitter on @GadgetZA

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Now download a bank account

Absa has introduced an end-to-end account opening for new customers, through the Absa Banking App, which can be downloaded from the Android and Apple app stores. This follows the launch of the world first ChatBanking on WhatsApp service.

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This “download your account” feature enables new customers to Absa, to open a Cheque account, order their card and start transacting on the Absa Banking App, all within minutes, from anywhere and at any time, by downloading it from the App stores.

“Overall, this new capability is not only expected to enhance the customer’s digital experience, but we expect to leverage this in our branches, bringing digital experiences to the branch environment and making it easier for our customers to join and bank with us regardless of where they may be,” says Aupa Monyatsi, Managing Executive for Virtual Channels at Absa Retail & Business Banking.

“With this innovation comes the need to ensure that the security of our customers is at the heart of our digital experience, this is why the digital onboarding experience for this feature includes a high-quality facial matching check with the Department of Home Affairs to verify the customer’s identity, ensuring that we have the most up to date information of our clients. Security is supremely important for us.”

The new version of the Absa Banking App is now available in the Apple and Android App stores, and anyone with a South African ID can become an Absa customer, by following these simple steps:

  1. Download the Absa App
  2. Choose the account you would like to open
  3. Tell us who you are
  4. To keep you safe, we will verify your cell phone number
  5. Take a selfie, and we will do facial matching with the Department of Home Affairs to confirm you are who you say you are
  6. Tell us where you live
  7. Let us know what you do for a living and your income
  8. Click Apply.

 

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How we use phones to avoid human contact

A recent study by Kaspersky Lab has found that 75% of people pick up their connected device to avoid conversing with another human being.

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Connected devices are becoming essential to keeping people in contact with each other, but for many they are also a much-needed comfort blanket in a variety of social situations when they do not want to interact with others. A recent survey from Kaspersky Lab has confirmed this trend in behaviour after three-quarters of people (75%) admitted they use a device to pretend to be busy when they don’t want to talk to someone else, showing the importance of keeping connected devices protected under all circumstances. 

Imagine you’ve arrived at a bar and you’re waiting for your date. The bar is busy, and people are chatting all around you. What do you do now? Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know? Grab your phone from your pocket or handbag until your date arrives to keep yourself busy? Why talk to humans or even make eye-contact with someone else when you can stare at your connected device instead?

The truth is, our use of devices is making it much easier to avoid small talk or even be polite to those around us, and new Kaspersky Lab research has found that 72% of people use one when they do not know what to do in a social situation. They are also the ‘go-to’ distraction for people even when they aren’t trying to look busy or avoid someone’s eye. 46% of people admit to using a device just to kill time every day and 44% use it as a daily distraction.

In addition to just being a distraction, devices are also a lifeline to those who would rather not talk directly to another person in day-to-day situations, to complete essential tasks. In fact, nearly a third (31%) of people would prefer to carry out tasks such as ordering a taxi or finding directions to where they need to go via a website and an app, because they find it an easier experience than speaking with another person.

Whether they are helping us avoid direct contact or filling a void in our daily lives, our constant reliance on devices has become a cause for panic when they become unusable. A third (34%) of people worry that they will not be able to entertain themselves if they cannot access a connected device. 12% are even concerned that they won’t be able to pretend to be busy if their device is out of action.

Dmitry Aleshin, VP for Product Marketing, Kaspersky Lab said, “The reliance on connected devices is impacting us in more ways than we could have ever expected. There is no doubt that being connected gives us the freedom to make modern life easier, but devices are also vital to help people get through different and difficult social situations. No matter what your ‘connection crutch’ is, it is essential to make sure your device is online and available when you need it most.”

To ensure your device lifeline is always there and in top health – no matter what the reason or situation – Kaspersky Security Cloud keeps your connection safe and secure:

·         I want to use my device while waiting for a friend – is it secure to access the bar’s Wi-Fi?

With Kaspersky Security Cloud, devices are protected against network threats, even if the user needs to use insecure public Wi-Fi hotspots. This is done through transferring data via an encrypted channel to ensure personal data safety, so users’ devices are protected on any connection.

·         Oh no! I’m bored but my phone’s battery is getting low – what am I going to do?

Users can track their battery level thanks to a countdown of how many minutes are left until their device shuts down in the Kaspersky Security Cloud interface. There is also a wide-range of portable power supplies available to keep device batteries charged while on-the-go.

·         I’ve lost my phone! How will I keep myself entertained now?

Should the unthinkable happen and you lose or have your phone stolen, Kaspersky Security Cloud can track and protect your device from data breaches, for complete peace of mind. Remote lock and locate features ensure your device remains secure until you are reunited.

 

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