Why Industry 4.0 Technology Sales Cycles Are So Long
The fourth industrial revolution is here right now. Factories that have successfully transitioned to Industry 4.0 are already reaping its rewards. They are managing increased product quality and productivity, reduced labor costs and occupational risks, and a massive rise in profits.
However, unlike the adopters of I4.0-enabled products, their manufacturers are facing one massive problem: stubbornly long sales cycles. They are finding it impossible to reduce the time between their first contact with the client and the closing of the deal.
This has made many of them worried – and rightly so. A drawn-out sales process prevents the manufacturer from chasing other leads and risks the client losing interest in the product. It also gives the competitors the opportunity to jump in and scupper the deal.
In this article, we will explain why the Industry 4.0 technology sales cycles are so long. We’ll also provide you with a solid to speed up the sales process. You might want to act on it if you intend to sidestep the abovementioned drawbacks of a drawn-out sales process.
Why Industry 4.0 Technology Sales Cycles Are So Long?
Industry 4.0-enabled products and services are marked by increasing complexity, a wide array of technological specifications, and capability for deeper connectivity. This increases the number of stakeholders involved in the buying/selling process. Let’s illustrate this point with an example.
Imagine that you’re trying to sell an Industry 4.0-enabled smart lighting system to a building owner. The system must be incorporated within the building’s HVAC, fire, and security systems (among others), meaning that it may need to be redesigned to become ready for installation.
This means the sales team has to make a commitment that the system will be reconfigured. One which they can only make after talking to their IT teams, integrators as well as any other team involved in designing (and implementing) the smart lighting system. That’s not all.
Provided some components of the smart lighting system are sourced from suppliers (as is often the case), the sales team will have to discuss the proposed changes with the suppliers too. Only then they’d be able to commit to a redesign. All these discussions, as you might guess, will draw out the sales cycle.
Bigger network of providers
Industry 4.0-enabled smart systems do not operate in isolation. They rely on the combination of Big Data, the Internet of Things (IoT), and many more technologies to deliver the promised benefits of increase in productivity, reduction in labor growth, and an enhancement in revenue growth.
This requires the manufacturer to ensure that:
either their systems can be incorporated with or incorporated into the systems of other complementary service providers or
b) their systems are supported by other complementary service providers’ systems.
To understand what this point means, recall the example of the smart lighting system. For its successful installation and seamless working, its manufacturer has to coordinate with the building’s architects, builders, HVAC providers, and others if necessary.
All these providers will have a seat at the table when the customer would be discussing the modalities of the sale agreement with the sales team. They might offer their input regarding how the proposed installation should go and how the smart lighting system could be integrated with the building’s systems.
New products and services
Firms selling smart, connected products know that the data generated by their products can end up becoming a product in its own right too. This realization has opened up new monetization opportunities in which money can be made by selling data analyses.
Customers who are switching to smart systems are aware of this opportunity. The issue for them is that they must be able to analyze the data in a way that leads to valuable insights that can then drive action for the data’s purchaser. That’s where sales teams come in.
As they sell more and more data-based solutions, sales teams must understand their customer’s needs clearly. They then have to coordinate with their own engineering team to identify the technical performance possibilities of the data-based solutions.
They’d then need to consult with their analytics teams to get product, customer and operations insights based on new design changes. The sales team would then take all this information to the finance team to understand the price they should charge for their solution.
Opportunities in aftersales support
Manufacturers of traditional equipment don’t bother about providing aftersales support. That’s because they don’t have any idea of how or how much or even when their clients are using their product. Industry 4.0, however, is here to change all that.
The same way the websites we visit can track our location, shopping patterns, and how we make our purchasing decisions. Manufacturers of Industry 4.0-enabled products also have access to priceless post-sale data about every piece of equipment they sell.
This gives them a unique opportunity to provide something traditional equipment manufacturers cannot: aftersales support. The manufacturers thus have every reason to discuss the modalities of the aftersales support with the customer, a process that also leads to the lengthening of the buying process.