Heroku App
POSTED : June 16, 2014
BY : Stephanie Gaughen

Remember when social media was balked at as a tool to grow business? It wasn’t that long ago that social media was seen as a trivial aspect of sales and marketing. And its use as a service tool was non-existent.

Now, social media strategies play a critical role in all aspects of sales, marketing, and service processes. Social media has proved its value — it increases engagement and eases processes in a way that delights customers. This helps drive sales, loyalty, and growth.

Now, we’re on the verge of further engagement transformation and it’s with connected apps, or the “Internet of Things (IoT).”

The IoT has only started to take shape, and it promises to once again advance how businesses engage with their customers. Connected products or “Internet of Things” apps turn raw data from machines and devices into meaningful information inside an application like Salesforce.

Early adopters of IoT are poised to grow their businesses much faster than those who take a “wait and see” approach. Organizations slow to innovate stand to lose ground with customers who have better experiences elsewhere.

Here’s how to revolutionize sales, service and marketing with the Internet of Things:

1. Sales and marketing

Use data to take action, creating new products and services that delight customers, and increase loyalty. Use business intelligence to identify opportunities and close more deals.

Take Lindsay Corporation (NYSE: LNN), for example. In the competitive world of creating manufacturing equipment, their marketing and product development teams needed to differentiate and add value to their products. They did so with their FieldNET mobile app that connects to growers’ irrigation systems. The app gives growers the ability to access and control their entire irrigation operation at any time and from anywhere. It collects data from sensors within the irrigation equipment such as location, pressure, temperature, water consumption, fertilizer, and chemical use. It then turns the data into meaningful information that growers can use to make informed decisions without needing to plan their day around driving out into the fields. It also maximizes water efficiency by giving growers complete control over when, where, and how they use water.

“Connected products give companies opportunities to revolutionize business models and take customer experience to a new level,” said Chuck Malone, director of marketing at Etherios in a recent CMS Wire article about the ATEK Companies product line.

2. Service

Use data to monitor and troubleshoot equipment and devices remotely, only dispatching service reps when absolutely necessary. Provide more informed guidance on customer support issues by logging in directly to the machine’s diagnostics.

“When a device has an issue or just needs a new battery, ATEK’s products automatically create a case in Salesforce and the team can proactively take action,” Malone said. “When technicians do make trips, they know exactly what issue they’re set out to solve, meaning the right talent and tech is on board.”

Where do you start?

Even if you have an idea, building a connected app is certainly not easy. There are challenges with the hardware on the product itself; challenges with building the requirements; with development; testing usability; and challenges integrating the app with existing systems. But, it can and must be done.

Start by listening to your customers and understanding their wants, needs, and challenges. Consider how an app will solve their problem. Involve your IT team early in the process to gain an understanding of their resource limits, expertise, and what you will need to outsource. When you have a development team in place, you can start making your vision a reality.

Get our ultimate guide to the Internet of Things.

About the author

Stephanie Gaughen

Stephanie Gaughen is a Senior Pardot Consultant at PK. She holds a master’s degree in media and communications. She has a passion for entrepreneurship, technology innovation, and next-generation marketing.

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