Remember Pokémon GO? While the hype may have faded away a while ago, this mobile game first introduced augmented reality (AR) to the masses, breaking a few revenue records on the way. Today, AR is gaining traction in lots of industries. Take IKEA, for example, that recently launched a long-anticipated AR app allowing people to virtually try out furniture by overlaying it in real time onto floors and surfaces in their house. The AR market is forecast to grow to over 100 billion euros in revenue by 20201, four times the projected revenue size for Virtual Reality (VR). AR is big and here to change the B2B sales process fast. Here is how.
Adding emotion to gain trust
B2B sales is about showing the added value a solution or product will bring in the customer’s environment. The more complex, the more difficult. While selling features no longer does the trick, it is all about gaining trust. Augmented Reality has the capability to personalize and add emotion to the B2B sales experience, demonstrating in real time to customers how exactly your solution fits into their world. Seeing is believing and that is how AR will help B2B companies to generate (instant) trust.
Speeding up the sales engine
Advanced AR technology allows you to position a product – let’s say a printer or a building – exactly in a potential real-life environment. There are no more ‘grey’ zones with AR, because What You See Is What You Get. Complex measurements or discussions on colour, texture or look & feel will no longer slow down the sales process. Thanks to AR you can save time, speed up decisions and increase closing rates of sales appointments. More efficient sales equals more sales appointments equals more sales.
Increasing your deal value
AR offers endless possibilities for B2B sales to showcase additional products and even services – such as customer care – instantly in your customer’s environment. Helping customers to see the value of new and undiscovered possibilities, AR not only potentially increases your deal value, it feeds their confidence in you as their trusted advisor.
Offering premium experiences
Virtual and augmented reality are the closest to mainstream adoption of all emerging technologies in Gartner’s current hype cycle. So now is the time to deploy them to stay ahead of the competition. Introducing AR in your B2B sales approach will boost your image as an innovative company investing in premium customer experiences. Establishing or confirming your status as a premium brand, as we all know, enables you to sell at (continued) higher margins.
Transforming customer service and training
Imagine that printer gets sold and installed in your customer’s office. Unfortunately, it is now sending annoying error messages. What if your customer could use a smartphone AR app that would show in real life exactly what the problem is and how it can be solved in three easy steps? No more user manual. That would not only take away your customer’s frustration, it would relieve your after sales service as well. In addition, companies could use AR to transform sales training, turning complicated, technical and boring product presentations into immersive brand inductions and intelligible experiences.
Pre-insuring customer satisfaction
If your customer knows exactly in advance what he or she will receive, chances they are dissatisfied upon delivery grow very slim. AR helps you to ‘pre-insure’ customer satisfaction, reduce returns and refunds and maximise recurring business.
AR has become a mature and affordable technology that will change the way we sell and buy products and solutions sooner than later. As mobile devices become more powerful, its adoption in B2B sales processes will only accelerate. Those who adopt and deploy it will be able to build a real competitive advantage. If you do not want to miss the boat, it is high time to start making an AR case for your business.
1. Digi Capital, 2017