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While the literature seems optimistic about the transformations that companies need to embrace, one can’t ignore the fact that this paradigm comes at the cost of replacing or optimizing existing technologies and sales strategies. This inevitably requires time, effort, and expertise—none of which most companies have at their disposal, given the circumstances.
Addressing this need is Kaon Interactive, a leading innovator of interactive applications for B2B sales and marketing teams worldwide. At its core, Kaon enhances customers’ understanding of a company’s unique value differentiation by simplifying complex solutions using interactive digital experiences. Their advanced technology platform creates and deploys interactive applications in real-time to any device, anywhere (offline and online), broadening access to every client’s evolving portfolio of products and offerings, thereby maximizing marketing efficiency. These digital experiences improve marketing and sales effectiveness by enabling companies to seamlessly convey their value propositions with visually appealing applications that are used across the entire buyers’ journey. For nearly 25 years, Kaon Interactive has been devoted to fulfilling one simple brand promise: “We bring your products to life, wherever your buyers are!” And there’s no doubt in how successful they have been at delivering on this promise.
In this interview with CIOApplications, Gavin Finn, President & CEO, Kaon Interactive, elucidates how his company fosters a new digitally enhanced era for B2B sales and marketing.
How has Kaon Interactive responded to the impact of COVID-19 on B2B sales?
Kaon’s digital interactive sales and marketing applications are used in 150+ countries by millions of users. Over the last nine months, we’ve seen an 82% increase in engagement within our applications, as B2B sales and marketing teams worldwide have transitioned to a digital environment. We have spent a lot of time optimizing our offerings to further reinforce how people connect digitally in an engaging way.
Kaon Interactive helps global B2B companies improve marketing efficiency and sales productivity by seamlessly conveying their value propositions with visually engaging interactive applications
For instance, if a company offers a life sciences solution, we’d develop a whole series of experiences around calculators and simulation capabilities within our platform to help the sales team identify particular parameters that the customers care about, and use them to convey their specific value proposition. Rather than sharing general information about the product, the salespeople can be specific, personalizing their approach for each customer and their needs.
Since the pandemic, it’s been challenging for B2B sales teams to meet their customers in person, compelling them to use video conferencing or virtual events to pitch their products. We started building tools within our platform to integrate with video conferencing solutions—seamlessly making our interactive applications and video conferences available in a single environment.
Another aspect that we focused on was training. A problem that we noticed was how salespeople pitched their products and solutions during online meetings. They had to share their computer screens with customers to showcase or demonstrate their solutions. In such a scenario, there is a high probability that the customer on the other end can become disengaged or distracted. Research shows that only 20% - 30% of customers are engaged during online sales pitches and demonstrations, because most people are multi-tasking.
To address this, we introduced a specialized training for sales teams on how they could leverage our interactive applications in video conferences to have the customer drive the engagement. We showed them how our applications are designed to give customers control over what’s being displayed during the video conference. Customers can self-navigate and choose what they want to experience, rather than being forced to sit through a presentation. This ensures the customers’ undivided attention and results in productive conversations.
How would you describe the evolution of the Kaon High Velocity Marketing Platform®? And, what additional features does it include?
We understood early on that the success of our offering depended on a variety of factors. First, the platform had to ensure sustained interactivity and engagement over many customer touchpoints. Through years of research, we found that stand-alone applications seldom succeed in the long run because they were built for a specific purpose, industry, and device. They lack scalability and offered little value for companies in the long term.
Additionally, the Kaon High Velocity Marketing Platform allows us to create applications that can run online or offline— which is great as we now live in a digital-first world. Our platform includes analytics that allow sales and marketing teams to gain insights on how successful an application is, who uses it, where in the world users are, and many other important characteristics. With the platform’s big data capability, clients can understand true measures of engagement.
The platform also provides feedback mechanisms within each application. If a salesperson wants the company to add a missing product to the application, they can request its inclusion through this mechanism. Marketing and product management teams are instantly notified of the request, giving them a better idea of what they can do to make the application more valuable. This feedback loop is an infrastructure capability that facilitates continued use of our applications by ensuring the content stays current and relevant, giving both customers and salespeople what they need.
There are several other features in our platform that make it robust. With our platform, clients can generate QR codes that are linked to a particular 3D product tour or interactive storytelling experience. By simply pointing their mobile camera at the QR code, customers are taken to a mobile-ready page wherein they can immediately interact with products or solutions.
The platform also includes highly advanced technology, including augmented reality and virtual reality. One of the world’s biggest diagnostic labs is using the Kaon platform to reconfigure its lab space for COVID-19 testing. Rather than wasting an enormous amount of time planning and testing the placement of equipment manually, they use our platform to get a virtual view of their lab and re-configure the virtual lab in real time. This helps save time and ensure proper space allocation between the equipment, allowing them to update their workflow frequently and accommodate testing COVID-19 samples as they scale up.
The Kaon platform integrates directly with CRM and marketing automation tools to ensure that marketing and sales teams communicate effectively.
What does the future look like for the company?
We believe that digital customer engagement is going to be a permanent, primary feature of B2B sales going forward. All B2B companies must to get used to this idea and equip themselves with robust solutions to thrive in this new environment. As a company, we are continuously innovating in this direction, incorporating new digital engagement capabilities to improve how our customers engage with their customers.