Interactive technology and self-service in B2B environments are no longer novel. Instead, as companies seek to continually improve efficiencies, they’re quickly becoming the new normal. Businesses are increasingly crossing international boundaries and time zones to set up their supply lines, inventories, and shipments, so the trend toward interactive tech is only likely to gain more ground.
In fact, McKinsey Research clearly shows that an increasing number of people prefer this approach to B2B commerce. Buyers and sellers alike benefit from the increased speed and accuracy of digital commerce. What’s more, the shared belief in the efficacy of online transactions is growing in every market. Businesses see digital commerce as a means of increasing engagement, not diminishing it.
Increased traffic requires new frameworks and infrastructure. Kaon Interactive is a leading interactive sales and marketing platform for B2B brands interested in educating and engaging customers during the sales process. Kaon sees the digital realm as a means to deepen customer profiles and increase loyalty.
Recently, Kaon CEO Gavin Finn answered some common questions about the role of interactive technology in an increasingly remote sales ecosystem.
How has a digital-first strategy changed the B2B sales process during the pandemic?
Gavin Finn: The key to success in digital-first strategies is active customer engagement where the differentiated value of a brand’s solutions is the focus of the process.
This contrasts with traditional customer engagement practices that focus on the sales representative’s interpersonal skills or product expertise. Those soft skills will always be needed, but we also need to figure out ways to translate them into the digital realm.
In the world of B2B sales, the sales funnel dynamic has shifted 180 degrees. Time has changed the sales funnel dynamic from a sales-led, “showing and telling” process to a customer-led “discovering and learning” process. The control of the process is where we find the most dramatic change. That’s a powerful thing. At the same time, it’s understandably frightening for B2B sales teams. Will there be a place for human sales reps in the brave new digital world? The answer is “Of course.”
When companies turn to interactive tech tools to enhance their sales process, what are some of the applications?
GF: Visually interactive applications are highly effective at providing a simple way of conveying a complex story. Where sales teams have acted upon this insight, it results in a much better understanding of the key value propositions and also promotes excellent knowledge retention.
These highly engaging applications are typically used to demonstrate how a company’s products, services, and solutions solve the customer’s specific problems. They can include immersive digital representations of a factory, hospital, sports stadium, office complex — or anything, really — in order to show how solutions deliver value in the customer’s environment.
People can also use immersive interfaces to explore and experience 3D product tours. Instead of looking at physical products, customers and prospects can delve into the details of how the products actually work. More importantly, these interfaces show why they suit the customer’s needs better. They do so by allowing customers to form a more complete mental picture of what the company is offering.
What are some of the ways these advanced tools change the effectiveness of the sales process in complex B2B transactions?
GF: When customers interact with these applications on their own, as opposed to watching a sales demo or video, they are much more focused. Simply by virtue of being in control of the process, a potential customer’s active involvement results in less distraction. According to cognitive science research, this focus allows them to learn more effectively and remember approximately four times more than they would if they watched a slide presentation or video.
There are three science-validated reasons these experiences are more effective.
For one, customers are interacting in a multi-sensory manner by touching the mobile device screen or moving the mouse. Secondly, they are controlling the process of information transfer. This ensures that what they are learning is relevant to them and their problem. Third, the process is engaging and fun, which creates an emotional connection.
Cognitive research has shown that strong synaptic links are formed in the brain when there is multi-sensory engagement. Additionally, these links are also formed through relevant knowledge transfer and emotional connection. The result is a better understanding and higher retention.
For transforming the sales funnel, interactive technology brings a lot to the table. It plays a vital role in enhancing user experience, improves engagement, and helps users recall product details. Additionally, immersive interfaces allow customers and prospects to drive their own experience, making the remote product and brand interactions much more fruitful.
Customers continue to show a preference for both remote and self-service interactions. Likewise, e-commerce brands will have to adapt and utilize these technologies as well as others. This will help brands ensure that they remain competitive and succeed in the ever-evolving retail space. For anyone who still has doubts, Kaon Interactive has already made a strong, data-backed case for this.
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Fintech Kennek raises $12.5M seed round to digitize lending
London-based fintech startup Kennek has raised $12.5 million in seed funding to expand its lending operating system.
According to an Oct. 10 tech.eu report, the round was led by HV Capital and included participation from Dutch Founders Fund, AlbionVC, FFVC, Plug & Play Ventures, and Syndicate One. Kennek offers software-as-a-service tools to help non-bank lenders streamline their operations using open banking, open finance, and payments.
The platform aims to automate time-consuming manual tasks and consolidate fragmented data to simplify lending. Xavier De Pauw, founder of Kennek said:
“Until kennek, lenders had to devote countless hours to menial operational tasks and deal with jumbled and hard-coded data – which makes every other part of lending a headache. As former lenders ourselves, we lived and breathed these frustrations, and built kennek to make them a thing of the past.”
The company said the latest funding round was oversubscribed and closed quickly despite the challenging fundraising environment. The new capital will be used to expand Kennek’s engineering team and strengthen its market position in the UK while exploring expansion into other European markets. Barbod Namini, Partner at lead investor HV Capital, commented on the investment:
“Kennek has developed an ambitious and genuinely unique proposition which we think can be the foundation of the entire alternative lending space. […] It is a complicated market and a solution that brings together all information and stakeholders onto a single platform is highly compelling for both lenders & the ecosystem as a whole.”
The fintech lending space has grown rapidly in recent years, but many lenders still rely on legacy systems and manual processes that limit efficiency and scalability. Kennek aims to leverage open banking and data integration to provide lenders with a more streamlined, automated lending experience.
The seed funding will allow the London-based startup to continue developing its platform and expanding its team to meet demand from non-bank lenders looking to digitize operations. Kennek’s focus on the UK and Europe also comes amid rising adoption of open banking and open finance in the regions.
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Fortune 500’s race for generative AI breakthroughs
As excitement around generative AI grows, Fortune 500 companies, including Goldman Sachs, are carefully examining the possible applications of this technology. A recent survey of U.S. executives indicated that 60% believe generative AI will substantially impact their businesses in the long term. However, they anticipate a one to two-year timeframe before implementing their initial solutions. This optimism stems from the potential of generative AI to revolutionize various aspects of businesses, from enhancing customer experiences to optimizing internal processes. In the short term, companies will likely focus on pilot projects and experimentation, gradually integrating generative AI into their operations as they witness its positive influence on efficiency and profitability.
Goldman Sachs’ Cautious Approach to Implementing Generative AI
In a recent interview, Goldman Sachs CIO Marco Argenti revealed that the firm has not yet implemented any generative AI use cases. Instead, the company focuses on experimentation and setting high standards before adopting the technology. Argenti recognized the desire for outcomes in areas like developer and operational efficiency but emphasized ensuring precision before putting experimental AI use cases into production.
According to Argenti, striking the right balance between driving innovation and maintaining accuracy is crucial for successfully integrating generative AI within the firm. Goldman Sachs intends to continue exploring this emerging technology’s potential benefits and applications while diligently assessing risks to ensure it meets the company’s stringent quality standards.
One possible application for Goldman Sachs is in software development, where the company has observed a 20-40% productivity increase during its trials. The goal is for 1,000 developers to utilize generative AI tools by year’s end. However, Argenti emphasized that a well-defined expectation of return on investment is necessary before fully integrating generative AI into production.
To achieve this, the company plans to implement a systematic and strategic approach to adopting generative AI, ensuring that it complements and enhances the skills of its developers. Additionally, Goldman Sachs intends to evaluate the long-term impact of generative AI on their software development processes and the overall quality of the applications being developed.
Goldman Sachs’ approach to AI implementation goes beyond merely executing models. The firm has created a platform encompassing technical, legal, and compliance assessments to filter out improper content and keep track of all interactions. This comprehensive system ensures seamless integration of artificial intelligence in operations while adhering to regulatory standards and maintaining client confidentiality. Moreover, the platform continuously improves and adapts its algorithms, allowing Goldman Sachs to stay at the forefront of technology and offer its clients the most efficient and secure services.
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UK seizes web3 opportunity simplifying crypto regulations
As Web3 companies increasingly consider leaving the United States due to regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom must simplify its cryptocurrency regulations to attract these businesses. The conservative think tank Policy Exchange recently released a report detailing ten suggestions for improving Web3 regulation in the country. Among the recommendations are reducing liability for token holders in decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs) and encouraging the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to adopt alternative Know Your Customer (KYC) methodologies, such as digital identities and blockchain analytics tools. These suggestions aim to position the UK as a hub for Web3 innovation and attract blockchain-based businesses looking for a more conducive regulatory environment.
Streamlining Cryptocurrency Regulations for Innovation
To make it easier for emerging Web3 companies to navigate existing legal frameworks and contribute to the UK’s digital economy growth, the government must streamline cryptocurrency regulations and adopt forward-looking approaches. By making the regulatory landscape clear and straightforward, the UK can create an environment that fosters innovation, growth, and competitiveness in the global fintech industry.
The Policy Exchange report also recommends not weakening self-hosted wallets or treating proof-of-stake (PoS) services as financial services. This approach aims to protect the fundamental principles of decentralization and user autonomy while strongly emphasizing security and regulatory compliance. By doing so, the UK can nurture an environment that encourages innovation and the continued growth of blockchain technology.
Despite recent strict measures by UK authorities, such as His Majesty’s Treasury and the FCA, toward the digital assets sector, the proposed changes in the Policy Exchange report strive to make the UK a more attractive location for Web3 enterprises. By adopting these suggestions, the UK can demonstrate its commitment to fostering innovation in the rapidly evolving blockchain and cryptocurrency industries while ensuring a robust and transparent regulatory environment.
The ongoing uncertainty surrounding cryptocurrency regulations in various countries has prompted Web3 companies to explore alternative jurisdictions with more precise legal frameworks. As the United States grapples with regulatory ambiguity, the United Kingdom can position itself as a hub for Web3 innovation by simplifying and streamlining its cryptocurrency regulations.
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