Industry 4.0 is the next Industrial Revolution, which is unfolding right now. It means Internet-enabled smart devices seamlessly interfacing with each other and humans; data analysis and virtual models making it possible to assess and solve production situations on the fly; state-of-the-art services delivered to customers and companies through the Cloud; and even the capability of factory modules to replace or expand themselves.
It means a true industrial world virtually interconnected in real time.
Path Through History
The first Industrial Revolution began toward the end of the 18th century, and was marked by the invention of the steam engine. With it began the replacement of human workers by mechanical production units in factories. With technology, products could be manufactured more rapidly and in greater quantity than at any time in history.
The beginning of the 20th century marked the onset of the 2nd Industrial Revolution. It came about because of access to electrical power and the introduction of the assembly-line concept. Assembly lines divided production steps into individual processes, mandated that employees become more specialized, and significantly reduced production costs.
By the early 1970s, electronics and information technologies were being dovetailed into manufacturing processes, making it possible for many manual production steps to be automated. This is said to be the 3rd Industrial Revolution.
And now, in the dawn of the 21st century, we are at the cusp of the 4th Industrial Revolution – Industry 4.0.
What of Salespeople?
Despite this intense trend in smart technology, interconnection, and highly evolved digital solutions, buyers and customers are crying out for the personal touch as never before.
Testament to this is the trend in 1-to-1 marketing, as well as the trend in B2B sales for exact, specific issues addressed on a company-by-company basis. Clearly the demand for the human salesperson is not only very much alive, but will continue to increase as Industry 4.0 becomes a reality. Many believe that the more automated industry becomes, the more the personal touch will be needed.
B2B products and services often have a level of complexity that requires an expert to help guide prospects and customers along, based on a buyer’s (and buyer’s company’s) specific issues and requirements. So it follows that the role of a salesperson has changed—from that of someone simply pitching a product or service, to an expert who assists the buyer in every way possible.
To this change we must add that the many innovations that make Industry 4.0 possible are constantly increasing (doubling or tripling) the speed at which people conduct commerce. Hence a salesperson must be immediately and constantly armed with the data they need to accurately sell to specific prospects and customers.
The Role of Pipeliner CRM
As this future world unfolds, visualization is becoming increasingly important. Smart machines interact with each other—but as humans interact with technology, the only way they can do so efficiently is through highly visual interfaces which, in the last 5 years, have become increasingly commonplace.
Pipeliner CRM was ahead of the curve in this regard, and has evolved the most visual CRM in the industry. Sales managers and salespeople are already applauding the fact that Pipeliner provides them with a clear, immediate visual view of their sales statuses and priorities, allowing them to focus on crucial tasks to move sales through to deals won—at a speed that allows them to keep up.
And of course, Pipeliner CRM has always been (and always will be) a SaaS product (Software as a Service), provided through the Cloud—one of the main hallmarks of Industry 4.0.
As Industry 4.0 becomes the norm, Pipeliner will be there—to visually guide and assist salespeople to sell as never before.