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RFID Markets

Here are some thoughts on RFID market opportunities within the United States. Generally speaking there are two types of RFID projects, open loop and closed loop.  Most of the real deployments to date have been closed loop, that is, the user of the technology controls the entire end to end product life cycle with the products flowing between their and their customers facilities.   A good example of closed loop is apparel rental.  Open loop, on the other hand, are projects involve goods that are usually tagged at manufacturing and RFID is used throughout throughout the supply chain so that each item has a full life cycle traceability from manufacturing, distribution, retail, to purchase and even returns.   This means that each entity in the chain of custody is using RFID to track inbound receipts and outbound shipments.

Retail and Consumer Goods

RFID in retail has suffered a fair amount of ‘bad press’ due to retailer compliance driven mentality. Big box shops and large department stores have taken the stance to force suppliers to tag their products. This push or threat has left a bad taste in the mouths of many.

The real opportunity in retail is with vertically integrated retailers (CLOSED LOOP) who own their product BOM, manufacturing, supply chains, and store execution. They can design RFID into their products and their processes and they receive direct benefit from it without having to impose or depend on a third party’s adoption of the technology. All RFID is deployed ‘in house’ and quality and proper use of it is controlled ‘in house’.

Another opportunity is with manufacturers of high end products. They want to design RFID into their product, leverage it during the manufacturing process for various reasons: to help with ‘pay for performance’ schemes related to piece work, to help with quality control, and/or to gain better and more accurate visibility into WIP, raw materials and finished goods inventory. In these cases, ROI is often realized before the product ever leaves manufacturing plant. Even though this may be considered an internal CLOSED LOOP type project, downstream parties like distributors and retail outlets (i.e. the OPEN LOOP entities) can benefit from the embedded technology.

On the opposite end of the product life cycle, brands use it to ensure they only provide warranty/repair service to legitimate products. Any product that suffers counterfeiting is a great candidate for RFID. There are many high fashion brands who are embedding dual tag (NFC and GEN2) technology into their products allowing consumers and even customs agents using NFC capable phones to verify the product is legit while allowing their supply chain partners to leverage the GEN2 tag for supply chain visibility and traceability.

Rental Services

In any rental scheme (CLOSED LOOP) in which the renter needs to have clear, unequivocal insight into 1) where the item is AND 2) how many times has it be out for rental, RFID will be the defacto standard for marking the item. RFID is embraced in textile (linen, uniforms, floor mats, etc) rental for hotels, hospitality, hospitals, Tux rental industry, etc.

A recent example of where the rental market is going is Patagonia. Patagonia is interested in rental of cold weather gear at certain parks and tourist locations. Essentially, following the bike rental model seen at many tourist destinations. There will be new rental companies and schemes coming to market and they will be looking for cloud based, RFID based platform.

Another great opportunity is women’s fashion and apparel rental. Today, a 10 minutes search on the internet will uncover at least 20 distinct lady’s rental companies.

Other Markets

Every industry has interesting business cases for RFID, with many of them pertaining to fixed asset management or maintenance. The ability to uniquely and unequivocally identify an asset, with or without human intervention,  is a key attribute of RFID technology. The types of RFID solutions are only limited by our imagination.

 


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10 Hottest Sales Tools at dreamforce

From Dreamforce '15: Behavioral Analytics Are Transforming the B2B Sales Process

Billions of dollars have been poured into marketing automation technologies. Given the ability to deliver more relevant and timely information to customers with ease, marketing has gained enormous benefits.

Despite all the advances in marketing automation, however, sales teams have been stuck in the Dark Ages; working with dated technology to connect with a changed, modern-day buyer. But not anymore.

At Dreamforce ’15 in San Francisco this month, more than 150,000 attendees from 90+ countries got a glimpse of the future of sales, and that future is analytics.

Massive amounts of data harvested by robust and comprehensive analytics will supply insights that can transform sales processes. Powered by these rich and sophisticated analytics, advanced technologies will give organizations new insights to engage with and serve customers more effectively – from deeper insights that personalize the customer experience to improved sales forecasting, and modernized prospecting.

The latest Salesforce research shows that top organizations are already three and a half times more likely to use sales analytics.

“Over the last 10 years, the sales industry has witnessed a disruption. Due to the innovation of Internet cloud-based business transactions and an upsurge in sales technology development, the sales profession is in a state of rapid modernization.” James W. Phillips, Business Intelligence Analyst

Modern Sales Buyers Have Higher Expectations

B2B buyers have become “Amazonized.” They do their own online research, and leverage social channels and referrals, to find out everything they can before reaching out to a vendor. Yet, according to Accenture’s Yusuf Tayob in his Dreamforce session “Embracing Digital Disruption to Power Sales Growth,” this ‘non-stop customer’ still expects the best experience possible.

This requires personalization. Modern-day buyers want to deal with sales reps who understand them and their industry problems, and who know where they are in the buying process to give them the best experience.

Furthermore, they want vendors who respond ASAP to their needs. To allow modern buyers to “have it all” requires modern sales technology that includes automation and analytics. Tools that marketing has had for a while, but specifically built for sales.

Altered Buyers and Altered Processes Are Driving New Technologies

Automation and analytics tools are becoming available that change the playing field in sales. Sales acceleration tools, with their ability to deepen customer understanding to personalize the sales process, is one top category.“

Personalization: the Key to Stronger Customer Relationships

A 2015 Harris Poll study showed that an overwhelming majority of executive level buyers want more personalization in sales interactions, yet more than a third add that they rarely get any. Since 95% of respondents say they’d be more likely to respond to personalized outreach, sales organizations need to pay attention.

In addition, in recent research, Aberdeen Group reports that best-in-class companies that personalize content down to the sales rep level achieve up to a 36% higher conversion average and a 21% stronger lead acceptance rate.

New tools that deliver engagement analytics can unveil buyer interests and behaviors that empower sales teams to personalize their interactions. With analytics, teams can see how frequently a prospect engages with their content, and get profile data for recipients of forwarded information.

This can help you spot other stakeholders quickly. Also significant is the fact that these tools show when there isn’t interest, so teams can get to a “no” faster and turn their attention to more promising opportunities.

Speeding Up the Sales Process

Personalized outreach and deeper analytical insights ultimately mean an accelerated sales process that eliminates wasted resources and reduces customer acquisition costs. There’s still a lot of progress to be made when it comes to enhancing the sales process and engaging prospects more effectively, but it’s refreshing to see how much progress has been made in recent months.

10 of the Hottest Sales Tools at Dreamforce ’15

For sales teams, the most challenging facet of leveraging available technologies and solutions often involves sorting through the noise and identifying which tools are available. But there’s no doubt that prescriptive and behavioral analytics are key for best-in-class sales organizations to serve today’s non- stop customer.

Here are ten sales tools that deliver advanced analytics that made a particular splash at this year’s Dreamforce conference:

1. 6Sense

“Focus on customers who are ready to buy now, and keep tabs on the prospects making their way through the funnel.” That’s what 6Sense’s predictive intelligence technology does for sales teams. It essentially prioritizes contacts and helps reps understand where leads stand in the sales cycle.

2. AscentERP

With AscentERP, the days when sales reps had to call the warehouse to see if an item was available are over. This rich and insightful tool gives sales reps the visibility they need to manage customerinter actions with extra skill and enhance the end of the sales cycle.

3. Axiom

Axiom claims it can “take the guesswork out of sales” with its Integrated Selling Suite, which empowers sales teams to make educated selling decisions for better forecasting accuracy. The forecasting feature works by using real-time win probabilities that are calculated from advanced algorithms, and aligning that information with customer-specific data for highly accurate and dependable sales predictions.

4. Axtria

Over the past few years, Axtria has worked with a handful of Fortune 500 companies to transform the way they handle sales forecasting and predictions. Specifically, the firm helps clients leverage sales planning through its Axtria SalesIQ platform, which is a “comprehensive and tightly integrated framework that ensures that the same data, models and assumptions used to drive the strategic decisions permeate across tactical plans and operations.”

5. Birst

While CRM reports are helpful, Birst attempts to unify customer data, sales reports, revenue, and pipeline data into a consolidated forecast that enables sales teams to create more predictable revenue streams, based on everything from historical win rates to the “digital body language” of customers.

6. LiveHive

As the firm’s website suggests, “LiveHive uncovers ways to trim inefficiency and improve your team’s productivity, email effectiveness, and follow-up timeliness through automation and engagement analytics.” LiveHive’s power lies in its deep and comprehensive content engagement analytics.LiveHive lets sales leaders see how, and how often, reps are engaging to build best practices for the team, and reps get real-time alerts about how prospects interact with their emails and content, so they can prioritize them. With intelligent email sequencing and automated templates, LiveHive helps speed the buying process and allows teams to refine their sales models.

7. PeopleLinx

Using dozens of different data sources and insights, PeopleLinx’s predictive analytics technology recommends which actions salespeople ought to take, and at which time, in order to be most successful. Then it measures and reports on the success of the activity and tailors future actions accordingly.

8. PFL

One of the most unique sales tools on the market is PFL’s SwaqIQ software solution, which connects with the Salesforce Sales cloud to provide sales teams with new ways of connecting with clients and prospects. The platform uses predictive analytics and rule-based tasks to inform sales reps of the right time to send a gift to a prospect, and what the right gift might be.

9. TalkIQ

Sales reps waste too much time trying to record information and not enough time engaging prospects. That’s where TalkIQ comes into play. Among many other features, TalkIQ is able to transcribe conversations in real-time – eliminating the need to take notes and ensuring sales departments have accurate records that are easily searchable.

10. TopOPPS

According to its website, “TopOPPS is a sales pipeline and forecasting predictability solution thathelps sales teams focus on the best leads and opportunities in the pipeline so they can be moreeffective with their closing.” Using automation and intelligence, the company claims that reps can sellup to 25 percent more and shorten sales cycles by as much as 38 percent.

Looking to the Future of B2B Sales

By 2020, there will be more than 33 billion internet-connected devices around the world. This strongly implies there will be billions – even trillions – of data points for sales teams to get their hands on. That’s what’s so exciting and heartening about these new technologies.

Sales analytics and acceleration tools are giving sales teams the ability to capture information andcreate more advanced, data- driven sales strategies that meet prospects precisely where they are in
the sales cycle.

John Rampton is the founder and CEO of Due, a company helping small business owners from around the world to easily manage their accounting online.
 

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