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09.15.22 - Marketing

Demand Gen Report: Building An Immersive Sales Experience

This article was originally published in Demand Gen Report

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Immersive sales is one of the fast-growing trends among sales and marketing leaders today.

As the business landscape changes, companies are leveraging new technology to create more engaging and integrated brand experiences for their prospects and customers.

In short, immersive sales tools use new digital technology, like Web3, artificial intelligence and virtual design, to blur the lines between our physical and digital experiences. The result? More creative and interesting ways to bridge common sales concerns like time, manpower and proximity.

Rather than painting your buyers a picture, make them part of the story. Through nothing more than a web link, your clients can walk down a virtual city block, tour your trade show booth or sit alongside you for a meeting. They can do a deep dive into your service experience using interactive maps, 3D modeling or virtual headsets.

The goal with immersive sales is to create new ways for people to engage with your brand and build more seamless integrations between your physical and digital experiences.

How Did We Get Here?

To understand the growing demand for immersive sales tools, it may be helpful to understand how we got here. First, technology has become more sophisticated and accessible. While some people may still get a little glassy-eyed at the mention of Web3 or blockchain, it’s an important part of the story.

I’m not necessarily suggesting you need to start investing in cryptocurrency or scoop up some virtual land, but we should all be thinking about how different aspects of our business can be replicated online, from our sales platform to training experiences.

New technology, however, is only one chapter of the story. Another reason is the Covid-19 pandemic, as companies were forced to rethink the traditional sales model and figure out how to engage buyers virtually. I’m not sure we’d be thinking about this new relationship between our online and offline sales strategies if it wasn’t for the shutdown. It changed how we view sales and marketing processes and challenged us to expand our belief of what’s possible.

During the pandemic, some category leaders began to experiment with innovation and experience rooms, which include online thought leadership portals that are transforming the way organization’s demonstrate new information, educate customers and share the trends and advancements that are influencing their industry.

Likewise, organizations that relied on trade shows for growth were also stifled. With limits on business travel and major supply chain issues, many companies shifted to virtual experiences. Even as in-person events return, digital integrations remain central to most trade show strategies.

The pandemic also created a considerable shift in how we consume digital tools. In general, people have higher expectations for online sales tools. A virtual sales call is far more common today than it was in 2019. Further, with more people working asynchronously and remotely, there’s greater demand for smart, autonomous resources.

The Intersection Of The Physical & Digital Brand Experience

So, what do these changes mean for sales and marketing teams? When I look ahead, I’m expecting to see more integrations between a company’s physical and digital presence. In other words, the creation of more immersive sales tools.

Here are four immersive sales trends we’re watching closely:

  1. Digital-first office design: As we collectively rethink the way we use office space, one of the interesting trends we’re noticing is the integration of digital tools at the onset. Today, digital experts are working alongside architects and builders to explore how digital tools can elevate the in-person experience.
  2. Virtual innovation rooms: This trend began during the pandemic and is gaining steam. Virtual education or experience rooms are in high demand as companies look for new ways to share their data, trend knowledge and launch new products and services.
  3. Interactive mapping: Years ago, Google Maps transformed our ability to create more engaging and informative maps. Today, companies are able to combine location-based services with -D modeling and interactive mapping to create virtual tours. Depending on the type of tour, they’re able to weave informative pop ups, videos or products into the tour as well.
  4. Simulation training: Simulated training also became more mainstream during the pandemic when in-person wasn’t an option. Now, we’re seeing sales team leveraging these tools for much more than onboarding. Simulated digital training is used for new product launches, training third-party distributors and customer service.

The most exciting part about the growing use of immersive sales tools is that new uses for this technology are showing up all the time. This is why I like to look at the immersive sales experience as a way of thinking and not just a result.

 

Josh Lowery is the Co-founder and Director of Operations at Makeway, a digital design and web agency with offices in Ohio, New York and Europe. Makeway specializes in creating custom digital solutions for major retail, E-commerce, health care innovation and business-to-business brands.