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Robotic Selling Back at Its Roots: at Goethe University

Part 1: Professor Dr. Bernd Skiera, who works at the Marketing Chair at Goethe University, talks about the technological challenges facing sales today. He illustrates how marketing and sales can interact today thanks to iPaas, and predictive analytics.

Bernd Skiera opens the joint Robotic Selling Event with the Marketing Club at Goethe University
Prof. Dr. Bernd Skiera opens the joint Robotic Selling Event with the German Marketing Club at Goethe University and shares his opinion of how research looks at the future of marketing and sales

In the future, marketing and sales in the insurance industry will need more integration of their systems, overarching processes and intelligent automation. In other words, the future belongs to Robotic Selling – and our technological solutions for it. At the Robotic Selling event, which took place on Nov. 18, 2019, at the House of Finance on the Westend Campus of Goethe University, Frankfurt, the speakers and the approximately 80 professionals from the insurance industry were practically in agreement on this. Invited to the House of Finance were The Federal Association of Sales Managers e.V. (BdVM) , the Federal Association of Insurance Managers e.V. (VGA), the Association of Insurance Business Managers (VVB) and the Chair of Electronic Commerce of the Goethe University Frankfurt am Main itself – more precisely: Prof. Dr. Bernd Skiera , the holder of the Chair of Electronic Commerce and co-founder of Marini Systems. Bernd Skiera was also the first speaker that evening, followed by Anton Lengle, our Head of Sales & Business Development. The third presentation was held by one of our customers. Lars Georg Volkmann, Sales Director of VPV Lebensversicherungs-AG, reported on the success of robotic selling in practice.

"Digitization requires the integration of marketing and sales." - Prof. Dr. Bernd Skiera

The idea of integration, automation and the intelligent control of processes based on predictive analytics across the boundaries of marketing and sales also stems decisively from scientific research, from the work of Bernd Skiera. It is no coincidence that he is co-founder behind Marini Systems together with Manuel Marini. Even today, our technological developments, especially in the area of data science and predictive analytics, are very much fed by the current results of university research. Several of our employees at Marini Systems were previously researchers and doctoral students at Goethe University. That is why our Robotic Selling topic has returned to its place of origin, so to speak, with this event of the insurance industry: to the House of Finance.

Process integration across the boundaries of marketing and sales

The central thesis of Bernd Skiera’s presentation was that digitization requires close integration of processes across the boundaries of marketing and sales. Precisely because customers today already use many of the information services offered by marketing on the Internet, the actual sales contact is moving further and further back in the customer journey. A prospective customer has already completed 60 percent of the sales process before the first contact with the sales department. This is why it is so important to link the systems and processes of marketing and sales. Three factors are crucial to sales success today, he says: speed in responding to a customer’s interest, managing complex processes across marketing and sales, and consistent data integration. Robotic selling then means collecting all the information about the lead or the customer on the basis of this integration and putting it into practice using machine learning models. However, complex products – such as insurance policies – are difficult to sell via purely digital interfaces. Here, however, robotic selling can support sales decisively. For example, by using the data to qualify leads until they are ready for sale, or by using machine learning to calculate the probability of closing a deal and thus always listing the most promising customers or products for sales staff.

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