If your company plans to launch an app, read this first.

Most intelligent products have traditionally had their own controls and interface for the customer to use. We all know that buttons and small LED displays don’t necessarily create the best user experience – just try and change the clock on your stove without the manual. With the introduction of low-cost connectivity to the internet, it has been possible to remove most of the interface electronics from products and allow it to be controlled from the suppliers homepage instead. The rapid slide from desktop based internet to mobile has made most homepages too cumbersome, even when using responsive design, for device control. Many companies have realised this and are creating apps to control their devices instead. While apps works well on a mobile device, it is becoming quite obvious that users don’t really download many apps and use even fewer. Over the last 5 years, the top 10 apps have not really changed – dominated by the large US tech companies.

A future is now visible were an app is not the best approach to device control or service interface. It will be important to move developments from apps to bots that can operate inside the framework of the top app owners. Facebook and similar companies are releasing tools that will help companies to integrate their products and services into their infrastructure. At the same time, companies need to explore how they can operate using a digital assistant like M and Siri rather than their own app.

Sales insight: Your customers are experts in their own business and market but rarely do they scan the innovation horizon of other industries. They look at what their competitor is doing rather than what is going to happen in the customer’s world. They might even ask their customers what they want – the problem being that customer’s often don’t know what they want next. No customer asked Apple for an iPhone before it was launched. To be successful in consultative selling you need to know more than your customer. You will need to understand your customers business model and strategy but more importantly, you will need to understand what is developing in the world that can affect your customer and the customer’s business model. To sell, you need to be invited in before the buying decisions are made. The best way of being invited is to demonstrate that you have valuable insights about the future of the customers business. In this case, the customer might not think that their business model will depend on Facebook in the future – they might be wrong.

Read the full article in Wired: Facebook Believes Messenger Will Anchor a Post-App Internet