Selling M2M to the CEO (a.k.a. 'The Big Cheese', 'Head Honcho', and 'The Top Dog')

Larry Bellehumeur of Novotech

You’ve done it….you have the “big” meeting. Congrats!  You have 15-30 minutes with “the man”…, what do you say to a CEO of a company to get them to look at deploying an M2M solution?

CEOs offer a unique problem, in that unlike a CTO or CFO, it can be more difficult to know what their background was prior to their current role.  It could be:

  • They came from the Finance side.  If this is the case, they may be very practical in nature, and have a very methodical approach to Technology (they may not always have to buy the “shiny new penny” as some people say).  In the Fortune 500, 60 of the current CEOs moved up from CFO.  It is especially common in the Industrial space, where 60% of CEOs were formerly CFO, but less common in Technology companies.
  • They came from the Technology side.  If so. they may by nature lean towards the technology side of an argument, and then find ways to make the technology work for their business.  This is most common in large technology companies such as Yahoo, where current CEO Marissa Mayer came from the technology side at Google.
  • They may come from the Operations side,  In this case, they are quite organized, and see technology only as an enabler to improve their current business practices, such as in the case of Tim Cook from Apple.

So, knowing that each CEO may have their own ideas on where Technology (such as M2M) may fit into their company… do you position M2M in a way that makes sense for any style of CEO?First, you need to look at what the role of CEO really is.  Here are some thoughts:

  • Vision and Brand.  A CEO has the responsibility to craft a vision for the company and to work with all of their team to ensure that this vision is implemented, whether the vision is new markets, new products, streamlining operations or anything else. They also bear the responsibility to improve how their company is perceived and how to best grow their brand.
  • Increasing shareholder value.  In this case, it doesn’t matter if the company is publicly or privately financed.  The CEO needs to ensure that the limited capital that a company has the best chance of maximizing return while protecting downside risk.
  • Reducing risk Speaking of risk, a CEO is ultimately the Chief Risk Officer as well, ensuring that the company is run in a manner that does not expose it unnecessarily to catastrophic risks.
  • Selection and retention of key staff / productivity The CEO needs to ensure that they not only have the best leadership team now, but that they retain and attract new talent on a regular basis to allow the company to grow.  Once you have the best people, you need to be sure that you are allowing them to be the most productive that they can be, to improve retention and employee satisfaction.

Key points about M2M to impress a CEO

“Its coolness / WOW factor” Think being cool doesn’t matter to a CEO?  Think again.  CEOs are very concerned about the image of their company, especially those who are in industries that are consumer based.  No one wants to be seen as being “behind the times” and one way to for a company to keep up the “cool image” is through technology.  To be clear, this point may not matter to many CEOs, especially those in slower growth or legacy industries, but to many CEOs, they want to have their customers be “wowed” and M2M solutions (such as paperless invoices, fixing problems over the air without a customer involvement and GPS-based automated customer alerts for the arrival of a technician) are ways to do this.

Giving your company a competitive edge through increased productivity In many industries, deals are won and lost by as little as a single percentage point of margin.  To make it worse, investors have a lot of choice on where to invest their money are are demanding that CEOs return share price / earnings growth every year.  Where does a CEO get 6, 8 or 10% growth in earnings when the economy is stagnant?  They get it by using technology to improve the productivity of their workforce.  M2M solutions allow CEOs to:

  • Reduce calls into their Customer Service department by fixing problems before the customer calls, which has the dual effect of happier customers and reduced operational costs
  • Use M2M to get better information about how their equipment is being used by in the field by customers (such as vending machines, medical equipment and heavy machinery).  They can make better decisions as to product design and optimization, which improves their production and helps to make better products.
  • Reduce unwanted driving by fixing problems over the Air (and not by on-site visits), which has the added benefit of reducing vehicle costs.
  • By optimizing how clerical work from the field is done, CEOs will see an improved cash flow (see point 5), have their skilled workers spend more time doing skilled work as opposed to paperwork and will be able to reduce the costs of a service call

Improve your “Green image” In a previous blog, I spoke about how M2M solutions helps to improve Green Energy solutions (to read it, go to:  M2M solutions can also help companies go green (and save Green) by:

  • M2M solutions allow for optimal use of HVAC systems, which reduces usage by 10-15%
  • GPS solutions can reduce unwanted driving by up to 30% through optimized usage and idling reduction.

Risk reduction As mentioned, CEOs are very focused on reducing risk / legal liability in their company, so this tends to be a very popular topic.  GPS solutions, combined with technology such as Bar-codes/RFID, are being used today to both prove that work was done and to prove in some cases that work was not done.  This helps CEOs limit their exposure to potential lawsuits.  As well, many industries have key compliance issues that keep CEOs up at night (ranging from FDA requirements for the food industry, environmental monitoring for pipelines and requirements for vehicles/maintaining driver logs for large fleet operators).  The food industry is a great example of this, where M2M solutions are used to automate the compliance of key rules such as tracking animals through their entire lifesjavascript:doAddEntry();pan in the event of an outbreak, tracking that perishable items were kept at kept at required temperature during shipping and that a proper record of which fertilizers and pesticides were used is maintained.  This not only improves the bottom line, but can protect the company in the event of an outbreak, as it will provide proof of compliance.

Improved cash flow In business, cash is really “king”.  If your company does not have the steady cash flow that it needs, there is no business.  M2M solutions are used to improve the bottom line…..invoices are generated faster, and it allows for money to be received quicker (through mobile payment solutions).

As always, let Novotech know how we can help your M2M needs.  You can visit us @

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