Three crucial questions for your IoT go-to-market strategy

Steve Brumer, partner, 151 Advisors

The title says it all, so let’s jump in…

How the hell am I going to sell this?

Every day companies are introducing new IoT platforms, gateways, sensors and everything in between, but many are finding themselves faced with the problem of not reaching their revenue targets. “How can we reach our revenue target this year?” is the number one question our team is asked by clients.

The first thing to do in tackling this issue is to carefully examine the messaging. Sales & Marketing 101 says that the value and differentiation needs to be clearly defined. What also needs to be stressed within this messaging is a sense of urgency: If you don’t buy this product, service or solution, you will lose money and customers. This urgency will push the decision maker to pull the trigger now rather than the following year. It also helps weed out the prospects that don’t buy and end up wasting your sales rep’s time, says Steve Brumer, partner at 151 Advisors.

A strong and effective pitch would sound something like: “This network failover gateway would have enabled your retail location to sell products during the four hours that you lost connectivity over the past month, and would have only cost one percent of the revenue that you lost. If you deploy this now, you will save money before your quarter ends.”

Which sales strategy should I invest in?

Once the proper messaging is in place, there are multiple sales strategies in which to invest your company’s budget – retail, VARs, system integrators, distributors, direct sales and online channels. Deciding which strategy is truly the low-hanging fruit can be determined by answering the following questions:

    • Who can effectively convey the value and urgency?
    • Which channel will have the greatest revenue potential?
    • Which strategy will have the lowest cost of sale?

After you can quantify these options, stack them up and compare them to the budget that you’ve established for reaching your goal. If the budget is not there, you have a quantifiable explanation of why management needs to allocate more funds now to reach this year’s revenue targets.

Which IoT solutions should I acquire, integrate or resell?

Let’s review this through the lens of the upcoming fleet management Electronic Logging Device (ELD) mandate, which requires drivers to electronically record their activity with the hopes of mitigating risks associated with driver behavior and minimising time spent on reporting. This change in regulation is a boon for fleet management solution providers because it requires an investment in IoT.

Who is going to sell this legally required IoT solution to the 5.6 million tractor trailers in the U.S.? Fleet tracking solution providers, connectivity providers, truck manufacturers and other ecosystem players have to choose whether they will acquire, develop, integrate or resell a solution.

In this example, development is out the door because the mandate is set to take effect in December 2017. If you are a large company with cash on hand, then acquiring a solution may make the most sense (think Verizon for the past couple of years). If cash is not burning a hole in your pocket, your company needs to choose an ELD solution to integrate, resell and support or simply refer for a commission.

An easy way to see who the winners are before investing in integration is to refer to three solutions (good, better, best) that cover all the necessary feature sets and see what the market decides.

This scenario plays out across different verticals with the latest technology all the time, and companies need to define who they want to be in the market based upon their resources and core competencies. If they don’t have the resources to develop, acquire or integrate, there is still a lot of money to be made referring business to partners.

The author of this blog is Steve Brumer, partner, 151 Advisors

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