After years of evangelization waiting for the promises of the Internet of Things (IoT) to come true it seems that we are finally close to reaching the trough of disillusionment phase, we begin to forget all the hype generated so far and focus on reality. A harsh reality that involves selling IoT and not continue selling smoke anymore
THE TIME TO SELL IoT IS NOW
The sale of IoT is perhaps more complex than the sale of other disruptive technologies such as Big Data, Cloud or AI and maybe as complex as Blockchain today. In the article “ Welcome to the first “Selling IoT” Master Class!” I commented how it should be the evolution of M2M Vendors for sell IoT and how should be the evolution of IT Technology Vendors for sell IoT. However, many of these companies still have difficulty in forming and finding good sellers of IoT
The truth is that nowadays it does not make any sense to sell IoT as a technology. Enterprise buyers only want to buy solutions that provide measurable business outcomes while, in the other side, many IoT Vendors only want to sell their portfolio of products and services that have been categorized under the umbrella of IoT, either as quickly as possible or at the lowest possible cost.
During last 5 years, I have been analysing how IoT companies sell their products and services. Some of my customers (Start-ups, Device vendors, Telco Operators, Platform vendors, Distributors, Industry Applications, System Integrators) requested me to create IoT sales material to train their sales team about how to sell their IoT solutions and services. And sometimes I also helped Head Hunters or customers searching for IoT sales experts
Based on this varied experience I have launched this year a new service: “IoT Sales Workshops” to help companies train their internal teams in how to sell IoT. Here are some of the lessons I learned
- There is a time for act as an IoT Sales generalist and a time for act as an IoT Specialist.
- You need to adapt the IoT storytelling based on your audience.
- Being an IoT expert is not synonymous with being successful in selling IoT.
- You need to show how companies can get more out of IoT by solving a specific business problem.
- Make it easy for the customer to see the benefits of your IoT product or IoT service and what is the value you are adding.
- Given the complexity and specialization of IoT by vertical, explain companies the need to focus more closely at business cases, on their IoT business model as well as the ROI over three to four years before jumping into technology.
- You need to be patient because IoT selling is not easy and takes time align strategy and business needs with the IoT products and services you are selling.
- Build a strong ecosystem and make easy the customer the adoption of end to end IoT solution collaborating with your partners.
- Train your IoT Business and Technical experts to get better at telling stories. Design a new marketing and sales communications playbook. Keep it simple. Build your narrative from the foundation up – one idea at a time.
- If you want an IoT sales expert you need to pay for it (not expect miracles from external sales agents working on commission base).
- IoT Sales is a full-time job. You will not have time to other enterprise activities.
- Selling IoT to large enterprises is a teamwork process.
- Be Persistent. Do not expect big deals soon.
- Be Passionate, Be Ambitious, Be Disruptive to sell IoT.
I do not consider myself an IoT sales expert. And of course, neither a superman of sales. In fact, I have shied away from classifying myself in the role of a pure salesperson even though over time I have given a weight and value to this work that once seemed derogatory to me.
Sell IoT is not easy. In a few years we will have forgotten of the word IoT and we will be selling new hypes, but in the mean time you need to be prepared for disillusionment moments, long sales cycles and a lot of work with sometimes poor results. However, I do not know if will be 2020, suddenly if you persevere you probably will be awarded as the best IoT sales expert and you finally will earn a lot of money.
Be Persistent, Be Passionate, Be Ambitious, Be Disruptive to sell IoT
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