Educating the Channel for IoT adoption

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The verticals driving IoT sales today are manufacturing ($178 billion globally), transportation ($78 billion globally) and utilities ($69 billion globally).
Within these industries lies several use cases that have extremely positive ROIs – fleet management for transportation, predictive maintenance for manufacturing, and remote monitoring for utilities.

These use cases save each company that have deployed them millions of dollars. Steve Brumer, Partner, 151 Advisors discusses here that even though these use cases are extremely financially beneficial, there is still a need across the Channel to educate the ecosystem – distributors, value-added resellers (VARs), systems integrators (SIs) and end users – to drive IoT adoption.

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Educating the sales team

Network failover devices have seen a spike in demand over the past couple of years because internet connectivity is critical to companies that use payment processing (retail, restaurants, hotels, etc.) and web-based applications (every professional service) to run their businesses.

Looking at the retail and hospitality markets, the network failover devices will guarantee that sales can be completed while the internet is down.

Beyond this function, there are many more applications that can benefit critical business functions. Remember, the network failover device is a gateway that doesn’t need to only work when the internet goes down.

Within a hotel setting, predictive maintenance can be used to keep the following items working properly: HVAC, elevator systems, water supply, kitchen equipment (fryers, refrigerators, freezers, ovens, dishwashers), lighting and ice machines. As with manufacturers, the savings is found in servicing a device prior to it failing. This reduces the cost of fixing the machine in parts and service. Additional savings include the lost money due to machine failure and by reducing the amount of service calls that is required.

Beyond the operational cost savings, the world is now full of reviews and they are not just for restaurants. For every inconvenience (no ice, can’t access records, delay in work, etc.), there is potentially a bad internet review that doesn’t go away when systems are backed up and running. Customer service is king and no company is immune to it.

Connecting the dots to provide these use cases and education on what is possible by addressing multiple client pain points is what needs to be propagated throughout the reseller channel and its end users.

Getting the integration team on board

Proposing that multiple services be rolled into one engagement for an SI then creates additional potential issues. The SI may need to integrate multiple devices and then rely on several platforms for information. Getting over the hump of streamlining this process during a “Proof of Concept” or the first several deployments is one of the challenges that needs to be addressed.

The size and resource constraints of a VAR or SI are going to drive how complex of an IoT solution the organization can take on as a new offering. Plug and play solutions such as refrigerator monitoring that essentially send a notification when there is an issue would be the ideal first solution to offer. These solutions can be taken on without tying up too many of an organization’s resources while also testing the attractiveness of this new solution within your customer base.

Educating the customer base

IoT solutions answer one to three problems for an end user, which are increased revenue, decreased cost or improved customer experience. All three of these answers will be different for each customer segment and vertical, but many times the sales pitch and marketing message is a shotgun approach that talks to everyone.

Education at the end user level needs to be specific to that customer segment, or the end user will stop reading the email or stop listening to the sales rep. Talk to the vendor about the customer segments that you will be prospecting and leverage their data points, use cases and case studies. If your target customer segment does not fit into the customers for which they have created marketing material, ask the sales rep to talk internally and find the answers for your customer segment. A vendor that you want to work with will help your company market to and navigate its valuable customer segments.