Approaching IoT for the first time can be daunting for even the most established partners. Here, Dan Cunliffe, MD of Pangea, shares some valuable insight on where to start and asks the question which should be at the front of every partner’s wanting to get involved in IoT, should you sell IoT solutions or IoT products?
Working within the partner channel, it’s key to begin with asking your prospect / clients what the “thing” or challenge is that they are trying to overcome when setting out to sell IoT products or solutions. Identifying where IoT fits within their business or simply what do they need to measure or monitor. Where are they going to get a return on investment to make sure you get the best out of the IoT ecosystem. These are all ways to open the conversation which can be a much larger opportunity.
Should we be focusing on selling an IoT product or an IoT solution? I believe that there is a place for a specific IoT product, but approaching IoT in this way can immediately narrow the opportunities to sell services into the channel and your clients. Presently, a large majority of the channel views the IoT as selling SIMs, often focusing on specific verticals. However, that is only a specific area within the IoT Ecosystem sell.
For example, we had a new partner come on board, who were only beginning to dip their toes into the IoT. They started by asking some of their clients about the business challenges they face and if they had considered where the IoT fits into their strategy. The key here for our partner was that they approached the IoT opportunity within their base by using a solution approach rather than a productised approach. We helped them further by actually working with their sales team and identifying which partners / clients were best suited to start engaging with and discovering what their IoT strategy could be.
This holistic approach will help solve the challenges the channel faces as well as the views of selling IoT solutions or IoT products. The IoT is one of the fastest growing markets in the world, yet it is not that simple to pin down in terms of productising it. The reason is that quite often the big ticket items require access to an IoT Ecosystem that will support the opportunity and eventual return on investment. An IoT Ecosystem should contain areas that solve connectivity, devices, solutions and analytics. By accessing an Ecosystem, you and your client are given the opportunity to piece together more of the value chain rather than only being the connectivity provider. Therefore, unlocking the true potential and eventual large revenue opportunities the IoT has to offer across almost every sector.
For example, you may find one of your clients are a manufacturer and are looking at understanding more about the goods they produce. There are several angles within that vertical when it comes to selling an IoT solution. You may find that the conversation moves between, logistics, proactive maintenance, energy monitoring and more. In order to be a part of these opportunities you need to be thinking more than just IoT product, you should be thinking IoT solution and beyond.
My advice is to work with your IoT Ecosystem provider and your current base. Identify clients that would be perfect for a conversation about their IoT Strategy and start building a pipeline for several millions of pounds around the IoT and the end to end capabilities, as that is where the Channel will find its next large wins.