The IoT Opportunity Is Your Customer Acquisition Strategy as Smart as Your Product?

By: Thorstein Nordby

If you want to grow your IoT company fast(er) and capitalize on this exciting trend, you need to get the basics of a sales and marketing strategy in place.

McKinsey & Company predicts that linking the physical and digital worlds could generate up to $11.1 trillion a year in economic value by 2025.

In this article, you will learn how to capitalize on the myriad of opportunities for companies like yours by getting the foundations of a sales and marketing strategy in place. 

Get buy-In from the whole organization and find your target audience

Selling IoT products can be challenging because of the fact that the people who can benefit the most from it will not always be the decision-makers. On top of that, implementing new technology often requires:

  • Training staff in new technologies
  • Hiring specialized staff
  • Upfront investment costs
  • New security measures
  • Infrastructure designed for handling IoT
  • Flexible hardware can change over time

 This can make IoT a tough sell.

However, IoT can create unexpected benefits that will get the attention of whoever controls the budget. So, how do you convince multiple decision-makers buyers to pay for these benefits?

This is why you need to expand the amount of sales touchpoints, and consider using account-based marketing to reach multiple buyers in an organization.

Instead of focusing on attracting a single individual, you need to cast a wider net and think about all the different roles and departments that can benefit from your product.

For example:

A city planner might focus on reducing a city’s environmental footprint by using air-quality sensors, creating more energy-efficient buildings, using smart traffic solutions, or have a smart system for controlling street lighting.

A government official on the other hand focuses on economic growth and wants their city to be attractive for young families and businesses. IoT can help make buildings smarter and more sustainable while providing a lot of conveniences that save a family or business a lot of time.

He who understands the customer best wins. Selling IoT is not about selling a set of features, and there is more than one person that needs to evaluate your solution.

By getting to know what each decision-maker value when considering your IoT solution, you can tailor your content, ads, and outreach for each role, account, or vertical, making your message seem highly relevant to a prospective buyer.

Create a unique value proposition for your product

IoT the subject of a lot of hype, and it is still unclear for many businesses how IoT will earn a return on investment by implementing it. This is why IoT companies need to be exceptionally good at articulating their unique value proposition (UVP).

A good value proposition explains to prospective buyers where your product fits in the market, what value the product creates and how you want the market to view it.

Ask yourself:

What makes your IoT product different from the competition? Why would a company invest time and money implementing it in their organization?

If you are in the early stages of marketing and selling your product, you need to focus on articulating how it can help companies reach their business goals and objectives with it.

This will be one of the first steps you need to take to drive awareness around your product and get the attention of decision-makers and advocates in prospective buyers’ companies.

Focus on the big outcomes like:

  • New revenue streams and improved ROI
  • Reduced maintenance costs
  • Creating new service or product offerings
  • Improved customer experience and satisfaction
  • Expanding into new markets
  • Reduce human errors by automating routine tasks
  • Improve communication between different devices (M2M), resulting in fewer inefficiencies and better quality.
  • Improved monitoring of different business processes so that productivity and efficiency are increased.
  • Improved predictive analysis by gathering large amounts of data from different sources to identify patterns.
  • Tagging equipment that helps with collecting location and sensory information from physical world devices.
  • Easily pass relevant information to digital applications and environments.                                                                          

Build awareness for your IoT solution for buyers who don’t know they need it

When you have your Unique Value Proposition (UVP), you need to start reaching buyers who do not know that they need your product. If someone could benefit from your product, but they are unaware that they have an issue or challenge, they will believe that they do not need your product.

Potential customers are not actively looking for your company or product, and your selling against your toughest “competitor”: change.

So, how do you reach them and disrupt their status quo?

Your goal at this stage should be to generate new contacts and relationships that need to be nurtured and educated over a longer period of time. To achieve this, you can use tactics such as:

  • Targeted video ads to showcase your products and services
  • Use email outreach by purchasing or acquiring a list
  • Targeted social media ads to relevant content
  • Build your network on LinkedIn with relevant contacts
  • Start a podcast for your niche audience

When you combine these tactics with a disruptive and engaging message, it will help you to make prospects aware and become leads in your CRM. 

Articulating the business value of IoT through valuable and targeted content marketing

Before a prospective buyer ever talks to you, you need to show the business value of your IoT solution. This is where you use content to go from an unknown vendor to an expert in the buyer's eyes.

This is where you distinguish your company from every other competitor out there, and makes the prospective buyer think: “I need to talk to this company”.

This needs to happen before you even meet, and is done through thought leadership. This could be through speaking or referrals, but most likely it will be by consuming relevant information on your company website.

Examples of this can be:

  • Articles
  • Infographics
  • Podcasts
  • Un-gated white papers
  • Webinars
  • Events
  • Videos
  • Calculators

 Regardless of what format you wish to focus on, here are some suggestions for where to start with creating your content marketing strategy:

  • Predict the future in your vertical and tell your market how their industry will be affected by IoT. This will give people a lot to think about.
  • Conduct an interview with a high-level executive or researcher about opportunities, challenges, successes, and so on related to IoT
  • Ask your salespeople about the most asked questions and objections they get from prospects in their sales process
  • Write about the costs associated with implementing your product (or products like it), giving the reader an answer to one of the biggest questions in any sales process: cost.

By creating insightful content and publishing them on your website, the less time and money you need to spend on actually selling your solutions.

Conclusion

To sell IoT products is not about selling a single product or a set of features. Successful companies will be exceptional at explaining the business value their products bring and get buy-in from multiple decision-makers and departments. To achieve this, IoT companies will need to articulate this business value through insightful content marketing.

 


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