Selling M2M Solutions


While on a long plane ride (which I seem to be doing a little too much these days), I re-read parts of the book, "Blue Ocean Strategy".  One interesting part of the book was how it said that forward thinking companies do a better job at looking beyond whom most people in their industry consider to be their immediate competitors and instead look to new markets/targets for their products.

This got me thinking....for M2M to truly succeed, we need to bring it into many more markets now than it currently is....in short, "bring it to the masses".  However, this may mean a different way of thinking for many of us.  Most companies define their competitors as companies who sell the same (or mostly the same) kind of product/service that you sell.  So, if you sell orange juice, you probably look at your competitors as other vendors of orange juice, which makes some sense as this is your core and existing market.  However, how many orange juice manufacturers look to capture drinkers of other juices, those who wish to improve their health (but do not currently drink juice), etc.  The same goes for M2M.  Most of us know what markets we have had successes in, but are we doing a good job positioning M2M as competition for any new markets?

Here is a list of "competitors" that most of us do not consider:

Doing nothing  
Yes, this is a competitor to M2M.  Imagine that a company has 100 vehicles that are driven daily by their employees.  For years (if not decades), they have managed to grow their company without having a real clue as to what their drivers are doing.  Many M2M salespeople are stumped when they hear that a potential customer may find value in what you are offering, but have no interest in fixing what they perceive as being status quo.  This is where the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" reference comes in....

Pen and clipboard  
Or, in the case of many industries, this can be pen and the inside of a cigarette pack!  Either way, we are talking about someone manually writing pieces of information onto a piece of paper and that information later being either manually entered into a digitalized system or kept in written form in a filing cabinet somewhere.  Again, most M2M sales people think that every customer doing this is crazy and therefore totally eager to change the instant they hear the ROI from an M2M solution...I mean, how could they not?  What is funny is how many sales professionals are stumped when they hear....."All of my employees carry multiple pens for redundancy, so it is a full-proof solution" or.... "My guys have been doing it this way for years, so has everyone else in our business" or "(fill in the blank name that has not been given to anyone in 50 years) started doing things this way and we have never changed".  Again, since it has always worked, why won't it always work in the future?

Dial-up modems  
It boggles my mind whenever I meet up with a company that sells 33.6 or 56K modems and finding out just how many they are still selling today....in the time when most people can get connections that are hundreds of times faster at their home or office!  As much as we all thought that modems died when we stopped hearing that screeching sound as our home PCs were connecting (note to all those under 20.....we didn't always have DSL connections that were always on!), this industry is far from dead.  Applications such as dial-up POS, utility metering and Out of Band Management are pumping out sales of dial-up modems every day.....and, it isn't hard to understand why.  Telephone lines are still readily available for most applications at many remote sites.  As well, dial-up technology is quite bullet-proof today, so the reliability factor is strong.  Finally, most people (at least in North America) have fixed cost plans for local calling, so your chance of going into overage on a dial-up modem is small.

Punch clocks  
I think many of us (over the age of 40, anyways) got introduced to the concept of a punch clock when we started watching the Flintstones....of course, that punch clock was a dinosaur biting a piece of stone (as I recall), but most of us got to understand that this was a system of identifying when someone started and stopped working.  Instead of using modern systems of keeping track of how many hours were worked, millions of people a day still use punch clocks to start and finish their work day.  This system may be archaic, but it is very proven technology.

Paper drawings/records  
I have to admit.....this one was not mine, and I didn't totally understand the meaning at first.  However, it makes sense when you think about it.  An organization (hospital, engineering, medical office) that uses paper based documents have a natural deterrence to using M2M in that someone has to go through the trouble of digitizing all of the previous records for the system to be totally effective.  This is incredibly time consuming and can be prone to errors if not done correctly.

So, what are some of the points that counteract these competitors? Find out in Part 2 now!

As always, let Novotech know how we can help with your M2M needs, such as antenna selection.  You can visit our web page @ www.novotech.com.  As well, feel free to reach out to me directly ....larry(@)novotech.com.  You can also follow us on Twitter (@NovotechM2M) and you can follow me personally as well (@LBNovotechM2M).