4 Strategies to Ease Emerging Technology Supplier Challenges
Engineering and performance focus can leave suppliers with a huge blind spot: application of product to drive adoption rates.
Last month, I shared some thoughts and suggestions of the challenges distributors face getting products off their shelves and creating demand with their channel customers. When it comes to new emerging security technologies, this is significantly more challenging. To be successful, distributors will need some innovative thinking and commitment from their product manufacturer partners to make the supply chain work. What are some typical challenges?
New emerging technology suppliers typically focus their products’ ability to improve or solve problems. They pursue “problem solving” often in a vacuum. Engineering and performance focus can leave them with a huge blind spot: application of product to drive adoption rates. It is wise to consider a good marketing plan for new emerging products that fit the reality of our security industry supply chain ecosystem.
Here are some strategies that can help security industry product suppliers achieve better adoption rates.
- Have a planning meeting with the channels that would typically buy or distribute their products. These exploratory meetings will help new emerging technology companies better understand what the needs are of their customers and the end users of this product. Target and focus on three or four companies for these conversations within your ecosystem who would sell or distribute your product.
- Equally important is to have a planning dialog with the end users to gain a better understanding of what their actual needs are, what they are willing to pay, and the difficulty of implementing this technology within their current structures and budgets. End users may find your product solution interesting, but the reality is the problem you are trying to solve must demonstrate a return on investment for them to make a change.
- Consider the disruption cost, timeline and training required to implement your new solution within the channel. The key cost elements start with the distribution channel and how they train their sales & marketing teams to move that product into systems integrator buying behaviors. Systems integrators are a key element for the success, adoption rate and brand awareness of your product. They can also be one of the hardest obstacles to overcome when bringing new or revised products into the marketplace that are unknown to your channel partners.
- Understand your competition, the loyalty of the channel partners to their product, and the strength of the relationships that are already established. This is often a huge hurdle on your road to success. Do not underestimate this last point. It can make the difference between your success and your failure as a company. Your investors will certainly expect you to take these four steps to reduce their investment risk and improve revenue projections in the future.
“Crossing The Chasm,” by Geoffrey Moore, fundamentally identified many of the challenges that you will face when ramping up product sales and revenues for your solution. It is wise to fully understand your distribution and systems integration partners’ capabilities for adopting new technologies, creating new demand, and effectively performing field rollouts. How will they market your new offering? Investigate their programs in detail to better clarify your expectations of them and their expectations of you as the supplier.
To improve your chances for success, gaining insights from experienced and knowledgeable security industry experts can be exceptionally valuable to your planning, execution and choice of business strategies. Choosing the right individual should involve a thorough dialog to understand if they have successfully helped to implement new technologies into the security field across a broad spectrum of the supply chain. Additionally, it is important that you have chemistry with that advisor who matches your culture, expectations and your ability to listen and absorb the coaching your will receive. Be wary of “posers” who will talk a good game but in fact may be “faking it until they make it” at your expense.
In my experience working with many brands that have emerging technologies or are repositioning their offerings, I’ve found that a short, immersive, objective assessment engagement with the right “coach” provides a litmus test to their current thinking, plans and dreams. This is a smart investment. Also be aware of your own leadership/founder bias to keep an open mind. Final decisions are always yours as well as the business outcomes that will follow.
In closing, make sure you are diligent in doing your homework with the entire ecosystem that you plan to thrive in. Next month, I will share insights on the challenges systems integrators face adopting emerging technologies.
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