02 Jan The Internet of Things, Part 1: What Every B2B Business Must Understand
You’re in good company if you think about the Internet of Things (IoT) as some science-fiction notion cooked up by tech geeks in Silicon Valley. However, the IoT is rapidly becoming a digital driver that B2B businesses must understand to stay competitive.
Are you old enough to remember the advent of the internet, voice-over IP, Facebook, Zoom meetings, and text messaging? There was a time when each of these platforms which now drive B2B revenue were thought to be nothing but crazy fads that would never catch on.
Your Customers Want Insights Not Solutions
In 2012, Harvard Business Review called solution selling obsolete. They argued that “B2B buyers are coming to the table more prepared and. . .in many cases, they’ve already honed in on a desired solution.” In August 2018, Forbes declared a new era of insight selling in B2B sales. Insight selling leverages “trust and rapport with buyers” Sales professionals must “come to the table prepared to be a proactive source of value for customers. They must have a deep understanding of buyers and buyers’ business objectives.” Forbes noted that a full “94% of B2B decision makers are now seeking out sales teams that exhibit specific insights into their company’s problems.” This is a trend that B2B business cannot ignore. And, the IoT provides a host of tools to gain prospective customer’s trust, help prospective and existing customers deepen market insights, and help existing customers achieve their business goals.
What is the IoT?
So, what is the IoT? Business Insider describes it as “any stand-alone internet-connected device that can be monitored and/or controlled from a remote location. ” Do you use Amazon Echo or a Fitbit? Can you control your thermostat or lights from your smartphone? Can you start your car remotely from the comfort of your kitchen? This is the IoT at work. And, with computer chips getting smaller and smaller, the number of devices that can connect to the IoT is growing rapidly.
Like Facebook and YouTube, the IoT has grown up in the consumer space. The media buzz has caused many B2B businesses to dismiss the IoT as another consumer fad of little use to businesses outside the B2C space. But, consider the myriad uses of Facebook and YouTube in driving B2B leads, sales, and market share today. Early adopters built a brand-loyal following in a space of low competition and now dominate the marketplace. Late adopters are spending significant portions of their marketing budget to try to catch up in the digital space.
Furthermore, as the IoT has moved from a novelty to an array of in-demand IoT capable devices, an IoT ecosystem is beginning to evolve. Consumers, businesses, and even governments are looking for more effective ways to connect IoT devices across sectors. Applications include remote control devices, scanners, dashboards, data analytics, data storage, and even security. The development of a complex, interconnected IoT ecosystem will exponentially increase the demand for IoT research, development, services, and products. And, the majority of this growth will occur in the B2B space.
The Business Value of the IoT
Business Insider predicted that by 2020 there will be 24 billion IoT devices, or four devices for every person on planet Earth. Given that 80% of the world’s population lives on $10 a day and only half have any internet access at all, that’s more like twenty devices for every person in the developed world. Business Insider added, “While $6 billion will flow into IoT solutions. . .those investments will generate $13 trillion by 2025.”
That’s a huge market opportunity for businesses in the developed world, especially those in the B2B space. McKinsey suggests that global IoT spending will reach $1.29 trillion in 2020. “Business-to-business applications will account for nearly 70 percent of the value. . .nearly $5 trillion would be generated almost exclusively in B2B settings.”
Research by McKinsey also suggests that IoT’s interoperability “could deliver over $4 trillion out of an $11.1 trillion economic impact.” Examples of how IoT delivers value include $1.3 trillion to factories through improved line efficiency, $700 million for cities through better monitoring and flow optimization of traffic, $700 million in retail through improvements to automatic checkout, and $500 million in accident prevention on work sites.
What B2B business wouldn’t want to try to tap into the IoT market? Keep an eye out for Part 2 of this series, “The IoT and Subscription Businesses.”
Learn more about the Internet of Things services provided by Blusynergy.
Meanwhile, if you’re curious about how the IoT can accelerate your business success, give one of our BluSynergy sales consultants a call at 731-468-6423.