RFID Journal Editor Mark Roberti's Blog
RFID Deployments Rarely Start in the C-suite
February 12, 2010
RFID vendors often tell me they really want to meet C-level executives. They believe that if they can get into the C-suite, they can convince top-level decision makers that their solutions can drive tremendous value, and that once they convince the top decision makers, they'll be guaranteed to get the sale.
Unfortunately, it almost never works like that. And more often than not, the C-suite is the wrong place to start. Two best-selling authors with very different vantage points explain why.
In Geoffrey Moore's Inside the Tornado, the follow up to his bestseller Crossing the Chasm, the author says most companies are run by pragmatists who don't want to take a risk on new technologies. CIOs don't want to risk problems with their network, CFOs don't want the capital expenditure and CEOs don't want to take risks that could disrupt operations. The person who will take a risk is the one down in the organization with a problem—the individual for whom the status quo is unacceptable.
Moore says the only way to sell to companies in the early stages of adoption is to find people within an organization that have a compelling need to adopt your solution. Those folks will lobby for the new technology, because it solves their particular problems. Later, as the mainstream adopts the new technology, the C-suite will embrace the new status quo—which is adoption.
I've also been reading Jill Konrath's book, How to Sell to Big Companies, which offers smart tactics to help small technology firm sell to large, established companies. Konrath also believes small technology businesses are wasting their time trying to get into the C-suite. It's difficult to do, she says—and once you finally get in, you have no credibility, and the CEO or CIO has no reason to embrace a switch to what you are offering.
Like Moore, Konrath suggests focusing on a person within an organization who has a compelling need. She calls this the "foot in the door" tactic. The idea is to solve a small problem for someone within a big company (say, a person responsible for assets that frequently end up missing). She then suggests using that individual to get to others within the organization who can benefit from the same application, or a similar application of your solution. A few successes, and you can get introduced to people higher in the organization, and then sell them on the benefits as well—but now, you have credibility.
We've invited Konrath to conduct her sales seminar at RFID Journal LIVE! 2010 (see
. I think sales and marketing executives from all RFID companies could benefit hugely from hearing her tactics. We're offering exhibitors a low rate of $100, which could be the best $100 a technology company ever invested.
What’s interesting is that both of these best-selling writers say the same thing, even though they are looking at the same issue – getting companies to invest in new technologies – from very different vantage points. (Konrath worked for Xerox and has focused on sales strategies for technology companies; Moore is a big-picture consultant.) My own anecdotal information suggests they are right. A few innovative CEOs, such as Dov Charney at American Apparel, might be willing to invest in RFID, but most CEOs have other priorities and are happy with the status quo.
Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. To comment on this article, click on the link below.
POST A COMMENT
Be a Trusted Advisor for Attendees at LIVE! 2014
Posted on: 3/25/2014
What CEOs of RFID Companies Need to Know
Posted on: 12/18/2012
Tools for UHF Deployments
Posted on: 11/13/2012
RFID Journal Publishes Article No. 10,000
Posted on: 11/6/2012
Where to Find Good RFID Leads
Posted on: 9/27/2012
Talk to End Users About Their Business Problems
Posted on: 4/2/2012
RFID for a Good Cause
Posted on: 3/23/2012
About That Untapped Pool of Customers
Posted on: 3/15/2012
Hello! I'm Ready to Buy an RFID Solution
Posted on: 3/13/2012
Is There an Untapped Pool of RFID Customers Somewhere?
Posted on: 3/12/2012
How Small Companies Can Market RFID Successfully
Posted on: 3/9/2012
5 Common Mistakes Made by RFID Marketers
Posted on: 2/29/2012
Veterans Health Administration Seeks RTLS Experts
Posted on: 1/28/2011
How Do You Value Information?
Posted on: 11/17/2010
Maximizing Exhibitor ROI at RFID Journal LIVE! 2011
Posted on: 11/16/2010
RFID Could Reduce Return Fraud—a $14 Billion Problem
Posted on: 11/9/2010
Seeking Judges for the RFID Journal Awards
Posted on: 11/8/2010
Hong Kong RFID Awards 2010 Announced
Posted on: 10/20/2010
Some Positive Coverage of RFID
Posted on: 10/19/2010
More Musings on Moore
Posted on: 9/23/2010
More Free Advice for RFID Vendors
Posted on: 9/22/2010
Free Advice for RFID Vendors
Posted on: 9/21/2010
Inside an RFID Industry Roundtable
Posted on: 9/17/2010
Wal-Mart's President Says EPC RFID Strategy Is Working
Posted on: 9/16/2010
Are RFID-Enabled Credit Cards Safer Than Magstripe Cards?
Posted on: 9/15/2010
Technology Predictions Aren't Always Accurate
Posted on: 9/14/2010
Should We Be Tracking Kids With RFID?
Posted on: 9/13/2010
Internet of Things Event in Tokyo
Posted on: 9/8/2010
The Future is Not Inevitably Bleak
Posted on: 9/7/2010
The RFID Privacy Conundrum
Posted on: 8/27/2010
Using RFID to Improve Online Availability
Posted on: 8/26/2010
Coca-Cola Event Exploits RFID on Facebook
Posted on: 8/25/2010
Awarepoint's Big RTLS Music Video Contest
Posted on: 8/24/2010
PBS NewsHour Responds to RFID Journal
Posted on: 8/19/2010
PBS NewsHour Misinforms Viewers on RFID
Posted on: 8/16/2010
Academic Navel Gazing Continues
Posted on: 8/12/2010
A Privacy Expert’s Misguided View of RFID
Posted on: 8/11/2010
Please Contribute to the Sinclair Laing Memorial Scholarship Fund
Posted on: 8/9/2010
Using RFID to Solve Postal Address Problems
Posted on: 8/6/2010
BNET Blogger Spreads False Info About Wal-Mart and Privacy
Posted on: 8/5/2010
RFID Not at Fault in Passport Test
Posted on: 8/2/2010
Why Isn't Wal-Mart Killing the Tags?
Posted on: 7/27/2010
Privacy Nonsense Sweeps the Internet
Posted on: 7/26/2010
Thank You, Bill Hardgrave
Posted on: 7/9/2010
Staff Spread Too Thin? RFID Can Help
Posted on: 6/22/2010
ABC Eyewitness News Presents Selective Facts About RFID Credit Cards
Posted on: 5/28/2010
Presentations now available
Posted on: 5/6/2010
Do You Want to Be an RFID Gorilla?
Posted on: 4/2/2010
Why Contextual Marketing Works
Posted on: 3/30/2010
Would Geoffrey Moore Validate Your Business Model?
Posted on: 3/17/2010
The Biggest Mistakes Vendors Make at Trade Shows
Posted on: 3/9/2010
The Biggest Mistakes RFID Marketers Make
Posted on: 2/28/2010
When Will RFID Become a Mainstream Technology?
Posted on: 2/23/2010
Build the Whole RFID Solution
Posted on: 2/18/2010
Posted on: 2/12/2010
Be wary of hotel solicitations
Posted on: 2/7/2010
Posted on: 2/5/2010
Welcome to the all new RFID Connect
Posted on: 1/26/2010
Founder and Editor
Add them to my Contact List
Recommend this blog
Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. His blog focuses on all aspects of radio frequency identification and related technologies.
Latest Blog Posts
Miniaturization of RFID sensor tags
Le grand flop du paiement sans contact ? Sondage, réalité et French « French bashing »
security NFC card reader
January 2015 Newsletter
NFC Tag with GPI Trigger
RAMP RFID SOLUTIONS GETS ISO 9001:2008 CERTIFIED