Over the last few weeks I have been reading the 2009 OCETA SDTC Cleantech Growth & Go-to-Market Report and wanted to provide some feedback on the sales and marketing section in particular given that is our area of core competence.
The report makes mention of 3 key things to consider from a marketing and sales perspective including:
- Engage Government
- Be Selective about Channels
- Sell into Networks
Overall these are good recommendations but I feel they have missed a few key points that I want to focus on in this blog.
Engaging governments is a lot of work and takes a tremendous amount of time. Rather than look to do this yourself I would instead look to utilize a trade group or organization to help fulfill your lobbying efforts e.g. ONEIA (Ontario Environmental Industries Association).
Rather, spend your time on understanding the variety of government funding vehicles or incentive programs that are available. In Ontario, the Investment Accelerator Fund and The Conservation and Demand Management Program are a couple examples. By taking the time to better understand the funding & incentive landscape you can either find additional sources of funding to fuel your growth or improve the ROI for your end clients. If the latter, be sure to include this in your value proposition and sales collateral. Given the economic climate you need any edge you can get to help reduce sales cycles.
Being selective about channels is a very good idea. I would take this one step further. You need to proactively manage your channel or reseller partners. Don’t take for granted that once set up, they will simply and proactively sell your product. Be sure to keep your partners actively engaged by running product education sessions, providing corporate updates etc…Also, feel free to refer to Mark’s March 10th blog titled “Creating a Successful Sales Channel” for more channel building insight.
Another recommendation I have is don’t feel like you can’t employ a direct business to business sales model separately or in conjunction with your channel/reseller strategy. Sometimes beginning with a direct model is much simpler as you are not relying on the motivation of others to sell your solutions. You are the expert and there is no one better to sell it than you. Once you have figured out the value proposition, created some demand, you can at that point get channel partners and resellers involved if appropriate.
The final recommendation of the report was to “Sell into Networks”. The title is misleading at least to me. I envisioned “selling into networks” as leveraging your contact base or those of your teams to drive sales. In the report though they discuss “selling into networks” as selling into large entities with numerous locations such as a commercial property management company that owns retail malls. The idea being that once you land one location, you can quickly land additional ones. I would even more simply identify what your top one or two target markets are, identify the key players in those markets and execute on a sales strategy to get to them whether they be companies like Brookfield Properties or others like RIM or TD.
Happy Earth Day!
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