How to successfully sell to fleet owners in the rapidly evolving fleet market
What worked for business development to fleet owners in the last 5 years will not work in the next 5 years.
What’s been happening?
More like, what hasn’t been happening! The commercial transportation sector has exploded with technology innovation, new business models, and a constant flow of new products and services. This led to a rapid rise of solution providers in asset tracking, telematics/GPS, ADAS, ELD, eDVIR, and SaaS bringing the cloud to the roads. 3G gives way to 4G then 5G. Analytics and AI, regulations and court rulings … they all add to the head-spinning mix.
Go-to-market dynamics are changing rapidly. Companies may compete with someone today, then partner with them tomorrow, and vice versa. Customer needs are evolving fast with the technology revolution.
All this is great news, as it’s attracting new investments and companies into this market.
It’s exciting, and also brings challenges to succeed.
Business development is lagging in recognizing these new realities.
Too many seem steeped in old school techniques. Sales organizations are pounding the same prospect lists such as magazine subscribers and associations. They buy lists and dump them into Salesforce. This has led to contacts on lists, like fleet managers and business owners, getting an avalanche of calls and emails.
Yes, sales are happening, but this could be so much better for everyone!
The market is getting crowded and competitive. Early entries had room for trial and error until they found their niche/fast growth areas. There’s a lot of noise now, so it’s harder today to find net new buyers of your product or service. You’ll run into installed competitors.
So you have to look at a different strategy to build on your strengths …
What’s been working well?
Despite the dramatic shifts, we found a common pattern in those with growth and momentum:
- Operate as if the target market is finite
- Position clearly in niche markets
- Build a strong prospect database program
Let’s look at each of these …
1. Operate as if the target market is finite
Because the market is shifting more than growing, it’s important to recognize that any list of target companies is finite. Even if sales of a product category or service are growing, it does not mean the numbers of companies in your target sub-market will grow at the same rate – or that new companies are entering.
There is also a key customer trend: fleet managers are increasingly buying complementary products. They want solutions that integrate with other solutions they already own. We are seeing this “convergence” dynamic with the proliferation of technology solutions, with one example in telematics/GPS units and field service.
It is crucial to pinpoint the realistic addressable market for your opportunities, and align prospecting and lead gen to this market.
2. Position clearly in niche markets
Many innovative companies get their start with one solution. But while there are exceptions, solutions that solve one problem or use case are competing less effectively against product suites from a single vendor.
So, smaller companies that fill specific gaps must focus on dominating a niche and gaining critical mass there. And meanwhile, develop new products and services to further penetrate the market.
Succeeding in these circumstances requires – first and foremost – a deep understanding of customers:
- Identify the best existing customers (could be based on revenue, subscriptions, vehicles)
- Track prospects with the fastest pipeline progress from lead to sale, to get insights from conversion to close
- Create metrics to track customer value, measured by penetration, upsell and renewal
This focus on positioning also helps you tell your story better to new prospects.
3. Build a strong prospect database program
The current state for many companies is to buy ad hoc lists and dump data in Salesforce to make dials and send emails. This is a very one-dimensional approach to prospecting. With this approach, data is captured once and it quickly goes obsolete.
Instead, marketing and sales teams that build a 360 view of their prospects in a database can gain long-term success because they have multiple contacts, data is refreshed continuously, and so the database is more reliable all the time.
To prospect successfully in the competitive fleet market, download this sheet with tips to:
- Know your market well
- Know your buyers even better
- Capture knowledge in a prospecting database
Originally published on LinkedIn.
President & CEO at Valgen
Rainmaker extraordinaire for our clients. Turns databases into gold. Analytics executive and entrepreneur with a track record of producing significant and sustained revenue gains for sales teams in transportation, high tech & financial services.