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What End Users Want From RFID Vendors

A seminar at RFID Journal LIVE! will help technology companies do a better job of communicating their value proposition to those who could benefit from their solutions.
By Mark Roberti
Konrath advocates a "foot in the door" selling strategy, as opposed to an all-out assault on the C-suites. She wisely points out that going straight to the top is often not the best strategy. C-level people frequently don't understand the compelling need for a new technology, and convincing them to deploy an enterprise-wide solution can be next to impossible—particularly in the current economic environment, and especially with a technology that is perceived as still maturing.

A better strategy, she indicates, is to target someone within an organization who has a specific business problem RFID can solve. To that end, her workshop will explain how to get that person's attention with a compelling value proposition and entry campaign. She advocates building credibility with a customer by having a small success at a lower level, then using that to gain access to those at the C-level. You'll have a strong story to tell if you follow this plan, and the credibility of having delivered value. (End users who have seen RFID deployed successfully are usually eager to expand their systems to track other assets or solve additional business problems.)

Based on what I hear from end users, this seems to be the correct approach. Those deploying targeted projects also need to build credibility within their organizations, and they require vendors that can help them do so. I was speaking to a retailer last week at the National Retail Federation's Big Show 2010 event. "There's a lot of talk about transforming retail and deploying end-to-end systems," he told me. "The reality is, if I go to the CIO and say we need to deploy an enterprise-wide RFID system so we can collect and analyze data to deliver the right mix of product and have it in stock all the time, I will be booted out of his office before you can say 'item-level visibility.'" End users want to deploy small systems that deliver benefits and can scale over time into a "smarter retail" solution.

I don't expect Konrath's approach to lead to miracles overnight, but it can build credibility with customers. And when we focus on helping customers' succeed, we succeed.

Mark Roberti is the founder and editor of RFID Journal. If you would like to comment on this article, click on the link below. To read more of Mark's opinions, visit the RFID Journal Blog or click here.

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