Next to AI, the Internet of Things (IoT) has long been hailed as a transformative force, promising to revolutionize industries and reshape the way we live and work. However, the reality has not quite matched the lofty expectations set by analysts. While the consumer markets have been faster to adopt, other sectors have been slower,  especially in the industrial B2B space.  The IoT market’s growth has been slower than anticipated. The question is: Why? For CEOs of small and medium-sized IoT businesses, understanding and addressing adoption barriers and dynamics is crucial for devising and implementing effective Go-To-Market (GTM) strategies.

  1. The Gap Between Projections and Reality:

Analysts’ forecasts painted a picture of explosive growth in the IoT market. However, the actual pace of adoption has been more measured. We are still seeing the pattern that IoT project don’t progress beyond pilot stages into full deployments. This disconnect raises important questions about the readiness of the market and the challenges that IoT product and solution providers face in overcoming adoption barriers the enterprise sector.

  1. The Challenge of Crossing the Chasm in IoT:

The concept of “crossing the chasm,” coined by Geoffrey A. Moore, refers to the difficulty of transitioning from early adopters to the mainstream market. In the context of IoT, this challenge is amplified.

When we examine Moore’s concept, we are beginning to see some differences between mainstream technologies and the diverse IoT space. When it comes to the connected world, the product/market fit is very use case specific. The fragmentation of technologies, with an overarching focus on security further complicates the process of finding a universal entry point for broad adoption. Why? Because it relies on two things: repeatability and scalability. Both are highly contextual depending on customer needs. Moore’s premise that we need to provide a “whole product” to stimulate market adoption takes a Go To Market model really next level.

  1. Use Case Specificity and Fragmented Technologies:

IoT solutions are highly specialized, tailored to meet specific industry needs. This makes it challenging to develop standardized products that can easily cross over into different sectors.  For example, asset tracking is a term that can encompass hundreds of use cases with very different requirements. Just because there is a solution that can track a container with broccoli, does not mean it can track a beer keg. Moreover, the technological landscape remains fragmented, with various communication protocols and standards vying for dominance. In addition, there is no right or wrong technology choice – it depends on the right fit-for-purpose.  CEOs must grapple with this complexity when formulating GTM strategies.

  1. The Learning Curve of the Market:

The IoT market is still in its learning phase. Enterprises are figuring out how to evaluate, procure, and implement IoT solutions effectively. There are very few large system integrators that have mature IoT practises going beyond the strategic aspects. This learning curve poses a challenge for vendors, requiring them to not only prove the value of their products and their operational viability,  but also educate potential customers on the broader benefits and implications of IoT adoption.

  1. The Disruptive Nature of IoT:

IoT is a disruptive technology, demanding significant change management efforts from businesses. CEOs must acknowledge that the adoption of IoT goes beyond simply incorporating a new technology; it necessitates a shift within organizations involving process changes. We are already seeing new business models disrupting traditional markets. Just like we have seen “born in the cloud” businesses not so long ago who wiped the floor with traditional incumbents, we are in the early days of “born in IoT”. However, we are seeing resistance and change fatigue which need to be acknowledged in GTM strategies.

  1. The Team Sport of IoT:

Unlike traditional product offerings, IoT is a team sport. Vendors collaborate with industry subject matter experts and other technology providers to deliver comprehensive solutions. This collaborative approach often involves navigating uncharted territory, as many implementations are the first of their kind. Margins can run slim with many players in the game. CEOs need to foster effective partnerships to ensure the successful delivery of end-to-end solutions.

  1. Complexity Beyond the Four Ps:

In the brave new connected B2B world, the traditional four Ps of marketing—product, price, promotion, and place—do not tell the full story. The complexity of IoT introduces additional layers of consideration, including people and partnerships as well as razor sharp focus. Successful GTM strategies must extend beyond the traditional marketing mix to encompass the intricacies of the IoT landscape.

  1. Technology Alone Doesn’t Drive Adoption:

In the past, the idea “I have a great product, and they will come” may have held true in certain instances. However, the nature of IoT solutions requires a more nuanced approach. Any serial entrepreneur would have experienced that technology, in itself, doesn’t drive adoption. CEOs must recognize that education, collaboration, and a clear articulation of the value proposition are equally—if not more—important in the connected world.

  1. The Inevitability of IoT Strategies:

While the growth of IoT may not have matched early predictions, the inevitability of its impact remains. CEOs must understand that, sooner or later, all business models will need an IoT strategy. The digitalization of physical assets, akin to the transformative wave of cloud technology, will reshape industries and redefine how business is conducted.


In the realm of IoT, the journey from product ideation to market adoption is fraught with challenges. For CEOs leading small and medium-sized IoT businesses, success lies in acknowledging the unique complexities of the IoT landscape. Crafting effective GTM strategies requires a holistic understanding of the use case specificity, the collaborative nature of IoT, and the imperative for change management. By navigating these challenges with pragmatism and adaptability, CEOs can position their companies for success in the evolving world of connected B2B. The lesson learned is clear: in the IoT era, a great product is just the beginning; a comprehensive and thoughtful GTM strategy is the key to unlocking its true potential.