Originally posted as a LinkedIn article.

You know that #WaterTech sales have an 18-month cycle, right? And that water utilities are slow to adopt new technologies because they are risk adverse? And that the market is fragmented?
Why would anyone want to sell in this environment? It’s slow, complicated and low margin.
Or, perhaps that is simply the echo-chamber you are living in. I lived it for nearly 10-years before realizing that while all the above is mostly true, it need not apply to YOU.
As a sales professional in the water sector – some argue one of the most resistant industries to change – you probably used all these excuses for not reaching goals. (I know I did.)
But you must resist using these reasons as an excuse. Here is why.

1)     You can overcome the 18-month sales cycle

Alternative procurement methodologies.
Triangulating inside the utility (more on that in another post).
Selling as a service.
There are multiple ways to reduce the 18-month cycle. If it truly is 18-months, build a solid backlog and pipeline (see #2 below).

2)     Slow adoption curves for a reason

This is true. Really, for servicing the public, I am OK with most water utilities NOT always using the most cutting-edge technologies, Because sometimes they break. Or the company does not make it. Or the solution simply does not provide a large enough return on investment.
In any case, if your technology really is cutting edge, take a more appropriate route. Get it into the early adopters’ hands with a group like Isle Utilities or WEF’s LIFT program. Use the tech in other industries to de-risk it – like oil and gas.
Hustle. Build a backlog and pipeline for your business. Whatever you do, don’t stop after your first or second or fifth sale. It’s an additive business, so understand how to build a pipeline of opportunities and sales.
(It also sucks to be too early to market with a great solution. So find the right market at the right time.)

3)     Navigating fragmented markets can be a competitive advantage

For sure, the market can feel like a desolate wilderness with an occasional mirage. Use that to your advantage. Find the segmentation that you can sell to and use those clients as a reference point.
I have not seen many companies that truly segment the water utility industry and look at the underlying data of their potential customer base.
An upside to water industry fragmentation is that it’s hard to navigate. If you can master that, it can be a huge competitive advantage.

4)     Slow, complicated and low margin

Hangovers from the first three reasons. These resonate loudly in the echo chamber. Once you can escape the chamber, you’ll see new ways to market and sell your technologies. I’ve seen it (and done it) with water utility focused firms.
We also encountered it as we started helping our customers navigate the complicated world of water right markets and transactions. We quickly realized that escaping the echo chamber was a requirement to success  – otherwise we would succumb to it’s constant drumming.
Interested in exploring new ways to accelerate sales with water utilities? Shoot me a note. We are considering bringing a new offering to market with some of the brightest minds in this space. Participation would be limited, so only a few spaces are available. We want to share our market, technology and sales knowledge with you to increase sales in 60-days. What do you think?

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