Selling spatial data is hard work. Whether you are selling to corporations, SMEs, or government customers, it’s difficult for both the buyer and the seller. Here is why.
It’s hard to understand
Spatial data tends to be very technical in nature, making it difficult for a buyer to define exactly what they are looking for and hard for sellers to help them understand their offering and how it adds value. While spatial data is nothing new, most new prospective users have hardly ever used it.
In a greenfield market, your prospects do not really know how to ingest what you are offering or how to activate it to their benefit. This means that, as a seller, you spend a lot of time educating your potential customers and developing solutions to make ingesting your data into their workflow easier. This creates a huge workload for sales and solutions engineers at the bottom of the sales funnel, where the speed of conversion can slow down dramatically. That’s not what we like to see happening.
Pricing, licensing, and negotiation
The pricing of spatial data products is hardly ever clear to new prospective buyers and being unclear about your company’s bunsinemodel hurts conversion rates in the sales funnel. Prospects simply peel off when they can’t accurately and easily predict what they will be spending. Providing certainty and clarity to the price of your offerings adds value that buyers are willing to pay for.
Another point worth making when it comes to pricing, is the fact that buying spatial data is often a process of negotiation. Buy a little more, to pay a little less. Pay upfront or become a gold partner… these negotiations slow everything down! Buying spatial data can really feel like booking a flight: you are guaranteed not to have paid the same amount as the person sitting next to you and these processes never leave you with a good feeling.
When the hurdle of understanding (and agreeing to!) pricing is overcome, there is still the license that needs to be understood. Data licenses can easily be over 15 pages thick. That’s a lot to go through, commit to, and keep track of for prospects looking for solutions to their problems. They would much rather steer away from that kind of complexity.
A broad spectrum of preferences
Different organizations and different professional groups consume and ingest spatial data very differently. This makes it hard to find a uniform way to deliver data that fits each of your customer personas. As such, a lot of time is spent on formatting product delivery in a way that makes everyone who gets in touch with your product happy. Here, interoperability data infrastructure would be a great boon. Unfortunately, the market is still dominated by licensed software solutions that serve a selective crowd of professionals.
To grow the geospatial industry and the impact that it makes, we need to make some changes.
- Data needs to be easy to understand and easy to ingest, regardless of a users’ starting point.
- Business and pricing models need to be beautifully obvious, with as few restrictions as possible
- Interoperable delivery should be the standard.
Let’s understand these lessons, be helpful to our customers and grow this beautiful industry!