Armed with a widening portfolio of services and solutions, partners are leaning into a deeper consulting motion for sustainability.

James Anderson, Senior News Editor

February 22, 2024

5 Min Read
ESG consulting and Abundant IoT
petrmalinak/Shutterstock

Abundant IoT leader Vince Bradley and its technology advisor partners say enterprise customers are turning more and more to the channel for energy solutions and services.

CEO Vince Bradley said the energy internet-of-things (eIoT) provider is sitting at close to an $830 million funnel and is seeing widened opportunities from its new environment, social and governance (ESG) consulting practice.

Abundant IoT has offers a wide area of green solutions, including helium LongFI, LED lighting, vehicle charging stations, air filtration and various sensors that wrap around those technologies. But more recently, the firm has formalized its consulting arm as more businesses seek to establish a strategy for ESG.

Partners can earn commissions for bringing customers into Abundant IoT's consulting services, in addition to the solutions they sell.

“ESG investors are using ESG ratings, like carbon ratings, to decide who to invest in," Bradley said. "This creates an amazing path for getting into enterprise customers because they are way more focused on sustainability, which creates a whole new revenue stream for the channel."

Bradley said Abundant IoT is engaged with more than a dozen "multibillion-dollar companies." And many of those clients are coming from technology advisor (agent) partners, who view eIoT as a way to provide more value with their customers and expand wallet share.

ESG Consulting

Bradley said 75-80% of the provider's customers start in need of a top-down ESG strategy. Rather than asking for Abundant to source and install individual pieces of technology, they're looking for a road map.

“This is a journey; it's not a destination. Two of these clients had told us they were all set with IoT and energy," Bradley said. "However, when we asked them what they're doing with ESG, since we are also on an ESG journey and know all about it, that rekindled the conversation and we're doing business with them today.”

A broadened approach has proven helpful for partners as they speak to their clients about energy.

MeKenzie Bazen-Leclaire consults with customers for Profit Advisory Group. She said that she found quick traction with customers on the topic of energy, and in particular, electric vehicle (EV) charging.

Talking further with customers revealed significant interest and concerns around sustainability. As Bradley said, many businesses are courting investors who highly value ESG ratings. On the other hand, businesses worry about regulators fining for their level of carbon emissions.

The portfolio of solutions has opened up from there for Profit Advisory Group. In some cases, the businesses need help procuring the actual energy and negotiating down the costs. In other cases they want help optimizing their current water and electricity. Those and other solutions exist in the portfolio, but Bazen-Leclair said she's know longer leading with a specific product.

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"I have shifted the conversation from what once started as an 'EV-only' discussion to, 'We have a vast portfolio that can help you meet ESG requirements while also reducing your operational expenses – what is top of mind for you?'" she said.

Bradley added that partners see their customer retention rates rise from 92% to 99.3% when they sell eIoT solutions to their existing telecom customers. Those partners see the technology advisor as someone who can help them navigate a rising number of technology vendors, in addition to saving them money.

“If you're doing more for the customer, the customer is way less likely to leave you," Bradley said. "Anyone can help them with telecom; they get pitched all day and night. Everyone's knocking on the front door saying, 'Savings, efficiency!' and we walk around to the metaphoric back door and have a different conversation about eIoT and ESG, and they welcome us in."

Reframing Energy and Mobility

Bradley in his former life at tech services distributor WTG built a practice around energy. While some WTG agents sold energy solutions in addition to more traditional connectivity and voice services, Bradley said energy has grown increasingly relevant in the eyes of customers since then.

He said the energy-buyer persona has shifted drastically onto the shoulders of the CIO. Perhaps one-half of CIOs were overseeing the energy stack before the pandemic, Bradley said. That number has now gone up to about 75%.

“It used to be someone like the GM or VP of finance: people who were more operational or financial in nature. But it has ... moved on to the CIO," he said. "Digital transformation has shifted energy away from just a finance or an ops into an IT conversation, which is exactly why I love this. That's what my vision was for eIoT 10 years ago.”

There's that acronym again: eIoT. Bradley is referring to how the increased prevalence of connected sensors in these energy-related solutions has made it an internet of things. Moreover, eIoT has helped partners and customers have more productive, less nebulous conversations about IoT.

“We shift the conversation to, ‘Let's talk about IoT. Let's first talk about the digital transformation and what's going on there then we can level up into the energy which is 30% of the IoT TAM (total addressable market).’ These energy products previously didn't have sensors but now they all do," he said.

Partners Lean into eIoT, ESG Opportunities

Complete Communications has only recently entered the wholesale energy sector, but partner Kendall Schmidt said the advisory firm has found success.

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"Companies are very interested in finding ways to reduce costs, and many have not been approached about this savings angle. We saved a hotel in Ohio over $8,000 per year by locking in a wholesale rate on their electricity," Schmidt said. "The customer was thrilled. It was a fun sale; it's exciting to help your clients stay competitive."

Read more about:

AgentsSustainability

About the Author(s)

James Anderson

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

James Anderson is a news editor for Channel Futures. He interned with Informa while working toward his degree in journalism from Arizona State University, then joined the company after graduating. He writes about SD-WAN, telecom and cablecos, technology services distributors and carriers. He has served as a moderator for multiple panels at Channel Partners events.

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