Vertical Marketing Strategies for Managed Service Providers

Vertical Marketing Strategies for Managed Service Providers

Managed service providers are similar to many other businesses in that they get comfortable with a particular marketing strategy or industry and they stick with it. Maybe you prefer to market cloud computing services, but in doing so you don’t remember to market the rest of your solutions. That is both good and bad. This strategy may allow managed service providers to perfect the marketing, sale and delivery of one service, but it challenges them in duplicating that success with multiple services, products and solutions. This affects their ability to grow and remain competitive in any industry as a whole. Here’s one important piece of advice: don’t be a one-trick-pony in your marketing efforts because you are inadvertently opening the door to competitors that may be more effective in this area. Effective vertical marketing strategies for managed service providers make them look good at addressing all of the business pain and needs in a specific niche, market or industry.

Vertical Marketing Strategy Phases

Here is a complete strategy to assist managed service providers with creating an effective vertical marketing strategy.

1.   Know your industry

Consider for a moment the industry you are in. What niche markets or industries do you assist? Managed service providers assist and support companies and institutions in many different areas: shipping, education, healthcare, law, and more. Knowing your industry is more than identifying it. It involves getting to know the ins and outs of everyday operations. Don’t envision the industry as one flat, horizontal line.

2.   Start branching out

Revamp your menu of offerings and services. You need to offer a strong and attractive set of skills to potential clients. Partner with a company that understands your industry to get a grasp on what it is the professionals need. You must implement the correct services to attract the talent and the business you want and need to thrive. If you need to enter the market sooner, consider partnering and collaborating with an established leader in the industry to help you get off the ground. This will save a lot of money during the launch and development of a new service, or entry into a new vertical.

3.   Understand everything about the sale

The sale is more than closing the deal. It begins with the marketing strategy. It is time to reconsider your marketing plan and how you present yourself to potential clients. You have already researched your industry, you have honed your expertise in the field, and you have determined what it is clients need. Now sell it, but don’t try to do so on your own. Work with marketing professionals who have been through this before. You want tried and true approaches and outcomes, which comes from experience.

 

Once you have the marketing strategy down, prepare your team to make the sale. Your sales team must know about the new plans and represent your managed services flawlessly. They too need to understand the industry and the solutions you can provide. You might need to rethink the sales initiative and goals to make the most out of every contact to turn them into sales.

4.   Don’t be afraid to learn something new

Finally, don’t be afraid to learn something new to survive and thrive in the industry. Brush up on the data center skills you already have and prepare yourself to learn even more. As a managed service provider, you will be learning new facets of your clients’ business, which means you must have the know-how to keep them compliant, productive, and efficient. No one wants to spread their services among multiple providers, and with managed service providers, they shouldn’t have to. You are that strategic business partner. Technology changes, the industry changes, software changes, and needs change. Don’t be afraid to change and adapt too. Then and only then; when you realize you haven’t learned it all, will you be prepared to build a strong and effective vertical marketing strategy.

 

You are the expert in managed services. Now become the best expert in your industry. Invest in your company, your infrastructure, and yourself for better results. With these vertical marketing strategies for managed service providers, you can show new clients that you are the best solution for all their IT needs.

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How to Use Events to Sell More Services

How to Use Events to Sell More Services

Finding time to market your services as an IT provider can be challenging. No business owner wants to throw a ton of money into marketing and sales tactics if they’re not going to see a return on investment – so choosing the right activities to focus your time and effort on is important. An often overlooked method for marketing your IT services is through events. If you’ve never hosted an event, this may seem a daunting prospect, but there are a few types of events that don’t require a ton of time to organize, won’t kill your marketing budget, and offer a good return on your investment.

Host a Lunch and Learn

Inviting people to enjoy a free lunch is a great way to get your presentation in front of multiple people at the same time while not breaking the bank. You can host a catered lunch and learn in your own conference room or book a banquet room in a restaurant. Engage with your strategic vendor partners to help with the costs and the presentation.

The key to successful lunch and learn events is to keep them to about an hour – the typical length of the corporate lunch break. This means you need a presentation that is attention-grabbing, direct and to-the-point, and offers a good mix of educational content and sales. Aim for the 80/20 rule; with 80% of your content providing valuable information your prospects can learn from and 20% offering information about your services. Make sure to leave enough time before and after the lunch for networking and scheduling follow-up appointments with your attendees.

Schedule Regular Webinars

Use GoToMeeting or Skype for Business, or any other online service that allows you to present your screen to multiple online attendees with audio, to educate your prospects on a new topic every month or so. You could host a cybersecurity information session, or present on how to avoid becoming a victim to the latest virus to hit the digital world. You can include information about your services or offer a promotion to attendees at the end of each webinar and invite them to contact you for a limited time offer.

You can create a simple PowerPoint presentation to provide visuals for webinar attendees, and polling slides to get a better understanding of your audience. There is also the option of recording your live webinars to use on-demand in other marketing efforts later, making your time investment for each webinar more valuable to you.

Hosting a webinar is extremely inexpensive and many business owners and managers appreciate the ability to log in from wherever they are to take part in the presentation. Just keep in mind a webinar is a bit impersonal, so try to make your presentation sound as though you are talking to someone on the phone directly. You’ll get better results the better you are at sounding conversational and personable when using webinars. Allow time for people to ask questions at the end of your webinar, too.

Networking and Social Events

Join your local chamber of commerce if you are not a member already, and show up when they host networking or social events. Ask to be a speaker at upcoming events, and share security or business improvement tips with the other business owners at the events. By utilizing events hosted by other people, you start getting your company in front of new prospects and widen your networking circle.

You can also hold an open house at your own business, inviting local business owners to stop by during a certain window of time. Open houses are great for celebrating business anniversaries, to announce your move to a new office location, or can be advertised as a meet and greet for local businesses. Advertise your open house on social media, through the chamber of commerce, and if your budget allows – direct mail. At a networking-style event, you will need to get good at working your services into the conversation casually – it’s more of a conversation and less of a sale, but you’ll be surprised to find how effective it is at building relationships, establishing yourself as a trusted advisor, and growing your client list. Make sure to provide snacks and beverages along with tours of your facility, and have all of your team on hand to help in this effective networking and socializing effort.

Posted in: Marketing, Secrets to improving an I.T. Services Practice

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