The amount you should budget for marketing should be determined in part by your organizations’ annual gross revenue. The average IT solution provider will allocate 3-5% of their annual gross revenue towards marketing, while Best in Class solution providers will allocate 8-10%. If you are going to outsource your IT marketing efforts, consider investing no more than 5% of your annual gross revenue to outsourced activities, as you will want to leave wiggle room for your own internal marketing initiatives as they come up.
Developing a Client Solutions Roadmap for Existing Clients
Once you’ve determined your IT marketing budget, allocate a portion of it to attract new clients, and a portion to develop new business within your existing client base. A client solutions roadmap is a great way to uncover these new opportunities with your existing clients.
Create a spreadsheet that lists all of your services and solutions across the top row. Then list the clients you have ever performed service for down the first column on the left side of the spreadsheet. Match the services across the top row with the clients in the left column and color the corresponding cells green or red, based upon whether or not the client has purchased that service or solution from you (green = yes, red=no).
This will provide you a quick and easy way to visualize how much opportunity there is to market your services to your existing client base. Just look at all of the red cells and develop a marketing campaign and sales process for one primarily “red” service or solution at a time.
The next step is to engage with each one of your clients until they say yes or no to that particular service or solution. Once you have exhausted the list for one “red” solution, move on to marketing the next one. Repeat this process one solution at a time until each of your existing clients has been presented each and every one of your products and services.
This exercise is an excellent way to jump-start your marketing efforts, as your most immediate ROI will typically be realized from within your existing relationships, rather than from a cold market. When determining which solutions to market first, identify the low-hanging fruit in your solution stack that is easy for you to market and sell based on its value proposition, need and appeal. Next, focus the delivery of your marketing campaigns first to your “A” clients, then “B” clients, and finally “C” customers to accelerate your marketing ROI.
When determining your solutions to go to market with for new clients, you should consider a few important points.
- Initial Appeal and Need – The solution not only has to have good market potential, but also must serve as a great “foot in the door” solution that will influence a prospect to engage with you. Remember, a prospect has no idea of the depth of your technical expertise or how well you deliver support and service until they sign up as your client.
- Suitability and Low Barrier to Entry – Look for solutions that complement a prospect’s existing IT environment and do not require a significant investment. Most prospects prefer not to get “married on the first date,” so your first proposed solution should be one that does not require a deep relationship in order to close. This also makes it easy for new sales professionals to begin generating sales more quickly because you can narrow the focus of their training to selling those solutions first, then over time ramp them up to selling your other deliverables. This will make it easier for them to go back to the clients they have already sold the initial solution to, and close them on additional services.
- Plan for the next Solution Quickly – A good strategy for getting this done is to visit your clients regularly. A great way to grow the relationship with your clients and their staff is to bring along bagels or donuts for the staff when you visit. Your client’s staff is a great resource for providing information about their current IT environment and pain. This information can be used to your advantage in discussions with the decision maker as tie-down points when discussing additional service and solution opportunities with them.
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