In this month’s TPM’s Takes we are discussing how important it is to understand, empathize with, and market to your target demographic. In order for MSPs to be successful at selling they need to understand what their market really cares about and then work with people who have the knowledge to really speak to those elements.
Empathy Is Key To Engaging B2B Buyers
According to a Forrester survey, B2B companies expect that over half of their customers will make purchases online within 3 years. With the B2B buyer’s journey becoming increasingly digital, relevant, targeted web content that builds empathy is critical to customer engagement. But how do you create content that builds empathy? By creating a narrative around your target customer and publishing valuable thought leadership that addresses their needs and goals. As Forrester’s Laura Ramos puts it, “the customer needs to be the primary design point for your content strategy.”
To turn your content strategy into a powerful empathy builder, you first need to identify your target customers and develop detailed buyer personas. Research what questions your target buyers are asking, and what keywords they’re using to search for answers. This arms you with the information you need to begin creating great content that speaks directly to your customers’ real-world challenges and aspirations. But that’s only the beginning.
Engaging, resonant content is never a one-and-done job. To continually build empathy throughout the buyer’s journey, you need to get inside your customers’ heads. Every customer’s needs and expectations of the cloud are different. Continue refining your buyer personas by learning about customers’ backgrounds, goals, fears, biases, management styles, and more. Go beyond two-dimensional demographic data to understand what motivates them.
Taking time to interview prospects for their unique pain points is well worth the effort. Ask probing, open ended questions and listen closely. They will reveal the benefits they want from a cloud solution.
Read Empathy Is Key To Engaging B2B Buyers to learn more about the importance of emotionally resonant content.
SMBs Associating Managed Services with Profit
Good news for MSPs: 54 percent of SMBs in the U.S. and 68 percent in Europe believe managed services help cut costs and boost their bottom line. Many also believe that managed services contribute to growth and revenue. SMBs are embracing managed services in order to save money, enhance performance and response time, improve disaster recovery and business continuity, and fine-tune their “lean” business environment.
These analyst insights show that MSPs have an opportunity to differentiate themselves by services rather than price. We advise MSPs to consider the following 5 Ways to Differentiate for MSPs Selling Cloud and take advantage of SMBs growing confidence in cloud services.
- Mobility. MSPs can ensure a successful BYOD policy by providing secure infrastructure that can be quickly accessed from anywhere.
- Security. Plainly and clearly explain how you will defend clients’ data with stronger protections and greater transparency than on-premises solutions or DIY hosting.
- Vertical expertise. Hone in on a specific niche by becoming an expert in a key vertical market.
- Partnerships. Provide a one-stop shop of comprehensive services by partnering with hosting providers and other trusted industry experts.
- ROI. Take the focus off your price point by elucidating the potential ROI of a managed cloud solution.
You do not have to employ all five differentiators, but excelling in a few of these areas can give you the combination of uniqueness you need to stand out. Read SMBs Associating Managed Services with Profit to learn more about what’s motivating SMBs to embrace MSPs.
Datto Reveals Top MSP Challenges
In Datto’s 2017 State of the MSP Report, released April 2017, 1,200 Managed Service Providers were surveyed about what they see as their greatest challenges in 2017. The survey also dove into who the decision makers are at these MSPs, which may be hurting or helping them with different aspects of the business.
The top challenges that MSPs say they face in 2017 are:
- Marketing/Sales (26 percent)
- Selling BDR (18 percent)
- Staffing/Training (17 percent)
- Growing pains (16 percent)
As a marketing firm that works closely with MSPs, we’ve seen this number one struggle as being very accurate. Many MSPs have trouble determining how to create a steady flow of inbound leads, because while they may know their products and services well, they may not know how to best present them to potential buyers.
We can also speculate a few things based on the demographics of the surveyed individuals that may be contributing to their challenges. For example, 86% of the respondents in this survey are males and 59% were between the ages of 35 and 54. The MSPs struggling with revenue generating departments such as marketing and sales could be linked to this limited demographic, considering that organizations with women in upper management are known to produce a 41% improved average return on equity (McKinsey & Co, Women as a Valuable Asset) when compared to organizations with no women in management roles.
These organizations may also be missing out on the marketing advantages of a younger demographic of employees. A higher proportion of marketing and sales activities move online every year and it’s important for organizations to have employees (or an outsourced marketing firm) that understand this digital landscape inside and out.
Would you say that these top challenges are accurate for your organization as well?
If marketing is your number one challenge, contact us today. With 16 years experience in product marketing, channel development, and sales with technology companies, TPM understands your needs and will work with you to devise and execute the marketing strategy right for your company.