November 1, 2021
I’ve written a lot about the importance of understanding who your customers are. The more you can learn about your prospects and their needs, the better you’ll earn their trust, target your message and make a connection. In this article, I want to take this one step further and talk about creating and offering micro-segmented solutions for your customers.
Your customers need or want to get better at some aspect of their business, and these areas of need or want can often be very specific to their industry. Depending on who your customer is, it could be for more efficient delivery of telehealth or something more broadly applicable, such as setting up employees to be more effective when working from home. But even with something like working from home, there can be industry-specific needs that require a segmented version of your solution.
The way we do business today has been fundamentally changed, and many organizations are moving to a more permanent remote or hybrid work model. Each industry has its own unique requirements. For healthcare, it’s the additional complexity of HIPAA. For financial institutions, it’s the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and additional regulatory considerations. Other industries may require UCaaS and collaboration tools, including video, chat, email and voice services. Some may also need to manage a virtual customer service center or move to a virtual infrastructure.
Make it your goal to become an expert about a specific industry’s particular requirements and which components of your solution can be targeted to that type of business. You can then brand your variation of the solution, using the customer’s vocabulary, so that it reflects the customer outcomes it achieves. Doing so creates a deeper relationship, positions you as the go-to expert and increases revenue opportunities.
But what if you don’t currently offer all the technologies or services your customer needs to deliver a segmented, comprehensive solution? Here is a strategy you can explore.
First, turn to your existing vendors. Chances are a vendor you are working with offers more than the products you currently sell. For example, you may work with Cox Business to offer internet and digital phone, but you also offer security solutions and cloud computing offerings through RapidScale. If you work with five different vendors, you have five different portfolios to explore. You can also reach out to your vendors to learn what kinds of solutions they see as effective in your target market. As larger companies, they will have a broader view of the landscape and more resources to do research you can benefit from.
As an SMB, you may not have the capacity to resell, implement and support all the components of a solution your customer needs. Find partners that resell those products or services to build a more complete solution. Partnering with other companies in a similar position enables you to benefit from a broader offering. You become the face of the solution, with power in numbers.
Sometimes you simply may not be able to completely solve a customer’s business challenge. If you can only deliver 50% of the complete solution, be able to explain why you are still worth working with. Customers choose the companies they work with based on both the companies’ ability to solve their specific problems as well as who they like and trust. For example, having a reputation for always delivering on time and being easy to do business with goes a long way toward earning business.
Taking your customer discovery to this next level is critical to building a competitive offering. The more you can find a solution that eliminates specific obstacles to your customers’ growth, the more you can deliver a high-value differentiator.
As a Senior Director at Cox Business, John Muscarella is responsible for the overall readiness strategy for the indirect business sales channels. His team has the primary responsibility to develop, implement and sell solutions utilizing the Cox Communications network throughout the country. John has more than 25 years of experience in business management, which includes sales and leadership positions with companies such as Polycom, Sprint and EDS.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.
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