May 3, 2019
By Julie Dzubay, Vice President of Sales Operations, WTG
Vertical offerings tailored to provide solutions to specific customer segments have been a go-to-market strategy for technology companies for years. Microverticals are a drill-down that creates another layer of specialization. Think of retail, with furnishings as a microvertical; financial services with wealth management as a microvertical; health care, with cosmetic dentistry as a microvertical; or CPA firms, with tax preparation as a microvertical.
The SMB market is now quickly embracing digital transformation to increase sales by differentiating themselves from their competitors and attract a generation of customers that were born in the cloud.
The desire of small- and medium-sized businesses to implement automation and artificial intelligence has created a market for more sophisticated, yet nimble, outsourced technology partners that are focused on listening to specific customer needs and have the ability to quickly develop a customized solution.
Customized applications for microverticals and the proliferation of APIs allowing the integration of applications is creating a challenge and an opportunity for technology consultants in the channel today.
The challenge is remaining knowledgeable on all of the service offerings available and providing expert direction on the best solution for your clients.
The opportunity is that many of the technologies and services used by microverticals have become available to sell through the channel. Using the channel as a go-to-market strategy has grown substantially over the years, with many providers adopting a “Channel Only” or “Channel Lead” strategy. There are a multitude of overlay resources such as engineers and specialists available for you to bring in to support your efforts.
Test a Strategy
Take advantage of the current environment by testing a microvertical strategy with some of your best clients to understand what additional revenue streams fit your business model.
You can do this by performing a deep dive education of a microvertical in your existing client base.
Leverage your existing relationship
Understand the decision-making process
Know who the decision makers are
Create a list of all business process outsourcing (BPO) partners: technology, insurance, accounting/payroll.banking, manufacturing, utilities
Understand all BPO processes and compliance requirements, manual or automated
How do all of the services and applications they use integrate?
Are they integrating as they should?
The obvious opportunity is in the technology review. Are there services they’re using that they would they be willing to purchase through their relationship with you? If they have all of the services they need but aren’t integrating them to use them to the fullest capacity, is there an opportunity for your company to provide value by…
…addressing potential integration paths? Are there opportunities to add technology to replace manual processes for a better customer experience, to enhance efficiency or provide cost savings?
Example of an expanded technology opportunity:
Microvertical: Refrigerated warehouse/storage
Solution: Refrigerator/freezer sensors replace manual inspection. Improves compliance management, provides superior reporting, increases efficiency of equipment and protects inventory with proactive alerts for issues
Perhaps less obvious are the leads you may uncover by finding a BPO partner with a manual or inefficient process that you can solve. An automated solution can result in an opportunity not only with your specific client’s BPO partner but for that microvertical of BPO solution providers.
How to Make That First Step
When I’m talking to a sales partner looking to initiate a new sales growth strategy — such as exploring microverticals — I often hear that the first step is the hardest, so here’s what I suggest:
Pick a day. Title it “Microvertical Day” and clear your calendar for the day to keep your focus, energy, creativity and excitement on this new initiative.
Review your existing base of clients for horizontals, verticals and microverticals. Identify where you have several clients in a microvertical.
Pick the right relationship for your first shot at a meeting to explore a microvertical — look for a client that will be open about their business and give you the time you need to work all the way through the process. Have them block out their day with a plan to meet first thing in the morning, followed by a round of golf. This gives you flexibility with your time so if your conversation is one hour or four, you have the time you need to complete a deep dive.
Julie Dzubay is vice president of sales operations at WTG and previously was director of indirect sales operations at Electric Lightwave Integra. She earned a master’s degree in telecommunications and marketing at Saint Mary’s University in Minnesota and a bachelor’s in psychology at the University of South Dakota. She also is chair of the Alliance of Channel Women’s mentoring committee. Find Julie on LinkedIn or follow her on Twitter @WTGCOM or @JulieZub.
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