A lot of CEOs of managed computer services firms got their starts decades ago, in the 1980s and 1990s, coinciding with the rise of the PC and local area networking.
During that time, many VARs and IT consulting firms were built up by word of mouth and personal networking. And if you wanted to pour more gasoline into your growth engine, you turned to channels like print advertising, direct mail, trade show booths, and cold calls.
Old Habits Die Slowly…and Open the Door for More Aggressive IT Services Competitors
Today, it’s a completely different ball game.
Now with disruptive forces like search engines, social media, mobile devices, cloud computing, and selective consumption, you find a much more empowered buyer doing a ton of research on their own before they are ready to even talk with your firm.
Depending on who you ask, anywhere from 57% to as much as 90% of a prospect’s decision-making process is being shaped by self-directed research.
This presents a big challenge for long-time CEOs of managed computer services companies. Why?
If your firm gets found early enough, it’s a great opportunity to earn a seat at the table as a trusted business advisor and dramatically shape the prospect’s view of how to solve their problems.
However, if your firm is invisible during the research and consideration stages of the buyer’s journey and you only engage at the decision stage, it’s usually too late to educate, challenge assumptions, and earn trust. And you’re strictly relegated to being a commodity broker.
Competing in Today’s Managed Computer Services Marketplace
Is the leadership team at your firm on board with the new realities of today’s buyer’s journey for managed computer services?
Or is your company’s leadership team in denial that so much is taking place before prospects are ready for a conversation with your sales team?
For example, do a simple keyword search on a relevant search term such as “managed services” in some keyword research tool that displays the number of monthly searches.
In this example, you can see about 2,900 people per month within the U.S. searching for “managed services.”
Now most will want to get more specific in your keyword research, perhaps targeted to a vertical market or a geographic area.
And when you really understand what your potential clients are looking for when they search, it’s possible that this is not even a keyword phrase that’s worth going after.
What it largely comes down to is understanding who your ideal clients are and what’s really going on in their minds --- not what you want to be going on in their minds, but what actually is going on in their minds during their active research process.
Does your CEO “get” it? Does your company have helpful, educational content on its blogs, on its website, and posted on its social media channels? As a trusted advisor, are you earning a seat early enough in the buyer’s journey? Share your take in the Comments below.