Locally-owned computer support services face a variety of competitors; some of which are easy to beat at their own game. Others, such as national competitors, are more challenging to surpass. For many, the nationally-owned competitor is one of the more feared battles. This is especially when prospective clients are non-technical small business owners that are smitten with a nationally-recognized brand, and have relatively little experience in purchasing outsourced computer support services.
In this post, you’ll learn how to sell against “Best Buy for Business.” These are points that should come in quite handy the next time a prospective client asks, “Why should I hire your tiny little company when I can contract with Best Buy for Business?”
Best Buy for Business doesn’t actually provide computer support services. Rather it provides “commercial-grade product assortment” and support delivered through its partnership with Geek Squad. While we applaud Best Buy’s long-overdue admission that most retail store clerks lack the knowledge to give appropriate B2B IT recommendations, most computer support services have for decades employed account managers that were knowledgeable enough to provide sound B2B technology product recommendations.
The “commercial-grade product assortment” offered by Best Buy for Business is largely the same that independent computer support services can tap into through national distributors. By opening accounts with national distributors such as Avnet Technology Solutions, D&H Distributing, Ingram Micro, SYNNEX, and Tech Data, even the small, locally-owned computer support firm can compete. Not getting the discount level you need? Talk to your rep. If he or she can’t help, talk to the sales manager. Join one of the distributor’s special programs with extra discounts. Or, invest in a membership with The ASCII Group to get volume purchase agreement discounts.
Best Buy for Business attempts to transfer its brand equity to Geek Squad. While Best Buy makes no secret about its partnership with Geek Squad to provide related services, it’s clear that Best Buy is attempting to use its brand goodwill to make Geek Squad services have a higher perceived value. Of course, Geek Squad itself has built up quite a bit of brand name recognition, especially among computer support services that are often called in to complete tasks and projects started by Geek Squad.
Best Buy for Business and Geek Squad both have a LOT of fixed overhead to cover. While the brand equity of both companies certainly aids in customer acquisition, consider the massive overhead tied to real estate, advertising, and payroll that both companies need to recoup when promoting and providing computer support services. Geek Squad, in particular, also has to invest aggressively in the same kinds of training and certification programs that independently-owned computer support services invest in. Who do these massive overhead costs get passed along to? Of course, its customers.
Geek Squad’s staff doesn’t always come out on top when compared side-by-side with the staff of locally-owned computer support services. To encourage an apples-to-apples comparison with prospective small business clients, provide a simple comparison matrix on your website and in your marketing collateral. In the table, column (A) should list the two or three different levels of staff that you send out to clients (senior system engineer, technician, etc.). Column (B) should list resume bullet point highlights and certifications of your staff at each level. Column (C) is for your prospective clients to fill in the blanks when comparing your staff’s resume bullet point highlights and certifications with that of the staff of Geek Squad, at each level of staff experience.
Build your own partner network to knock the socks off of the Best Buy for Business and Geek Squad partnership. Most locally-owned computer support services do a lot of marketing with local organizations, affinity groups, and expos. In the course of these activities, friendships and informal partnerships often develop with a variety of trusted business advisors and technology advisors. These often include accounting firms, graphic design agencies, law firms, management consulting firms, search marketing agencies, software developers, telecommunications providers, and website designers. When these partnerships are cultivated and presented as part of the overall value proposition, computer support services truly deliver a complete, soup-to-nuts solution.
While Geek Squad is dedicated to “solving the world’s technology challenges,” most of its value proposition centers on installation and troubleshooting. Ask Geek Squad to provide an outsourced virtual CIO that can oversee support specialists, network engineers, security experts, virtualization and cloud computing architects, and software developers for both on-premise apps and cloud-based apps. Can Geek Squad deliver at this level? Can its senior staff sit in at boardroom meetings, present IT strategy to C-level execs and investors, re-engineer workflow, establish ROI targets and performance metrics, conform with regulatory requirements, interface with its clients and other IT stakeholders, create schedules for interim deliverables, and navigate harsh office politics? Maybe. Maybe not. Geek Squad isn’t principally in the business of providing outsourced replacements to IT managers or CIOs. If your computer support services firm is, don’t be shy about promoting your related case studies.
So while Best Buy for Business and Geek Squad continue to bank on their nationally-recognized brand names, there are still a number of gaps in the Best Buy for Business/Geek Squad partnership that leaves plenty of opportunity for independently-owned computer support services to thrive in their local markets.
(Also, see Competing with Computer Repair Pricing from Office Depot’s Tech Depot)
And to follow through on the tips introduced in this short article, especially if your IT support also includes SaaS and IaaS, be sure to
enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.
Topics:- Managed Service Provider MSP