Because so many of those in managed IT services use the same white-labeled platforms, their service offerings tend to be very similar. This presents a huge problem for those that need to differentiate and stand out from the crowd.
In this post, excerpted from the recording of the Inbound Revenue Acceleration Webinar for Managed Services & IT Consulting, you’ll learn what you need to do today to stand apart, no matter how crowded your local, regional, or national market is.
How to Differentiate Your Company from Managed IT Services Competition and Be Seen
This question cuts at the heart of, it cuts to the chase of, the central theme of accelerating sales in a scalable, profitable, meaningful way.
As a starting point:
- Figure out why your company exists
- Determine who are the ideal clients that you’re trying to attract
Once you have an idea of who your best clients are, which really informs the decision of who the ideal clients are, for most it’s as simple as going into your accounting software and running a report that sorts by each client’s revenue contribution to your company in descending order. Or perhaps sorting by each client’s profitability contribution to your company.
Figure out who your best clients are that you’d like to clone. Or that you’d like five more of. Or ten more of.
Study the heck out of not only those clients, but also decision makers in those companies that are largely similar to decision makers in your best clients.
The Pivot Role of Buyer Personas for MSPs
The process of understanding this is called building a buyer persona.
A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of an ideal client and a whole bunch of things that are somewhat demographic, but mostly behavioral on what makes them tick:
- Their goals
- Their plans
- Their challenges
- What’s keeping them up at 2 o’clock in the morning?
- What can cause them to get promoted at work if they do a fabulous job?
- What are some of the things that can cause them to get fired if they really screw up?
- Where do they hang out online?
- Where do they hang out offline?
- What do they secretly desire the most from an MSP or an IT consulting firm like yours?
- How do they evaluate an MSP or an IT consulting firm like yours?
- What kind of experience are they looking for from an MSP or an IT consulting firm like yours?
- What do they search for on search engines?
Assembling Your Raw Research into Consensus
All of these things are hugely important. And when you start to see some commonalities between people that you’re studying, that’s when you know that you’re on the on the right track.
Sometimes this data gathering is done by in-person interviews, phone interviews, what they say on social media, and what they’re quoted as saying or writing on web pages that surface on organic search results.
Once you put all of that together and you start to see commonalities, you can group the results into buckets and you’ll know you have the beginning of a buyer persona.
A buyer persona again is a semi-fictional representation of an ideal client.
What’s the Ideal Number of Buyer Personas Needed for Managed IT Services Differentiation?
For most small- and mid-sized managed IT services providers and IT consulting firms, having much more than three or four buyer personas is a massive, massive undertaking. And in some cases, you’ll want to start with as few as two buyer personas.
What you may find also as you start to research your buyer personas, is:
- You may have thought in the past that you have multiple buyer personas.
- But your multiple buyer personas may collapse and consolidate into one.
- The big thing is that no matter how long you’ve been in your business, you are not your target market. You’re not.
So it’s really important: this can’t be based on guessing. Buyer personas have to be based on actual research from actual clients and actual prospects.
Once you have a really good handle on these buyer personas, that will inform everything going forward with how you differentiate your firm.
It will inform everything that you do with your content strategy, in terms of
- What to create blog content about
- What to create videos about
- What to create SlideShare presentations about
- Where you should hang out online
- What social media channels to monitor, publish to, and interact on
- Where and if you should hang out offline
- What trade shows and conferences to go to
More than likely, your buyer persona research will also give you insight into your own product management and product marketing issues:
- What kinds of services to provide
- How you should bundle services together
- Pricing guidelines
- Other alternatives that prospects and clients are looking at
Buyer personas are an extremely important part of getting the differentiation right.
The Role of Buyer Personas in Your MSP Sales Process
And your buyer personas will also inform who’s qualified and who’s not qualified, how to segment your leads going forward, and how they’re going to navigate the buyer’s journey – between when they first learn about your company and become a lead to the point where they ultimately become a paying client.
Buyer personas are also immensely helpful for your sales team in being able to identify whether someone is a good-fit potential client or not.
Why? Because if you’ve been in this business more than a couple of years, I’m sure you’ve experienced your fair share of clients that you’ve had to fire. And wouldn’t it be great if you could knock them out in the sales process before they ever tortured your employees.
So in order to differentiate, the foundation for managed IT services differentiation is investing in creating buyer personas. And then using those buyer personas to become the best, gosh-darned teacher on the planet at explaining what it is that you do, getting your subject matter experts out there front and center, so your website and your content become an extremely helpful resource to strangers that have never heard of your company yet.
What have you done to truly make your managed IT services firm stand apart from the competition? Let us know in the Comments below.
And if you’re looking to grow your MSP firm with world-class clients, be sure to watch the recording of the "Inbound Revenue Acceleration Webinar for Managed Services & IT Consulting."