How To Translate Technology into Opportunity for Customers
At a recent networking event in Charlottesville, Va., a panel of business owners talked about their challenges with technology. During the presentation, one of the panelists said, "Every business today is a technology business." That simple statement should be at the core of your marketing, sales and service.
Until recently, businesses used technology primarily to record transactions and report the past. Not anymore. To stay relevant, every business needs to figure out how technology moves them forward and helps them engage at a deeper level with their customers -- which is exactly where technology providers can build their value.
The challenge for many organizations, especially small businesses, is that they hear about the latest technology but can't translate how it could affect their operations. Then, when they are looking for solutions to specific challenges, they don't know the name of the technology that will help them. That means Web site text focused on the features of SharePoint or the cost savings from managed services aren't connecting with them at either level.
Align Your Message to Business Issues that Technology Solves
Helping your prospects and customers understand that you can help them translate technology into opportunity requires a different type of messaging. Instead of talking about the device, software or service that you support, take your customer's perspective:
- The HVAC company doesn't know they need to support tablets, but they want to make their employees more efficient and create a better customer experience in the field.
- The retailer doesn't know they need e-commerce integration, but they want to reach more customers through multiple channels.
- The distributor doesn't know they need a backup system, but they want to make sure that they can keep the business going if the building is flooded.
As a resource to help you transform your marketing messages, the ModernBiz campaign on Microsoft's Ready-to-Go marketing site is a start. Microsoft still seems to be struggling to fully let go of the product message, but there is some good material. You'll be more effective by adding your knowledge of the challenges of your target industry.
The Resurgence of the Free Consultation
There was a time when free consultations were the marketing staple: "Give us an hour and we'll provide a free network analysis to show you how to save money." Perhaps it's time to bring the consultation back: "Give us a morning and we'll show you how to engage with your customers at a deeper level."
The Microsoft Experience Center (MEC) program is a great foundation to bring technology alive for your clients. As we've covered before, these hands-on sessions are a powerful way to give customers a glimpse into what their businesses could look like.
Partners have never had a better opportunity to become more than a technology provider for customers. Every business owner knows that they must use technology to better engage with their customers, employees and vendors. Many of them simply don't know where to start. Change your messaging to show them that you can lead the way.
How are you helping your customers evolve through technology? Add a comment below or send me an e-mail and let's share the knowledge.
Posted by Barb Levisay on October 09, 2014 at 8:48 AM