As an inbound marketing professional with my finger on the pulse of B2B revenue generation, there's one thing that I can say with certainty: if you wake up in the morning feeling like the process of marketing and selling managed services is a little bit different than it was yesterday, not to mention a year or even five years ago, it's not your imagination.
You're actually onto something pretty important that is definitely worth discussing: the modern MSP buyer has changed, probably in more ways than you realize. It’s now up to you, the MSP, to change with your buyers, or you're only going to find yourself left behind.
Adapting to the Modern Buyer
If you had to make a list of all the ways in which the managed services buyer has changed over the years, there are two key points that would be right at the top. First, they're unquestionably getting younger. According to one recent study, more than a quarter of millennials are now considered to be legitimate influencers in the world of B2B buying in general, and 13 percent are actually making the decisions on their own.
These numbers might not seem like much to write home about on the surface, but when you also consider that according to the Pew Research Center millennials have officially surpassed even generation Xers as the single largest generation in the United States labor force, it's clear that this demographic is only going to get stronger and more important sooner rather than later.
Next, consider the fact that the modern buyer is also doing more and more work outside of his or her office—but not necessarily in the way you might think. Yes, mobile usage among modern B2B buyers is on the rise, but this is just one of many channels that they're using to make their decisions.
Regardless of which device a modern buyer happens to be using at the moment, they believe that their journey from one device to the next should be as seamless as humanly possible. Not only should desktop and mobile platforms offer high quality, engaging experiences, but the transition from one to the other and back again should be just as enjoyable.
Simply put, even the act of transitioning from one device to the next is now a critical part of the buying process—and one that you must deeply consider on top of everything else as you sell your managed services to the widest possible audience.
Best Practices for Selling to the Modern Buyer
Selling to the modern buyer—and the many different versions of the modern buyer—is actually one of those areas where quality buyer personas will absolutely come in handy. Not only do buyer personas give you a much more vivid understanding of who your managed services customers actually are, but they've also been proven to lead to exceeded revenue goals, exceeded sales and consistent messaging across the board.
All of this is to say that the approach you take in terms of selling managed services to the modern buyer will absolutely change based on the particular persona you're talking about today. Because yes, understanding that your audience is now younger than ever and they want you to consider all of their devices is important—but this doesn't actually tell you much about their true personalities. You know what they're looking for and how, but you still don't know why. This is why you need to dig a bit deeper.
Consider the fact that according to a recent Demand Gen report, 47 percent of modern buyers said that they visited between three and five pieces of content before they even thought about engaging with a sales rep. But since managed services are often every bit as malleable as the customers are varied, how do you even know where to begin crafting that content?
Again—you return to the "why" of it all.
When you craft content that is intended for the modern buyer, you need to highlight not what something can do, but why it's so important. If someone is looking for alternatives to printer management software and they're interested in cloud printing, they don't just want to see a glorified technical specifications sheet.
They want to know why this is a better solution than the one they can already have. They want to know why this will help better align their IT infrastructure with their long-term goals. They want to know why you're the only provider who can unlock these benefits for them.
In other words, they're looking for what the true value actually is. Therefore, the best thing for you to do is simple: give it to them. Start with the customer, work your way back to the content and then return to the customer.
This approach represents the perfect starting point on your quest for the modern buyer's attention, their devotion and—ultimately—their purchase. Make sure that you have quality, specific content that is tailored to each of your core personas and the results you're looking for will quickly become an inevitability.
Looking for More?
As someone who has been spending their days marketing B2B businesses day-in and day-out for years, I definitely understand that the needs of the MSP customer have changed. Their preferences have been realigned. Their long-term goals as an organization have shifted and you need to do whatever you can to support them—but don’t forget the importance of finding someone to support you, too. If you'd like to find out more information about selling managed services to the modern buyer, or if you have any additional questions that you'd like to get answers to, please don't delay—contact me directly at Tech Pro Marketing today.
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