For managed services providers (MSPs) and value-added resellers (VARs), standing out in a crowded marketplace takes time and effort. Your solutions, services, and expertise are crucial in achieving a competitive advantage. But winning new customers requires more than great technology. You must first get a foot in the door.
B2B buyers seek out information before they make a purchase. Netline’s 2023 Content Consumption Report found that IT general management, senior management, and software professionals consume the most content of all the active job functions studied.
That makes the case for ensuring you offer content regarding your products and services that meet this demand for information. Content that leverages and spotlights existing customers can be an especially valuable key for helping you unlock prospects' doors. But, when it comes to B2B buyers, not just any content will do.
Trust Comes First for B2B Buyers
Gartner says that most buyers—86 percent—say “verified reviews” are important. How important? The 2023 State of B2B Software Reviews Survey Report found that B2B buyers trust indirect information sources—like analysts and customer review sites—16 percent more than vendor information. The same survey reported that these buyers use review sites throughout the buying process.
Buyers also look to third-party endorsements when searching for vendors. Informa Tech’s 2023 Trust in Marketing Index found that 46 percent of B2B buyers most trust shared content. But that doesn’t mean your marketing should exclude customer endorsements: In response to the question of how B2B marketers can build trust with them, the same study found case studies topped the Trust in Marketing Index’s list of “trust boosters” at 42 percent.
Clearly, building trust with prospects and convincing them you are the best choice to meet their needs requires social proof—evidence that others have purchased and found value in your products and services.
Your Customers Are Your Best Salespeople
Your existing happy customers can become your most powerful selling tools, proving that you deliver on your promises. Engaging your customers in sharing their positive experiences working with you gives you credibility with prospects.
One of the challenges many MSPs and VARs face is convincing customers to take the time to support their marketing efforts. Therefore, including a clause in your contracts that commits customers to participating in those efforts is a good idea. You can assure prospects that you will respect their time and appreciate their participation.
Appreciation can best be shown by rewarding customers for their involvement. For MSPs and VARs, that could come in the form of discounts on future purchases, free upgrades, and additional services. Other options include access to exclusive content or events, gifts or gift cards, charitable donations in their name, and more. You can even offer up a menu of ways customers can participate, listing rewards based on their level of participation.
Leverage Your Customers for Compelling Content
A good starting point for integrating your customers into your sales and marketing efforts is case studies and video testimonials.
These tactics require little time and effort on your customers’ part—a half-hour interview with a qualified writer and a quick review and approval of the final content—but deliver a powerful sales punch. Video testimonials no longer require onsite production, as many video producers can handle the entire process remotely, so they are well within your marketing reach.
Customer case studies and video testimonials should be a core element of your marketing efforts, from initial engagement through closing the deal. Share this content on your website and sales presentations and employ them as calls to action in your direct marketing efforts. Highlight customer quotes throughout your online presence and sales materials. You can also ask your customers if they’d be willing to take reference calls from prospects to share their experiences on a case-by-case basis.
Harness Your Customers’ Industry Knowledge
According to a recent Forbes article, a customer advisory board (CAB) is a catalyst for customer-centric innovation. Your customers' wealth of knowledge about their customers’ needs, marketplace changes, and the competitive landscape can be an invaluable resource for MSPs and VARs. Establishing a CAB enables you to leverage that knowledge to strengthen your offerings, improve customer service, and identify new opportunities.
Provide incentives for customer participation and schedule regular CAB meetings to demonstrate your commitment to hearing their thoughts and opinions. Then, put a process in place that enables you to take that valuable input and turn it into actionable improvements throughout your operations, sales, and marketing efforts.
Leverage Partner Programs to Amplify Your Marketing
At Arcserve, we’re a 100 percent channel-focused company, ready and motivated to help MSPs and VARs succeed. The Arcserve Partner Success Program helps you attract and win new business by enabling you to offer your customers the right products and supporting you throughout the sales process.
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