Why Industry focus in outbound activity is important
In the Cloud Infrastructure market I work for, more than ever it is becoming a confusing market for customers to buy in to and a confusing market to differentiate ourselves to customers.
There are Cloud’s that do this, and Cloud’s that do that and Cloud’s that all do the same as each other with different technology and importantly terminology.
When I bought in to the concept of ‘Cloud Computing’ in 2006, I loved the fact this was a type of technology purchase businesses could make which offered significant financial value by turning capital costs in to operational ones.
While 11 years on from them the general concept has remained, it has become apparent that the range of impact this value has for businesses is very different across customer industries.
Size was everything
When I started out looking to take an Infrastructure as a Service offering to market, we broke potential customers up in to horizontal segments.
Number of employees, annual turnover, number of servers, amount of storage and number of offices helped me focus on who we should be discussing our services with.
Big wasn’t always best, however by knowing the size of my prospects business and IT estate, I could make some reasonable assumptions on how my service might help them.
This approach was successful for a good while, however with every man and his dog offering “Cloud Infrastructure”, prospecting to customers in this way just did not offer enough value to get noticed.
Style is everything
Over the last few years it has become more important to know much more about prospective customers than how big they are, it really has become so much more about what they do with IT that counts.
Creating any value proposition in 2017 has to be stylish. A customer (even a really techie one) needs to know immediately how what you offer them will add value to their businesses.
To offer this information effectively, the only way of being truly stylish is to know your customers industry and how they go about providing value to their customer.
Sell for them, not you
As sales professionals, we need to change the way we think from being a sales person for our company’s services, to being a sales person for our customer’s business.
Understanding what our customer needs from technology to help them be more effective selling to their customers is a big task, however it is easily achieved if you put your mind to it.
Who are they selling to now, what challenges are there in their markets, and indeed their customers industry and how might the be using technology to keep their offering cost effective and of high quality?
This, in my experience, is much easier to scale for myself if I focus on certain industries.
For example, SaaS providers whose customers are in compliant markets like Finance, Insurance and the Public Sector, need to tick many compliance boxes when selling to their customers.
Or the Finance and Insurance industry are all in a rush to innovate their technology to offer more innovative online ways of buying products to their customers. In these industries, this needs to be done with a constant eye on security and data compliance.
I know how my solutions can help these industry customers with both of those challenges and therefore focus on this in outbound discussions.
The benefit of repetition
Like anything you do, if you practice over and over again you will get better at it.
Selling in to specific markets isn’t easy. Speaking you customers language and understand their challenges takes practice. The only way to get this kind of knowledge is to do it over and over and over again until you have a deep understanding. Like always in sales this requires lots and lots of activity.
If all of your activity is in to an industry or two
What you end up with is worth it, customers prefer to have a knowledgeable sales person interact with them. This knowledge in the current market needs deep in both your products and also your customers product.