As a Microsoft CSP, there are several factors that you consider predicting your chances of business success and augment your growth journey. You invest in offering best in class solutions with cutting edge features, great customer support and much more. However, have you ever felt that despite making huge investments in your offerings, you are not able to attract the top customers? If your answer is yes, then chances are the problem lies not with your solutions or your offerings, but because your target customer segment is unable to discover your CSP business. In such a situation, you need to double down on your marketing efforts to increase your visibility and exposure.
Working with CSPs for a long time, we have created this guide with all the important information you need to market your CSP business. We believe that if you are able to capitalize on the best practices mentioned here, you will find yourself in a position where your customers are able to discover your offerings and are attracted to what they see and read. Through the course of this blog, we will discuss:
- Importance of marketing for CSPs
- Tip #1: Define your USP (Unique Selling Point)
- Tip #2: Sell Value and Solutions, Not Products
- Tip #3: Package your Solutions Strategically
- Tip #4: Leverage Microsoft Resources & Incentives
- Tip #5: Track & Maintain your Marketing Efforts
Importance of Marketing for CSPs
The right marketing helps your current and prospective clients to be well-informed about your services leading to higher sales. The promotions you run, the value additions you can offer to new customers will be useless unless your target audience has a fair idea about them. Marketing can tell customers about your services and influence their buying decisions.
Marketing can not only increase sales and revenue for your CSP business but can also help you build a reputation for your brand. A good company image increases the customers’ trust and leads to longer business associations. Marketing also leads to customer engagement and allows you to form a relationship with your brand. Marketing can also be a source of new ideas. When you understand the needs of your customers, you can evolve and improve your products and services. A good brand image coupled with services that are in demand can help you beat business competition. Effective marketing is crucial for sustainable, long-term success of a business.
Tip #1: Define your Unique Selling Point (USP)
One of the ground rules of marketing is to influence your potential customers to engage with your products or services over your competitors. This often requires differentiating your business and building a competitive advantage. For customers to choose you over others, you need to highlight your unique value proposition or unique selling point, which needs to be explicitly visible in your marketing efforts. The idea is to clearly state how you are different from others in the market and what unique value you can offer. To define your USP with a marketing lens, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
Define your target market
Knowing who you are marketing to is the first step of your marketing journey. Defining your target market will help you understand the best channels to reach them. Here you are looking to market your CSP business/ Therefore, start by identifying the industries that need your solutions the most. Then you have to focus on finding the people in those industries who will be able to understand products and can benefit from its use.
This is what constitutes your addressable market. The more precisely you are able to narrow down your prospective buyers, the easier it will be to reach out to them with content and marketing collateral that is appealing and useful for them. Marketing to everyone is just not affordable. You need to focus your marketing budget on a specific market where you have the potential of generating leads and converting them. Understanding your target market will enable you to craft your USP and competitive advantage in a way that best aligns with their objectives and vision. To identify your target audience, you must:
- Look at the current customer base: Have a look at your current customer base and identify their business needs and their characteristics. Prospective buyers with similar interests can be your target market. Building your customer data is a way to get this information which will help you understand your existing customer base.
- Analyze what you are selling: List down the benefits you can offer to any business when they purchase your product. Once you have listed the benefits, make a list of industries that would have business needs for your product or service.
- Check out the competition: You can try to find out who your competitors are targeting. This along with your own customer base can help you in building a profile of an ideal customer. You can try to find this information by visiting the websites, blogs, social media pages of your competitors. You can even sign up for their newsletters to understand their target market strategy.
Identify key industry trends
Once you have been able to narrow down the addressable market, you need to keep pace with their expectations and requirements. On the one hand, the digital landscape is constantly evolving, and you need to keep yourself updated with the key trends that are likely to inform customer decisions. On the other hand, you need to stay tuned on the dynamic nature of the business of your customers. Identifying key industry trends will help you keep yourself updated on the latest technologies and tools to not only address customer needs, but also reinvent yourself as the market changes. Staying agile and customer centric by leveraging industry trends can help you further build your USP to inform your marketing efforts.
Based on an understanding of who your customers are and what they value, you need to build a comprehensive marketing plan which can help you communicate how you are different from others offering the same products or services. However, it is important to constantly keep pace with the changing customer needs and target audience, rather than assume them to be stagnant for as long as your business survives. When you are clearly able to define what your USP is, all your marketing efforts can be concentrated towards endorsing the same, creating a clear value statement for your customers, fueling your growth journey.
Tip #2: Sell Value and Solutions, Not Products
Marketing your CSP business is all about communicating to your customers in a way that creates impact. However, if you simply focus your marketing efforts on listing out the benefits of your products or services, your customers will see you more from a transaction lens. You will not be able to build a sustainable relationship with them. To achieve the same, you need to adopt a value focused approach to marketing. The idea is to focus all your marketing efforts on creating a narrative that communicates the value you bring to your customers’ business and how your solutions are able to address their pain points. Focus on selling value, not just a product to your customers.
When you present your product in terms of value to your customers, you can become their trusted advisor. A business relationship built on trust can lead to repetitive sales in the future ensuring recurring revenue for your CSP business. To successfully market the value to the customers you should:
- Be dedicated to understanding the business/ industry needs of your customers
- Spend time and effort in carrying out research on how your prospective buyers carry out their business, analyze their existing and potential problems and vulnerabilities and assess how your offerings can benefit them
Finally, all these must be explicitly visible in your marketing campaign. The focus of your marketing campaign should be to tell your prospective customers how your solution can make their daily lives easier. Whatever may be the mode of marketing, the message of solving a business problem should be delivered right at the beginning. This will capture the interest of your target audience and motivate them to read or listen about your product further. You can also communicate how your product differentiates from your competitors. You have to show how your solution is better than the rest.
Tip #3: Package your Solutions Strategically
Taking cue from tip #2 mentioned above, marketing your CSP business is all about packaging your solutions in a way that is attractive and appealing. While we have covered one aspect of how to craft your narrative in a unique manner, the second aspect talks about naming or packaging your product and bundles in a creative manner. This is true for all your offerings, be it a single service or a bundle of products and services. For the former, you need to make sure that while the name is creative, your customers are able to understand what you are offering in the first instance. Don’t let creativity come in the way of simplicity and vice versa.
However, for the latter, i.e., when you are naming bundled offers, you need to be a little more strategic. Simply adding the names of all the services to create a long bundle name is not ideal from a marketing lens. Instead, what you can do is to gauge what is the key value or USP that your bundle seeks to provide, who it is ideal for and the impact it can create for a potential customer. Naming your bundled solutions in this manner will not only make it attractive but will also help the customer make sense of how the different products and services are complementary and their value together. The greatest marketing tip here is that if you use the right words and strike the right chord for our customers, you will be able to have higher conversion for bundled offers.
Tip #4: Leverage Microsoft Resources & Incentives
If you feel you are all alone in your marketing journey as a CSP, you need to think again. As a Microsoft partner, there are several resources and incentives that you can leverage. Right when you become a part of the Microsoft Partner Center, you get access to a plethora of go-to-market solutions which you can capitalize during different stages of your growth journey. From co-branded content to solution-specific sales collateral, there is a library of resources that can help you step up your marketing efforts.
Marketing for a CSP business involves constantly creating content and marketing collateral that you can use across platforms including social media, blogs, emails, etc. Microsoft resources can help you generate content in a way that best brings out the value of their products which you can incorporate along with your USP. Furthermore, Microsoft also provides support and resources to help you define your value proposition with workshops and training sessions. Based on the value proposition, you can work with Microsoft experts to create and implement campaigns that best communicate your USP. Invariably, there are several ways in which Microsoft can help you market your CSP business in a strategic manner and enable you to concentrate your efforts in a way that can create maximum impact.
Tip #5: Track & Maintain your Marketing Efforts
No single marketing strategy can succeed overnight. Finding the best marketing strategy for your business might be difficult and challenging in the beginning, but you need to keep your efforts going. Owing to the modern analytics and tracking tools, you can review the progress of your different marketing campaigns and techniques. You can easily get data points and evidence to gauge the performance of your marketing efforts in real time and adjust your priorities accordingly.
There are many intelligent tools available today that you can leverage to track your marketing campaigns and understand whether or not they are able to achieve their intended impact. However, you need to be cognizant of the fact that each effort will take some time to bear fruit. Give your campaigns some time to move the needle and then you can relook at the efforts and make changes wherever needed. Track factors like how well your customers are engaging with your solutions, how much time do your customers spend on your marketing collateral, etc. make an effort to seek feedback from your customers on how your campaigns have been able to perform in their view. The idea is to adopt a consistent approach towards marketing, especially if you wish to create a brand recall and keep tracking your performance to improve along the way.
Step up with CSP Control Center
As you focus on stepping up your marketing efforts to increase your visibility and exposure among the target audience, there will be several other aspects of your business that might be put on the back burner. Furthermore, there might be some features that if you add can become key points for marketing, especially from a user lens. To achieve this twin objective, you can collaborate with CSP Control Center or C3 and focus all your energy on marketing.
With C3, you can add features like self-service and bundled offers to your portfolio. Since self-service is one of the top expectations of customers from your CSP business, you can add this to your value proposition and make it a part of your marketing narrative. You can market your CSP solution as one which empowers customers to manage their subscriptions in real time. In fact, this can be a key feature for many of your marketing campaigns. Furthermore, C3 can enable you to create bundled offers which you can market as a combination and a value add to regular Microsoft offerings. Thus, you can market yourself as a one stop solution for all cloud needs.
Similarly, using C3 can help many of you and your team leave behind the hassles of billing and invoicing and other administrative overheads. This will enable you to invest your time and energy into developing creative and innovative marketing strategies and value propositions that are out of the box. Being burdened with manual invoicing using large spreadsheets can act as a deterrent to marketing efforts, which may be seen as secondary to sales and invoicing efforts. In a nutshell, C3 can be your preferred partner to help you scale up your marketing efforts to the next level, by taking care of other aspects of your CSP business. Book a demo today to learn how you are just one step away from marketing your CSP business in a grand and effective manner.