Making a case for B2B Digital Marketing transformation in the value-added channel
Updated: Feb 8, 2021
The National Geographic Society defines an “endangered species” as an organism that is threatened by extinction. To avoid this threat, they must grow outside of their existing population.
Value-Added Resellers, MSPs, and even LARs spend a majority of their time selling to the same customers, only rarely getting inquiries from new ones. As a partner, you find yourself battling on price for almost every project. Your customers are constantly adding competitors to your deals at the last minute.
If one or more of these statements rings true, there’s a good chance you’re losing the digital marketing war. Too many customers aren’t seeing value in the relationship you’re building with them. They don’t view you as an expert thought leader and educator. And they’re spending more time listening to competitors stepping in to fill that role.
This is not an incurable problem. You can avoid becoming an endangered species by taking your digital marketing game to the next level and growing your business outside of referrals. And it’s a lot easier than you might think.
Change how you talk to your customers
Why is digital marketing so important to your company’s future? Because the business-to-business (B2B) technology landscape is very different than it was a few years ago. According to SiriusDecisions, “67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally.” Today, roughly two thirds of B2B buying centers are researching solutions online—often before they even have a specific problem they’re looking to solve. Those new prospects you’re trying to reach? They’re not picking up the phone, and they’re not going to events. They’re going online, and they want to be fully invested with the companies they do business with before they allow them into their physical lives.
In many cases, those prospects are also entirely different people than technology sellers have targeted in the past. More and more, it’s the lines of business (LoB) making the buying decisions, not the traditional IT networking or infrastructure teams. So, you have to talk to them differently.
For today’s technology buyer, sales success is less about selling features or, really, “selling” at all. It’s about educating, building relationships, building credibility in your expertise. And digital marketing—when done correctly—is the best way to do it.
Build the right digital content, and it can market itself
As B2B technology buyers spend time online, they’re finding more content than ever before. Unfortunately, much of it isn’t worth the pixels it’s printed on. So, you’re dealing with a buyer who, on the one hand, is far more educated, but on the other is more frustrated with all the misinformation out there.
To reach this buyer, you need to build up your content marketing muscles. Blogs, white papers, slide shares, infographics—anything that can provide new knowledge and insight into subjects your prospects care about. That doesn’t mean you need a full-time content shop; digital reputations are built on quality not quantity. But you do need to give your audience specialized, tailored content that will teach them something they don’t know. When you do, you’ll find they’re happy to share it with the digital communities they’ve developed of people with similar interests and attitudes.
Those digital communities do two important things. First, they create a kind of quality filter around the content that B2B technology buyers consume. Modern buyers are very good at quickly identifying what will be valuable to them and what’s just noise. Interesting insights into new trends affecting their communities stand a great chance of breaking through the filter. Traditional sales brochures? Not so much.
Second, those communities serve as a powerful, dynamic—and free—distribution network to the very B2B technology decision-makers who can grow your business. When your company name is synonymous with insights that educate and inspire, those prospects will hear about it.
Of course, recognizing the need to engage customers differently is one thing. Actually doing it is another, and there are plenty of reasons many partners struggle with digital marketing. They don’t have the content or know how to build it. They don’t have experience planning and executing a marketing campaign. They don’t have the resources—time, money, people—to do digital marketing right.
That’s where your vendor relationships come. At our organization, we want every Citrix partner to become a master digital marketer, and we’re making major investments in training, tools, content and support to help them do it. One of the most important and easiest for partners to get started with: our monthly marketing webinar series.
You’ll learn the latest best practices in marketing strategy, revenue marketing, social media and more. Start by watching this on-demand webinar for step-by-step guidance on building a marketing strategy to hit demand generation targets. If you like what you see, watch on-demand versions of webinars around email marketing, Growth hacking, sign up for a webinar on mastering Google ads, the ABCs of SEO—we’ll cover it all this year.
Build marketing muscles to grow every area of your business
Will all this marketing support help you sell more? We think so, we teach content focused on best practices for B2B technology marketing in general. The skills you learn through our webinar series, for example, will help you gain traction with customers and prospects no matter what you’re selling.
Of course, we do believe that the more you build up a robust digital marketing practice in your company, the more we’ll grow together. It’s why we’re investing heavily in partner marketing programs and training, on a level that’s unheard of for a company of our size.
If want to have an open discussion on where your organization is in their digital transformation journey and see how we can help, please shoot me a note. I would love to connect with you.