Some of the best leads you’ll ever get come from referrals. When someone introduces you to a new prospect, and talks up how good your company is and the expertise you have — it’s priceless. And, it usually means a much shorter sales cycle compared to leads generated from marketing outreach campaigns.
But, when an IT services provider (ITSP) relies solely on referral marketing, it’s difficult to project a reliable growth channel and build a strong and consistent lead funnel. The most successful ITSPs find ways to leverage referrals and augment their efforts with modern marketing strategies designed to create a sustainable sales pipeline. In fact, CompTIA’s 2014 State of the Channel study the research concludes that more channel companies are taking ownership of their branding and marketing, a trend the association says will accelerate in 2015. As you formalize your marketing efforts, here are five tips from our best performing partners that may help.
Tip #1: Determine Your Target Verticals
If you develop expertise in a specific vertical market, you will stand out from your competition. Imagine introducing yourself to a prospect dentist office this way: “We have a specialized package of services for dental offices that we have developed through our work with several other dentists in the area.” Prospects will be more likely to listen to your message because they will feel confident that you understand them and their business challenges.
If you don’t currently have a specific vertical market focus, start by focusing on the industries of companies you’ve been most successful with today. Once you’ve done that, go where they gather — physically (e.g., associations, conferences, user groups) and virtually (e.g., industry trade magazine websites, LinkedIn discussion forums), and become active in their communities. Not only will having a presence where your customers spend time help you become more in tune with their business needs, but they’ll also become familiar with you and your expertise.
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