If you are reselling technology your business may be headed for trouble. Don’t expect an economic recovery without taking steps to change your approach to the market…find out why in this video. In this video I speak candidly to small and mid-sized resellers about market trends and what factors play into future growth and stability. It’s a sobering message.
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First, don’t miss today’s podcast at http://dstelzl.podbean.com/ – critical information on justification you need to provide before your projects can be approved. This applies well to the topic of managed services and how you should go about creating the ongoing justification needed to maintain long term managed agreements. A couple of key points made in yesterday’s teleseminar that deserve repeating:
- Managed services is a necessary part of building your company going forward. Without it, further commoditization of your product set only produces less margin, and service billing rates for most companies have not increased much over the past 20 years. We were paying $150 in 1988 for network engineers in the southeast; the same fees we’re charging right now in many cases.
- Valuation numbers for resellers depend on recurring revenue contracts. Ten years ago you might have sold you company for a multiple of revenue – today you might consider a small multiple of EBIT in most cases. Most acquisitions today are fire sales. Only recurring contracts or narrow highly specialized offerings can reverse this trend.
- Educational based marketing is the number one way to sell this type of program. Most clients are not aware of the risks they are operating with today. Without education, you’ll never come to agreement over the value you’re providing.
In addition we covered how to build it, how to price, what products to use, who should sell it, how to sell it, and how to maintain it and grow it. If you missed this program – make sure you catch the next one. You can’t succeed in this economy without changing your game to compete.
How would Walt Disney Market in 2009 – in a down economy? Harvard Review writer John Sviokla provides 6 points worth noting. Marketing is one of the first things to be cut when sales are down, but if you’re in sales, you can’t afford to let this happen. If nothing else, market your own brand – keeping your message in front of those with spending power. If your offering makes sense, your sales will survive down times. Here is a quick summary (6 points from Sviokla with some of my own commentary to apply this to our business – high tech sales):
- 1. Leverage stories – people read stories, Chip and Dan Heath (Authors of Made to Stick) point to stories as one key to “Making it Stick! And Bill Whitley’s recent sales book – Art of the Rainmaker explains how to build your own “Client attraction story.” As a side, Bill and I are working together on building my attraction story; something I am extremely excited about. Check out his book on Amazon.com.
- 2. Be Creative with Technology – My opinion, brute force cold calling is great practice in handling rejection, and people do need to learn to grab the attention of asset owners without an in-person meeting; however, successful branding requires the use of technology. If you can’t communicate through all types of media, you may be missing the boat. Use Webex, podcast, blogs, e-letters, self publishing, article servers, Idea Letters ®, etc.
- 3. Message Coordination – this is key. Setting up warm calls with webinars, e-letters, Idea Letters ®, etc. makes prospecting much easier. Coordinate marketing events that build the messaging across various forms of media – this is easy to do with the tools now available to us. Learn to use them.
- 4. Innovate – step out and try new things. I am getting ready to do one of my first training classes via TelePresence. This should be fun! Be creative with messaging, technology, etc.
- 5. Uniqueness – Selling technology is not new, and building a unique brand is becoming more difficult. I recently worked with a company that has taken Security Technology to a new level, focusing on smaller banks, handling all the compliance red tape for them, and providing the 24/7 security oversight required to meet SEC and GLBA regulations. Anyone can sell firewalls, so they’ve taken their business to a new level.
- 6. Stay on the Message – in other words FOCUS. In a recent podcast I quoted Montoya, author of The Personal Branding Phenomenon. He says, It’s tempting to diversify, and in some cases product sets are too narrow; however, your message and value must be focused to deliver instant recall (paraphrased). A watered down message won’t be remembered.
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