Have you met the Hidden IT buyer? We’re not talking about the CIO or CTO that cloud resellers usually deal with. There are other employees out there who are buying their own software applications without even consulting the IT department. People like the VP of Sales, the Director of Finance or even the Human Resources Manager.
Have you ever thought about targeting these buyers the next time you make a sales presentation? Well, you should. This is an emerging market and it’s a great opportunity for a Managed Service Provider (MSP) like you to start pulling in more revenue.
Gone are the days when companies relied on their IT departments to purchase all their hardware and software. Today’s workers are carrying out many of their tasks on their personal devices and more business departments are starting to sidestep IT when it comes to buying technology. In fact, a recent survey by the CDW Digital Workspace Solutions Report found that 41 percent of digital workspace solutions were being selected by departments outside of IT.
Meet the Line of Business Executive
These buyers are known as Line of Business Executives and they’re changing the way organizations purchase technology. As we mentioned earlier, companies used to rely on traditional boxed software that was bought, provisioned and deployed by the IT department. The IT department had complete control over the company’s technology because they were the only ones who knew how it worked. They decided how much money would be spent on IT each year and any investment they made was considered as a capital expense. Since the IT department operated independently, no one could track its annual spending and revenue. For example, the HR department wouldn’t know how much was being spent on its software every year because IT was controlling the purse strings.
Flash forward a few years and the rules have changed. Employees don’t need the IT department’s help any more because they can sign up and provision software applications on the internet that are hosted in the cloud. Each department has its own IT budget and there are no big upfront expenses to worry about. Unlike traditional boxed IT, cloud software is sold by monthly subscription. This means yesterday’s capital expense is now an operating expense that is easier on the company’s budget.
Staying Ahead of the Competition
So, what’s motivating these Hidden IT buyers? Competition in the marketplace is fierce and each department is being called upon to contribute to the company’s core business objectives and drive new revenue. These buyers have to become more efficient, attract new customers and improve the customer experience. And they have to find a way to do it that is both faster and easier on the company’s budget.
It’s time for you to step up to the plate and adapt to this new market. In most cases, these new IT buyers don’t know anything about an MSP and how you can help them purchase and manage their IT products. You’ll have to develop a new go-to-market model that includes updated offerings, pricing, delivery and post-sales support. Find out what each department’s software needs are and make this the focus of your presentation. And stay away from technical talk. These are business people. Speak to them in a language they’ll understand.
What You Should Know
Before you start building your sales strategy, here are a few things you should know about the Hidden IT buyer:
- They’ve done their own research and have a pretty good idea of what they’re looking for.
- They’re experts in their field and tend to know more than the sales person when they do connect.
- You’re no longer dealing with a single decision maker. Today’s buying groups are incredibly diverse with people from a variety of roles.
- They also expect resellers like you to know something about them.
- These buyers want to see value from a solution shortly after they purchase it.
Ask the Right Questions
If you want to attract the Hidden IT Buyer, you’ll have to ask the right questions and show them that you understand their pain:
- How are you going to manage the application on a long-term basis?
- Is there someone in the department who knows how to manage it?
- Will you get help from the IT department?
- Will you need help from an external consultant like an MSP or VAR?
- How do you keep track of your software inventory?
And make sure you don’t ignore the IT department. Find out more about the company’s IT needs and how the business structure actually works. Offer to support the IT department with services they don’t provide. You’ll make them look better and increase your revenue in the process.
Provide Valid Solutions to Satisfy Every IT Buyer
Remember, not all Hidden IT Buyers have an in-house department that handles their technology needs. If you want to reach these people, you’ll have to fine-tune your messaging to address their problems. And you’ll need valid solutions. This is a new market for you and you’re probably wondering where to start. Go to a few industry conferences that are related to their specific line of work. Offer to speak or even set up a booth so you can meet these people face-to-face. Become a certified partner for specific Software-as-a-Service vendors so you can be included in industry directories, such as HubSpot, Salesforce and BambooHR. It will take some effort, but it will pay off. Your long-term success will be built on the relationships you make with these new buyers. Developing these ties now and maintaining them in the long run will bring you more rewards and repeat business. And who can refuse an opportunity like that?
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