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Everything is changing. Marketing, sales, companies, customers, all are changing. The impact of the Internet is causing radical transformations in how buyers purchase and producers must sell. Services are becoming more important than products, software has a greater impact than hardware and outcomes will trump all. This transition requires a new way of looking at your customers and your strategy to reach them.

Manifest Marketing helps organizations enter new markets. A startup might need marketing strategy support to help in shaping their business plan. A mid-size company wants to change their channel strategy from one circa the 1990s to one more appropriate to 2015. A veteran sales leader realizes their sales presentations worked at a time when customers had not researched so much prior to engaging with the sales person.

Each of these examples require a new way of looking at the market. For the veteran sales leader? A new sales presentation. The channel-centric company? Perhaps a new channel plan that begins to move away from transaction-focused incentives. The startup might need significant help in formulating a marketing strategy that starts with the customer and ends with the product.

For example, a new sales presentation

The customer has changed. They already know who you are which is why they have invited you to speak with them. The customer has already done their research, determined their optimal solution and now wants to understand how you meet their criteria. You will show up with your sales presentation, which has had 4 parts for years:

  1. "Who we are, how long we've been in business and our customers"
  2. "the problem we've identified and solved"
  3. "our solution"
  4. "the ROI implementing our solution"

Look familiar?

This approach no longer works for the customer. They have framed the solution per their needs and per what they have found through their research. More than likely they will define the solution in such a way, there are 3-4 vendors who provide a minimally acceptable solution and when they meet with vendors, their only question is "how much?"

The solution is a presentation which re-frames the solution in such a way that:

  1. It helps the customer understand the problem hasn't been properly scoped
  2. There are far-reaching and painful implications of this scoping
  3. A new and properly scoped solution has only one solution and that is the vendor sitting in front of them

Where we can help

We can review your sales presentations and collateral to help you position yourself in a strong manner. Moving from "here we are!" to "We see a lot of customers similar to you. They are very concerned about this problem as well. We've found they hadn't realized that not solving this problem is costing them upwards of $X a day. Not only that it impacts other aspects of their business as well. We've studied this problem and think we have a unique and compelling solution."

For example, a new channel approach

Companies have used value-added resellers for over 30 years to help extend their reach. In the past twenty years, the "value-added" has gone from product resale to a true solutions oriented approach, such that most "VAR's" prefer to be called "solution providers (SP)". As this term more accurately describes the role they play in the technology ecosystem.

Along with this change in role, many of them have business models that rely less on the vendor's transaction-based incentive programs and more on the SP's ability to create higher margins with their own services. These services range from installation services, maintenance services, and managed services. As the industry moves from a product/solutions/services-type world to an outcome-based approach, the SP will be at the front-line to help make this transition. It's a natural evolution of the "trusted advisor" role they have had for years.

Where we can help

Understanding the channel and this new type of solution provider can be difficult. Creating programs that are more appropriate to the SP's business model and business goals can be challenging. We can provide the knowledge and expertise required to be successful in the new outcome-based channel.

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Lief Koepsel


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