Technology Providers Should Market to Their Base
A lot of clients come to us to deliver net new sales leads to them. And with good reason. We are really good at it and have a long history of providing quality leads.
Often these clients are solely focused on net new leads. They want content that helps to position them as a thought leader in their area of expertise or region. This is a quality goal. But there is a fantastic opportunity to become a thought leader much quicker with customers who already trust you.
Base Marketing Personas on Real Clients
We spend time working with clients to define their ideal customers and develop buyer personas.
- What industry are they in?
- What size is their company?
- Are they regional or national?
- What is the contact’s title?
- What are the contact’s primary goals and objectives?
Marketers often make a lot of assumptions when they create these personas. But there is a better, more accurate way. Start by talking to your existing clients. It is amazing how many marketing people have never talked to their clients.
These current clients are often willing to provide a large amount of information if they feel that it will help your organization help them address their challenges or meet their business objectives. Find out how they like to learn about solutions that your company provides and begin creating content that helps them.
Survey Your Client Base for Actionable Ideas
Many B2B technology providers rely on their Account Executives to have conversations with their clients around areas where their organization can help. This does work, and it makes sense, as the Account Executive will have direct relationships and trust built with their contacts.
You can do more. A great way to find out what your clients are doing is to survey them. A common technique for finding net new leads is to create a short survey and provide a premium, like a gift card, to get them to fill it out.
That same approach will work for existing clients, only at a much greater level. You can ask these clients to fill out a much more in-depth survey because of your relationship and they trust you. This is particularly effective now as we head into the new year because budget planning is top of mind.
You can ask questions about your clients’ top priorities for the coming year. And they will tell you.
I would recommend that you make this survey as comprehensive as possible to gain the greatest insight based on your organization’s solutions. You can target multiple surveys to different levels of the company. You could have surveys for CIOs/CTOs, CFOs, IT Directors, Storage Administrators, etc.
You want the questions to be based on the current state of their environment and business, along with planned projects and technology goals.
The obvious benefit of the survey is that your Account Team can engage solutions experts or subject matter experts who can help the clients achieve their goals. This, alone, is a lot of value.
But it can do so much more.
Create a Thought Leadership Survey Report
You can create a comprehensive report based on the survey results. You can break the data down by demographics, including industry, company size, location, responder title, and more. You can promise to send a copy of the report along with any other incentive you decide to offer for completing the survey.
Your report can look like Gartner’s 2017 CIO Agenda Report. This instantly promotes your organization to a thought leadership position. You can promote it on your social media channels and share it with local business journals and news outlets. It can be a great piece of content on its own.
Create a Content Creation Calendar Based on Survey Results
The first piece of content that you create can be a simple blog post that announces the report along with some key findings, similar to what IDG does with its State of the CIO 2017 report. This announces to your customers, prospects, and partners that you have the report available.
Now that you know your clients’ priorities and challenges, you can use the survey results to build out your content calendar. Focus campaigns on the most commonly chosen solution areas. If 67% of your client base is focused on increasing the use of advanced data analytics, you can be sure that prospects are as well.
Choose the top 2 to 3 solution areas based on the survey results. You can determine which pieces of content are missing around those solution areas and add them to your content funnel. Use the first quarter to focus on a joint effort with sales and marketing to inform existing clients and prospects about those 2 to 3 solution areas.
Market to Your Account Base for Maximum Results
When you start your marketing efforts with your existing client base, you realize many benefits.
- You get a deeper understanding of your client base to serve them better.
- Clients will tell you where to focus your efforts to help them achieve their goals.
- Clients like to know that their opinions, objectives, and goals are valued by your organization.
- You can find opportunities to cross-sell to existing clients who already trust you.
- The content you create can elevate your standing as a thought leader in your community.
- The guesswork is removed when determining which solutions to focus on.
- The content that you create will resonate with your natural audience and reach new prospects.
- All of the above and much, much more.
The great thing about this approach is that it is completely customer focused. If your organization qualifies for market development funds (MDF) from your partners, there is a good chance that at least a portion of the survey can be funded.
Good luck with all of your marketing efforts.