Are you having trouble getting customers to adopt new technologies? Are you struggling to convince them to move to the cloud or to SaaS-based applications?
Then stop selling the tech!
Most customers don’t care about fancy new tech. What they care about is solving problems and making money. With this in mind, we have to listen first and then match any new technologies to our customers’ needs. We also need to take into account the mind-set of the customer.
In this article, I will go over some ways to categorize your clients and some tips for getting new technologies in front of the right clients.
If you are not familiar with Geoffrey Moore’s book “Crossing the Chasm,” it is worth grabbing a copy or doing a quick online search for more detail. The basic premise is that you can separate people or clients into five basic categories: Innovators, Early Adopters, Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards.
Innovators and Early Adopters always want the newest things and therefore also have a tolerance for things not working perfectly. Early Majority, Late Majority, and Laggards wait until they can get a complete solution that is easy-to-use; therefore, they expect things to be “fully baked” before adopting them.
By separating clients into these categories, you can identify which ones to approach first. One thing that may change this thinking is if the client falls into the Early or Late Majority category, but has a significant pain point or problem that could push them over the “chasm” into Early Adopter territory. By identifying which of your customers are more likely to adopt new tech, you increase your chances of success.
If you identify a group of Early Adopters, set up individual meetings or schedule a lunch-n-learn. Lunch-n-learns are a great way to get in front of multiple customers at once. Remember, these are Early Adopters, so they don’t necessarily have to have a significant need to adopt new technology—they are interested in shiny new things. You can also go broad when explaining features, benefits, and wow factors with this audience.
The Majority works in a totally different way. When presenting new tech to a Majority-type client, you must reveal the problem that needs solving first. This is best done during a Quarterly Business Review (QBR). First, the premise of the meeting is not about sales. It is a quarterly opportunity for the client to tell you what has changed in their business, and possibly in their industry, that has caused new problems or is expected to cause problems in the future.
Having done many of these in the past, you will find it may take some leading questions to get the client started. It is as much your responsibility as a trusted advisor to know their industry as it is theirs. This way, you can steer them toward the issues that new technologies may solve for them. These customers like to play it safe and therefore will appreciate your proactive efforts in helping them identify and avoid problems before they have them.
Getting new revenue by selling new features and solutions into your existing client base is one of the best ways to grow your bottom line. Make sure you are keeping up with technologies and how they can be of advantage to your clients. It also helps secure your position as their trusted advisor when you take a proactive approach to their business and technology needs.
Eric Anthony is Director of Customer Experience at SolarWinds MSP. Before joining SolarWinds, Eric ran his own managed service provider business for over six years.
You can follow Eric on Twitter® at @EricAnthonyMSP
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