As a Xerox channel partner, you’re well aware that printers and copiers are no longer just office equipment; they’re tools for realizing business outcomes and an integral part of most organization’s IT network. You’re also aware that today’s customers are looking for more than equipment. They want suppliers like you to help grow their business alongside them and act as a long-term trusted advisor and expert on their unique situation.
For these reasons, it may make sense to focus on vertical markets in order to better know and help grow their businesses and yours.
Why Target Vertical Markets
The needs of each vertical are unique. For example, the educational market is different from that of legal, medical, real estate and other sectors. By developing strategies by vertical and learning specifics of that vertical, you can more easily take on the expert consultant role and develop a reputation for offering customized solutions for a particular industry.
For partners already focused on verticals the question is, how do you break into new verticals? For those who haven’t yet explored a vertical focus and are interested in implementing this strategy the question is, where do we begin?
The answers for both are virtually identical:
Step 1: Identify the verticals you’re already in – even if it’s only one customer. If possible, interview them to gain a better understanding of their pains and how your solutions solve them. Ask which industry-specific associations they belong to and begin researching the vertical, their competitors and yours. If it’s a new vertical, you won’t have a current customer to interview but you may know other people who work in that vertical that you can ask. Take time and study the industry and learn as much as you can about it. Then brainstorm a list of ways your solutions fit.
For more on identifying verticals to pursue, follow these tips in Vertical Markets: Do you Know Your Sweet Spot? written by Julian Patel, Xerox General Manager for Volume Supplies and Operations for Developing Markets.
Step 2: Now that you know which industry to target and you’ve taken a deep dive into solving their challenges, it’s time to develop buyer personas within each vertical. Find out the common titles of the people who will form the buying committee within in the organizations. What do those roles have in common? Search LinkedIn to discover potential connections with similar titles, read their bio sections and look at the type of groups they’re in and what they’re posting to get a better idea of their interests.
Use the tips in How Buyer Personification Drives Demand Generation, from Leah Quesada, Xerox VP Marketing and Communications to build out the personas.
Sept 3: Once the homework is done and you’re convinced that expanding or breaking into a new vertical is the right course of action, think about timing and how the expansion fits into your sales and marketing mix. Who on your team will spearhead the effort? How much time and resources do you have to allocate? Developing the team is the first important step in execution then comes careful planning.
Step 4: The new vertical has been identified; buyers are personified and the team has been assembled. It’s time to develop the go-to-market strategy.
- Outline your value proposition
- Gather your personas
- Set goals and determine how you’ll measure success
- Develop a prospect list
- Publish vertical relevant content (blogs, e-books, case studies, social media)
- Separate website sections into verticals for better user experience
- Plan relevant promotions, events, and offerings by vertical
Step 5: As part of the go-to-market strategy, don’t forget networking on and offline. Engage with your community locally and post on social media. Follow thought leaders in the vertical and stay up-to-date with trends that will be impacting your buyers. Aim to become an expert by starting and adding to conversations, attending events where the buyers will be and putting on events of your own.
Once you’ve mastered the steps to developing a presence within a vertical, the process will be easy to replicate and doing so will grow your business. Only Xerox has a digital marketing program designed just for channel partners.
Digital Mastery from Xerox provides tips and links to useful resources that will help you master digital marketing. Hear firsthand from a Xerox channel partner how our Digital Mastery program has helped their business succeed.
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