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Manufacturing can seem a complicated and demanding market.
From a market segmentation point of view, there are different manufacturing categories: discrete, process and repetitive, for example. In addition, manufacturers maintain a wide range of IT systems from the back office to the shop floor. And then there's the task of helping companies that face the dual challenge of controlling costs while continuing to pursue innovation. The manufacturing vertical, however, is not beyond the reach of a dedicated channel partner. In this Ask the Expert, Mike Bloomfield, president at Tekie Geek, a managed IT services provider based in Staten Island, N.Y., provides his insight into selling services in the manufacturing market. Bloomfield has been an ASCII Group member since 2016.
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As a business owner, I have noticed that manufacturing clients aren't always looked at as a market that IT providers typically advertise to, due to the false belief that it won't be lucrative for their business. This is because IT providers fear legacy systems and 24/7 operations. However, by properly planning and initiating your relationship, manufacturing clients can easily become your most profitable and most rewarding.
Here are some important tips for successfully selling profitable services into the manufacturing vertical market:
1. Offer the right plan for customers' businesses -- Just because they are open 24/7, doesn't mean they have a need for you to reset a user's password at 4 a.m. We offer managed services plans that offer full support during our standard operating hours and mission-critical support after hours. However, should they want full 24/7 support, there is a premium add-on they can select for that option; it's not cheap and some clients will absolutely want it.
2. Have manufacturing references available -- With almost every manufacturing lead we have come across, customers have asked for manufacturing references. Executives in the manufacturing vertical are very concerned with finding a provider that understands manufacturing and need to be confident that you can handle their systems. So, having the right references can help to land the deal. Remember, your satisfied clients are better salespersons than anyone you have on your payroll.
3. Discuss legacy equipment -- Make sure to discuss their legacy equipment and get an understanding. While discussing, make sure to ease their worries and let them know that although they have legacy devices, you're equipped to handle them. Hey, they are just old computers after all: Does a plumber see old pipes and run? I have found most legacy products really just work and most companies will have a plant employee who will know the legacy products better than anyone. Once you land the deal, make sure to feed off of that employee and create knowledge base tickets for everything that employee teaches you about the legacy equipment.
4. "Cherished Assets" -- Make sure they understand that your clients are top priority and they will be treated as such. Review your help desk policies and don't be afraid to show them some examples, such as calling or emailing the help desk, so they see just how responsive your team is.
Following these few tips can help you to land some new and profitable accounts and hopefully you'll have a new client for life.
The manufacturing vertical ranks among the top markets for channel partner companies. Do you have tips for selling services to a particular industry sector? Email site editor John Moore at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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