Tip

VAR marketing strategy: Focus on customer outcomes

As a marketer in a fast-growing technology solutions provider organization, I wear many hats, from creating awareness-building strategies to developing sales enablement

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tools -- and everything in between. While we're executing on the overall strategic plan, we try to stay laser-focused on one thing: customer outcomes.

Specifically, the Monday after a customer's project closes, we ask the customer the following questions:

  • What steps did we take to deliver the outcome?
  • Was it successful? Why? How can we repeat this?
  • Was it unsuccessful? Why? How can we prevent this?

These questions give us an opportunity to discover the "wrongs" -- problems that might not have been previously discussed -- as well as the "rights" -- success stories that the customer may be willing for us to share with peers or with the industry as a whole.

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I've always kept this quote from management guru Peter Drucker top of mind: "Quality in a service or product is not what you put into it. It is what the client or customer gets out of it."

Think about that for a second.

We can boast about all the certifications, awards, years of field experience, project growth or new industries conquered all we want. And, we should engage in that kind of MSP and VAR marketing to help build awareness.

However, all of that is worthless if the end result of our service doesn't help the customer succeed or gain a competitive advantage. End of story.

And it can be hard work to constantly delight a customer, especially if you're off trying to hunt for new ones. But it will be those staff members who welcome the hard work, constantly ensuring the customer is getting the maximum value from the service or product -- at purchase, at production, at refresh and so on -- that create customers for life.

If you're an IT solution provider or VAR marketing professional, you should constantly remind the team that obsession with successful customer outcomes will help grow top-line revenues and build a brand faster than anything else.

This was first published in April 2013

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