Acumatica VARs can’t rely on miracles to bring in the customers and for long-term growth. It takes a marketing strategy that is specific to their business, audience, and buyers’ needs. A version of this post first appeared on the PropelGrowth blog; read it here.
This is the last article in our series about how to leapfrog your competition. My first article talked about why Acumatica VARs need a differentiated business strategy in the cloud ERP space. Then I discussed how to focus that strategy on a target niche. Then we discussed how to define your ideal customer profile. That helps you build your brand.
Now that you have your strategy, you can start running marketing campaigns targeting your specific niche.
Success requires a specific business and marketing strategy
Acumatica’s Geoff Ashley told me that he often hears from VARs, “I did the website and I ran the campaigns, but I haven’t gotten a single lead in the past year.”
This is because the marketing is not specific to your business, your target audience, your buyer’s specific business needs, and the unique value proposition your firm offers. If you haven’t read the other articles in this series, go back and read them before this one. They’re essential to figuring out your business and marketing strategy.
My overall message is, don’t put tactics in front of strategy.
With that in mind, if you have interviewed your customers and established your messaging, then it’s time to get started on building your marketing infrastructure. Ask the Acumatica marketing team for assets that help market your services (and utilize the resources provided in the Acumatica Partners Program), but don’t just use the assets as they’re provided. Instead:
- Edit them
- Add your voice, your messaging, and your call to action
- Enhance the content with insights specifically relevant to your target audience
- Make the asset your own
- Add your unique branding
When you run campaigns, target them to a specific niche audience. If you’ve done the buyer research, as I suggested in the last two articles, you now understand your specific buyer’s needs and buying process. Find the Acumatica assets that answer questions your specific prospects are asking. Customize those assets as I suggested above and build a campaign to deliver that insight to your audience.
Play the long game for long-term rewards
Remember, marketing is not a machine that delivers instant gratification. To do it well, you have to play the long game. It takes time. It takes investment. It takes patience. Over time is when you reap the rewards.
Mike Nessen, a business development consultant for Dynamic Tech Services, said, “Resellers need to understand that the cycle has to keep flowing. You can’t stop marketing just because you won an account and are busy with the implementation. Using inbound and content marketing, you can create an engine over time. But it won’t work if you’re constantly stopping and starting. It’s like a flywheel, and it needs to stay in motion.”
Anyone who promises instant results is lying to you.
In fact, I’ll bet you’re getting bombarded with sales pitches from marketing and lead generation agencies. They promise instant results, a steady flow of qualified leads, and a healthy pipeline within weeks.
You’ve probably tried a few, with very mixed results. These firms claim to be strategic. But most of what they profess is tactics. They’re offering very specialized services— SEO, content marketing, social selling, etc. All of these are important, but they’re tactics. They’re secondary to your strategy.
If you will invest in developing a marketing strategy, strong messaging, and strong content, then you can start outsourcing some of the tactics. In fact, many aspects of marketing require highly specialized skills and can benefit from hiring outside experts.
For example, Amy Spencer outsources AKA Enterprise Solutions’ SEO. “The discipline is specialized and a moving target. Google changes the algorithm so frequently that what worked yesterday won’t work today. So that’s really a fulltime job. We tried to do it ourselves, but we’ve learned that we need to hire an outsourced firm so we’re not always playing catch up.”
But it’s really important to hire the right resource. For example, Spencer uses a firm that is already familiar with ERP and CRM. “They helped Anya Ciecierski launch her ERP and CRM blogs, and they also work with other resellers in the channel. So, I can benefit from that experience.”
Your goals for marketing should not just be short-term lead generation. You should also be focused on increasing the value of your business for the long term. Consider these goals for your marketing efforts:
- Creating brand awareness
- Educating audience(s)
- Building credibility/trust
- Building subscribed audiences
- Generating sales/revenue
- Building loyalty with existing clients/customers
If you invest in the developing and executing of an effective strategy, marketing can dramatically increase your business value, and that allows you to consider other options, like succession planning, acquiring other businesses, or being acquired. Several of our clients became attractive acquisition targets after they got their marketing right.
As Tim Rodman, ERP implementation consultant at Aktion Associates, told me, “You could potentially 2x the value of your business just by marketing it as a larger firm. You don’t even need to make a major change to how you deliver services. Increase your valuation by improving your marketing.”
Strategy (not miracles) for the win
Don’t count on miracles to increase your customer base and business value. It’s all about the strategy. PropelGrowth specializes in helping Acumatica VARs define effective business and go-to-market strategies that facilitate long-term growth in revenue and business value. If you’d like more information about how we might help your firm, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +1 970.300.2280.