CompTIA has added its voice to the call for members of the reseller channel to specialise as a way to ramp up their business, with the industry body saying channel businesses can grow their earnings potential and minimise risk by specialising in key verticals.
Moheb Moses, CompTIA ANZ community director, says while there’s nothing wrong with the traditional horizontal sales model of selling products and services to any business in any sector, increased competition means many IT solution providers are finding it more lucrative to specialise in one or two vertical markets.
“In today’s market, where competition is fierce and buyers are getting savvier, many IT solution providers are finding it more lucrative to specialise in one or two vertical market,” Moses says.
“Some of the benefits of entering a vertical market include higher revenues, better margins, lower cost of sales and lower cost of implementation.”
So what’s a reseller to do? And how exactly do you go about entering a new vertical?
CompTIA has outlined 10 steps for resellers wanting to enter a new vertical.
Select a target vertical market Unsurprisingly, selecting a vertical to specialise in is top of the list. CompTIA says profiling your existing customer base can give you an idea of the verticals that are most beneficial to target. Using a spreadsheet and including columns like sector, revenue numbers and information about the solutions provided, can be one of the easiest ways to spot trends in your current client base.
Create a profile for clients within the vertical market “Take a look at existing clients in that market and create an ideal client ‘persona’, CompTIA says. Look at what the clients have in common, their pain points and how they were addressed.
Estimate localised market value Localised information on the potential of the market will confirm whether it really is an opportunity worth pursing.
Commit to the vertical CompTIA stresses that this commitment goes beyond a simple business plan. “The entire organisation must be focused on becoming the dominant organisation in the chose vertical market.”
Identify key industry associations, events and publications Identifying industry associations, events and publications will help solidify a place in the vertical market, CompTIA says. “People do business with people they like, know and trust. If the business is recognised at industry events, customers will be more likely to accept that the organisation is the best option to solve their challenges.” (And don’t forget to let the team at Techday know about your plans so we can help spread the word!)
Develop training programs Make sure the entire team is current on industry concerns and can project expertise within the chosen market.
Identify industry influences Find the top consultants, lawyers, accountants and others who service the vertical. CompTIA advocates building a targeted set of five to seven trusted influencers who are key within the market you’re targeting.
Get a market plan ready Create a positioning statement that sets out the offering and your unique selling proposition. This helps you focus your marketing efforts and clarifies how the sales team should spend their time.
Identify initial sales targets Pinpoint the top potential clients in the target market through market research and your ideal client profile.
Explore joint ventures In this day and age, no business is an island. Research and identify potential business partnerships with companies who operate in the vertical selling non-competitive, but related, products and services.