While reading this article this morning, it got me thinking. I once told a rather large UCaaS CMO that 1-1000 wasn’t a market – it is at least 5 markets with different buyers, reasons, desires and needs.

As I work on competitive intelligence assignments, I am looking at features, pricing and other factors to help my client service providers differentiate from the leaders. In an industry that sells on price much of the time, this can be a challenge.

In an industry that is Me-too since the days of Integrated T1 offerings, it is a challenge to explain the Value.

I’ve used this slide in many prezos about what the industry looks like to the average buyer: It looks like the cereal aisle or the potato chip aisle or the cold & flu aisle. Take a page from any of those industries: Cereal, Potato Chip or the drug industry.

In the NSAID war, Advil and Motrin have the same ingredient. Aleve, Tylenol and Bayer are the biggest competitors to Advil and Motrin, but each using a different medicine or active ingredient. There are also combo drugs like Excedrin 3 and Goody’s Powder. This makes for a great example for the cloud comms space.

What’s your ICP?” What is your Ideal Customer Profile? Who is your target market?

“[T]oo many organizations don’t define their ICP or have far too broad a definition. As a result they chase everything, diluting focus and results. Focusing on everyone is no focus at all. Our ICP needs to focus on the customers that have the problems we solve–and we don’t solve all the problems of the world.” [e2e]

This all stems from a lack of basic marketing in this industry.

“Investing in marketing can help customers understand a provider’s solution offerings and the specific expertise that they can leverage.” [CF] “MSPs that provide the right level of awareness around their service offerings and educate customers around the differentiated capabilities and business outcomes that they can drive will ensure long-term relationships that deliver sustained growth and overall profitability.”

We are great at jargon and acronyms including SASE, UCaaS, Metaverse, Web3 and so much more.

For years on the TMC blog, I wrote about what a garbage term UCaaS was since no one shopped for it and most people were buying PBX replacement. The pandemic hits and hardly any UCaaS provider cashed in on messaging, Presence, and Video — especially not PGi or Cisco Webex, the two brands pre-pandemic. Zoom came out of nowhere to capture the market and the mindshare. SPs were focused on voice in 2019, not all of the other functionality of UCaaS. Microsoft was focused on team messaging and collaboration – and won 250M+ users (up from 75M pre-pandemic). UCaaS providers were never able to express how their offering allowed for various means of communicating in a flexible/mobile environment reliably.

In 2019, Cisco and RNG didn’t have a unified mobile app. Users had to have 2 or 3 apps to make calls, video chat and meet. It was during the pandemic when the softphones and mobile apps improved greatly. SMS was added to the fold, too. Most of this is a must have now. It is a checkbox on an RFP.

SD-WAN was another term that was too vague to explain the (at least) three varietals of how it was offered (SDN, NaaS, device). Now companies are looking for a new term to label the WFH varietal since SD-SOHO or SD-Branch won’t do.

How do you Differentiate?

Ease of use. Service delivery. Frictionless. Reliable. Secure. Great UX design. Customer Care – not service, but CARE! Talk about owning and using the service. Paint a picture of what the user is going to experience (CX).

Integration is important, too, especially for mid-market and above because workflow improvement. (BTW, everyone integrates with MS Teams and Salesforce, try something else!)

In all of this, SPs need to figure out who they are selling to – who is the Target? What is the Buyer Persona? What does the Target need or what problem are you solving for them? Then put together a concise, clear story.

Seth Godin says “Marketing is no longer about the stuff you sell but about the stories you tell.” The best examples would be Apple or Tesla – maybe Bitcoin.

So your necessities in 2022 are to formulate a value proposition, a Buyer persona (or two) and craft a story that will resonate with your target audience. It isn’t easy to do, which is why it isn’t often done.

This year if you don’t want to be selling for $10 per seat, you better have your story straight to explain WHY YOU and not them.

Need help with this stuff? Call the RAD-INFO Inc office at (813) 963-5884

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