Stop Selling Accounting Software
by Candyce Edelen | CEO, PropelGrowth
by Candyce Edelen | CEO, PropelGrowth
by Candyce Edelen
In the previous chapter, I talked about the importance of a niche focus. This is crucial to your success. You select your target niche based on your own business experience.
Deploying a new ERP platform creates a huge risk for a company. Rollout failures are common, and they’re often at least partially blamed on implementation partners. I’ve little doubt that your prospects know this.
They have to figure out how to best manage risk to ensure a successful rollout. Choosing an implementation partner is critical to making the ERP selection process and deployment go smoothly. YOU are KEY to their success.
But you can’t make them successful if you’re not focused. For example, if your firm has 30 people and your website says you serve manufacturing, distribution, government sector and not-for-profit, you’re not going to engender a lot of confidence for any of these sectors. In fact, your website makes it clear that you have no focus, no specific expertise to help make a client’s deployment a success.
Acumatica’s Geoff Ashley says that this is a huge issue. “VARs are chasing prospects away from their websites because of this diluted messaging. Don’t dilute the message trying to be all things to all people. It defeats the whole point of your business.”
So how do you select a target niche?
Look through your customer list and identify your happiest customers. It doesn’t matter what product they’re using – it could be Acumatica, Sage, or some ancient technology. What matters is what you do for them…what problems you’re helping them solve. Go talk to these customers. Ask them why they work with you, what you’re helping them accomplish.
Then dig deep into what they said to understand the specific business problems. Focus not on features they’re using, but what they’re doing. Focus not on what you sold them, but how you help them.
Figure out what your team is really good at, based on successful deployments. Again, the product you deployed doesn’t matter here. It’s about the business problems. Then look at similarities between those happy clients. Find the business problems you’re really good at solving.
Now look for the kinds of companies that have that type of problem. For example, in my last article, Geoff Ashley points out the similar business needs of an oil and gas field services maintenance company, a local HVAC company, and the truck driver for a snack food company. “They all have fleets of trucks, carry inventory, use GPS, need to be able to reassign drivers’ routes easily, and need to communicate changes to drivers and customers along the route.” Use this similarity to figure out your ideal customer profile.
Once you have that figured out, start revising your website. Most VAR websites are far too general. They focus on product features instead of giving detailed accounts of how they can help prospective clients. Here’s your chance to stand out.
Describe, in detail, how you help that ideal customer profile. Focus on how you make a difference for clients because of your unique experience, the unique talent on your team. Tell your prospect what you’ve done for clients. But this is not about deploying specific features. It’s about delivering business value. For example, are you really good at decreasing inventory on hand while improving just in time delivery?
Ashley points out, “It’s time to stop selling accounting software and sell results that clients are trying to achieve with an ERP deployment.” For example, most clients are looking to achieve one or more of the following business goals:
If you can go into details about how you help clients accomplish these goals, they’ll trust that you also know which features in an ERP platform will help make that happen. But they care about outcomes, not features.
So make sure that when they land on your website, it’s very clear why you’re the best choice. For the prospect, this decision isn’t about Acumatica. It’s about their business.
Our next chapter will talk about how to build your brand around this niche strategy.