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Marketing Practices that Need to be Retired

by: Ronald Escanlar

Thursday, December 22, 2011 |

IT Marketing Practices that should be Avoided

Many IT outsourcing service providers today are offering innovative, highly customizable solutions for companies that seek to use outsourcing as a strategic business tool to remain relevant and competitive in a global marketplace.

However, some of these service providers market their services using irrelevant and outright archaic marketing tools - tools that came out of a traditional and static marketplace. Industry website CIO compiled ten of the worst marketing strategies used by IT outsourcing service providers in making sales.

Solutions packaged for the provider’s own benefit. Instead of offering clients with solutions that specifically solve their problems, some IT outsourcing service providers present packaged deals that only solve part of the client’s problems. Outsourcing consultancy firm Pace Harmon principal Marc Tanowitz says providers must propose solutions that are parallel with what the client wants.

Sales that talk too much. Clients come to an outsourcing service provider to seek solutions from experts, not from sales people who focus on hollow statements on EBITDA impact and other irrelevant issues. According to outsourcing analyst firm HfS Research COO Esteban Herrera, although salespeople are critical in the process, they should let the subject matter experts directly speak with the clients.

Boring PowerPoint presentations. Everybody now does a sales pitch with slides. It may pay to stand out from the crowd - a straight, nonchalant conversation with clients about what their companies need and what the service provider can do to fill those needs. Herrera says clients remember those who actually spoke with them and started a conversation.

Misleading introductions. Some outsourcing service providers bring along a VIP on an initial client meeting, creating the impression that the VIP will be working on their project. Sadly, the impression is wrong from the start, and the client feels short-changed. Herrera suggests bringing along to the meeting a customer who can personally testify to how the service provider has helped his or her company.

An expert in everything. Sanda Partner Founder Adam Strichman comments that industry-specific expertise is 85% marketing - some sales teams peddle expertise that is actually a label only instead of actual experience. Strichman says supplying answers to a client’s business headache is better than proposing solutions that are off-target.

Closing a deal to be changed by the legal department. Usually, outsourcing deals begin as fair, verbal agreements between client and provider, until the provider’s legal department draws up the document. IT service providers can include lawyers early on during the negotiations to thresh out key definitions and only include what is needed for the contract.

Big discounts just to close the deal. Intelligent clients know that surprise price drops are not exactly healthy for the business. Two things come to mind when big discounts are suddenly laid on the negotiating table - either service levels will suffer due to the lower profit margin or the sales team was playing them. Transparency in negotiating the contract, especially in pricing services, contributes a lot towards a healthy business relationship.

Slow presentation for a big finish. A company executive wants to quickly know how an outsourcing service provider can help. Do away with all the excess information drawn up on documents - a business wants to know how to be more efficient and competitive.

Persistent calls and visits. Repetitive follow-ups are annoyingly unproductive, says KPMG Advisory Services Principal Ron Walker. A simple rule of thumb - three calls will do. If they are interested, they will definitely call back.

Selling the deal to the higher-ups. Most salespeople spend more time selling a deal to their executives rather than to their clients. Experts say the smarter thing to do for a sales team is to familiarize themselves with a client’s need in order to draw up a deal that effectively delivers solutions.

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