For business and technology consulting companies,
In the Dynamics business application space, and with online services like Office 365 and/or Azure, achieving Gold or Silver level certification is a great feather in your cap, which assures your consultants have completed thorough training, testing and have the competency to deliver.
Once a customer goes to the Microsoft Pinpoint partner site, and starts browsing for a competent consultancy to work with on their CRM, marketing or ERP implementation, they want more assurance than a competency tier. The assurance of customer success stories, blogs, and whitepapers are valuable, reusable content assets for lead capture and nurturing leads through the pipeline.
Seeing Business Value through the Cloud
Companies across North America are adopting cloud-based solutions like:
- Dynamics CRM Online
- Dynamics AX
- Click Dimensions for digital marketing
- Hosted or cloud based self-service portals
When technical installation/implementation isn't required, and configuring the software to your customers' business processes is a top priority, companies want to make sure your company has a good balance of tech savvy and business acumen. For on-premises deployments of Dynamics ERP or CRM, custom development and configuration to a customer's business needs is critical.
Technical certifications aren't necessarily the best indicator of a Microsoft Dynamics partner's ability to tailor Dynamics for a customer's detailed requirements. Publishing thought leadership content to your website is a great way to demonstrate your experience and expertise.
The Price of Success
If you have accomplished Dynamics consultants, a great sales team, and an executive team that is consistently occupied with managing a busy Microsoft practice, finding the time to write blogs, whitepapers or creating infographics is challenging.
A contract freelance writer with Dynamics experience is a great resource. Your consultant utilization might be at maximum capacity now, but a few months from now, you might have availability you didn't expect.
Consider collecting some topics from recent client engagements which were either challenging, or your consultant hit a home run on. You might have a workaround, solution accelerator or industry vertical you have deep expertise in. Writing stories about "the hero's tale" of recognizing a business problem, conquering it and reaping the rewards makes for a good story.
Even as it applies to software like Microsoft Dynamics.
Envision how to Ignite Your Client's Business
You know those Microsoft conferences you attend, gather information at, and often don't do anything with it? What if you were to include some of it in your blogs? Take some of those business cards from Dynamics ISV partners and exchange guest blog posts to help each other generate business opportunities?
A freelance writer could write your guest blog, and you can reap the benefits of fresh, insightful content. The right content pieces can paint a picture in your prospects' mind of what it will be like to work with you.
- Extended, evergreen blogs on topics like mobility, security or industry-specific problems you can solve
- White paper content on specific use cases which you have tailored Dynamics for, like how many partners have tailored Dynamics CRM for event management, member management or charity donations management
- Multi-step serial blogs on how you progressed through a client project like a significant upgrade, complex deployment or building a product
- A Dynamics CRM infographic, packed with statistics you gathered from your own clients about their Dynamics project ROI, or even industry research about ERP or CRM
- An e-Newsletter, previewing some of the great content listed above, as well as targeted landing pages
Once you have some great inbound content developed, you can reuse many of them, updating content as required. If business slows down, and you need to generate new marketing campaigns, having a library of share-worthy content to share is a great way to fill the opportunity funnel. You shouldn't stop creating fresh content, though, but a strong foundation of reliable thought leadership pieces is critical to digital marketing success.
If you are looking for a reliable, experienced freelance writer for your Microsoft Dynamics practice, let's connect soon! You can follow me on Twitter, connect with me on LinkedIn, or set an appointment on my calendar with the link near the top of the page.
Please take a look through my Slideshare presentation below on thought leadership content for Microsoft Dynamics partners for additional information.
Remember in school,
- Capture attention
- Build credibility
- Increase your understanding of subject matter yourself
- Establish and nurture relationships
- Differentiate yourself from your competitors
- Establish strategic partnerships
Your prospects and customers prefer to educate themselves about what you offer rather than talk to a salesperson right away. Sales people apply pressure on customers (as they are trained to do) buy a product or a service on their timeline. If you are a sales or marketing professional, clients are often waiting until they are as much as 60-70 percent of the way through their decision making process before they contact a sales person.
If you aren't teaching your prospects and customers about your domain expertise, your competitors definitely are!
What Should I be Teaching my Prospects About?
Blog posts are a great way to initiate the process of teaching your B2B clients about:
- How to reduce cost
- How to increase profitability
- How to better satisfy their customers and increase loyalty
- How to get their products to market faster and to the ultimate consumer on time
- How to deliver services on budget, on time and which create recurring revenue stream
Obviously there are many other topics you can cover, depending on your industry, yet these are common themes. Striking a balance between providing just enough educational content, and teaching your customer into the hands of a competitor is challenging.
You also don't want to train yourself out of a consulting gig, software development contract or a software installation and integration contract by giving away all of your expertise.
A great way to provide your target audience with some thought leadership, without losing too much of your intellectual capital is to use gated content. Have a prospect register on your website before they can access your whitepapers, ebooks, guides and/or videos. Encourage them to sign up for your mailing list, or attend a web seminar.
When you are writing your web content, focus on the strategic business value of your products and services.
Create pages which showcase your:
- Success stories
- Industry expertise and strategic partnerships
- Strategic business benefits, though benchmarking studies or ROI calculators
- Involvement with industry associations, community groups and non-profit organizations
Know When to Hold a Prospect, Know When to Set them Free
Make it easy for a prospect to opt out of your marketing campaigns. If your content isn't of value to someone, and they won't be contracting your services, (or buying your products) anyway, they aren't of any value to being in your database. It looks good to see a big number in your leads report.
Yet, any seasoned B2B sales professional will prefer to have 100 quality prospects who are interested in talking than one thousand leads who never want to talk to them.
There are many articles on the web on how to create engaging content for your audience. Write regularly and go deep on value. Keyword-stuffed Blog posts which are full of BS/fluff won't help your credibility, and they won't get shared among your target prospects on social media.
Examples of Educating to Sell
My "Top 10" of the most successful B2B thought leaders in the "educate to earn trust" category I know are:
- Jeffery Gitomer - B2B Selling Coach/Guru/Author
- Marketing Profs
- Atomic Reach
Educating customers with your marketing content helps you deliver value to customers, differentiate you from your competition, and establish loyalty. Consider the popularity of TED Talks. Another common example is Twitter chats have grown from organizations like Startup Canada/Intuit or Buffer.
Initiate conversations with your customers by helping them see the strategic value of your expertise. Web content is a way to let a prospective customer know you have experience in addressing concerns that they are looking to address, and are confident you can do so again. Build a following of prospective customers who look forward to hearing from you, because they looking forward to learning something new.
Have you run across a company or individual which is especially adept at using the "educating to build trust" model? Tell me about it in the comments section below, or contact me today!