Selling Managed Networking Services to the Retail Industry

LinkedIn: Datto Networking VP John Tippett
Author: Datto VP John Tippett

The retail industry makes up a massive portion of the U.S. economy, contributing $2.6 trillion to the U.S. GDP. Mobility, customer retention, and continuous connectivity have become critical to these businesses. For managed services providers (MSPs), targeting a thriving industry like retail is a no-brainer because the services offered by MSPs directly align with the business needs of the retail industry.

Effectively entering this healthy industry promises MSPs significant growth opportunities. When targeting any vertical, it’s imperative that you take a tactful approach, carefully thinking ahead of the curve to avoid any potential roadblocks. Today, we’re sharing best practices when breaking into the retail vertical, specifically with managed networking services.

Familiarize Your Business with Market Struggles

As technology continues to evolve, the retail industry is constantly transforming alongside it, continually looking to create new competitive advantages and remain aligned with competition. Consumers are able to access information in real-time, and can move their business between retail organizations with little effort. Here are two examples of concerns that must be addressed:

  1. Increasing number of options for customers and growing competition: With the launch of virtual retailers, such as Amazon, competition continues to grow at astronomical rates. Although 94% of retail transactions still take place in brick and mortars, it’s important to keep in mind the competition both in and out of the virtual world.
  2. Small retailers struggle to find the resources to implement ‘omni-channel’ capabilities the way large vendors do, and are eager to align with technology providers that can help them get ahead.

Build your Ideal Customer Profile

There are over 3 million retail outlets in the U.S. alone, but not every outlet will properly fit as your business’ ideal customer. To help identify the best opportunities, we’ve compiled a list of characteristics that are common amongst retailers who benefit from effective networking and WiFi solutions, and are well-served by MSP’s:

  • Locally-owned franchise or business
  • Employs less than 100 people per store
  • Has known competition in the local area
  • AVOID: national chains and national businesses that likely have policies dictated by a central corporate office, as they have little flexibility in local solutions

Examples specialties of these businesses:

  • Boutique Retail
  • Food and Beverage
  • Health & Personal Care

Who to target within the business:

  • Business Owners
  • General Manager

Learn How to Combat 'Why Do We Need Your Service?'

First and foremost, it’s important to be cognizant that you are not their only option for providing Networking services. When approaching retail outlets, determining what differentiates you in comparison to your competition is critical. Here are some recommendations of how to do so:

  • Consider the prospect’s environment, and understand their pain points and your capabilities to solve them
  • Develop 3-5 clear bullet points that support your service offerings. Use these to establish a strong argument as to why your business is the best choice amongst the competition.
  • Validate your proposed solutions by providing customer stories to demonstrate your expertise and gain their trust.
  • Most importantly, be diligent in creating a plan to approach these prospects and be prepared to present your solution in a confident and clear manner. No two businesses are exactly alike, so don’t expect to create a plan that works without any modifications. Plan ahead, understand the pain points of your prospect, and approach the retail industry with a defined plan of action - you’ll find a great deal of success if you do.

To learn more best practices for targeting the retail vertical, check out our full eBook: Retail Sales Made MSPeasy.

John Tippett is VP of networking at Datto Inc. Read more Datto guest blogs here