A Proven B2B eCommerce Solution For Midsized Businesses

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Posted by Matt Osborn - 17 August, 2018

How To Beat Your Competition in the Computer Supply Industry

There's no question that the computer supply industry is competitive, especially if you're selling to businesses that have a lot at stake when making a sizable investment in their IT hardware.

You need more than mass marketing methods to reach your target customers and position yourself as the trusted provider of computer supplies for their companies.

Standing out from your competitors is more than merely offering the lowest pricing. Here's what you can do to beat your competition and gain more customers:

1. Target Mulitple Decision Makers

The B2B purchasing process for IT hardware often involves multiple decision makers ranging from end users to C-suite executives.

You need to appeal to all the stakeholders by sharing relevant content that speaks to their unique challenges and communicate the messaging in a way that's most appropriate for each buyer persona.

For instance, the rank-and-file employees are looking for tools that'd make their lives easier while someone in a leadership position is more concerned about the overall ROI and long-term cost implication. 

One way to ensure that you're delivering the right message to the right people is to use a lead generation mechanism that requires prospects to provide information about their job titles, roles, and/or company size. This will allow you to segment your list and tailor your marketing materials to the specific needs of each audience segment.

Lead Generation for Computer Hardware Companies

2. Implement Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

ABM is a form of strategic business marketing in which a B2B merchant takes an individual prospect or customer account and treats it like a market of one. It's most suitable for businesses that sell to multiple decision-makers within an organization.

Account Based Marketing in Computer Hardware SupplyImage source

To successfully implement ABM, first, define your strategic accounts so you can focus on customers that yield the highest long-term profits. Then you can target each decision maker in the organization with personalized content and message. 

With ABM, computer suppliers can attract more customers by offering each individual account a specific selection of products,  volume pricing, and service offering to optimize profits. 

3. Cultivate Long-Term Relationships With Customer Service

IT hardware is a form of durable goods, which means that once a company makes a purchase, it's unlikely to buy more equipment for a while. In addition, many computer supplies are considered as "commodity," making it hard to differentiate the products beyond pricing. 

Because of these factors,  many computer suppliers neglect long-term strategies for increasing customer lifetime value and improving loyalty.

However, if you overlook the need to cultivate customer relationships, you're missing out on future sales and the opportunity to offer additional products or services to existing customers.

To develop long-term relationships with your customers, make sure you have a comprehensive pre-sale and post-sale customer service strategy. Establish two-way communications with your contacts so you can listen to their feedback and make improvements.

You can also develop on-going relationships with existing customers by offering consulting or maintenance services to add value and build trust.

4. Offer a Variety of Procurement and Payment Options

For B2B buyers, the availability of flexible procurement and payment options could make or break a deal.

Companies want to work with sellers who can accommodate payment terms that meet their needs. This often means you need to offer a variety of payment options such as ACH, check, credit or debit card, purchase order, and extended credit.

In addition, you can facilitate the payment process and make it more convenient for your customers by consolidating invoicing, offering online payment management, and integrating with the buyer's e-procurement system.

Streamlining the payment and procurement process makes it easy for customers to do business with you and helps you increase loyalty, retention rate, and customer lifetime value.

5. Optimize Your Website For Search Engines

More and more B2B buyers are doing research online before they engage with a provider.

In fact, 89% of B2B researchers do their research online, 73% of global traffic to B2B company sites originates from the search engines, and B2B researchers do an average of 12 searches prior to engaging with a seller's website.

To get in front of your prospects at the early stage of their decision-making process, make sure your website can be found in online searches by improving your SEO ranking:

  • Optimize each of your web pages for unique keywords.
  • Improve on-page SEO by using keywords, meta-descriptions, visual content, and internal linking.
  • Ensure the website is optimized for mobile.
  • Use content marketing (e.g., a blog) to stay on search engines' radar and drive traffic.
  • Implement a link building strategy to signal relevance to search engines.

Computer Supply SEO StrategyImage source

6. Build Relationships With Local Customers

Reaching value-conscious prospects who are less price-sensitive is a great way to beef up your client roster and get ahead of your competition.

You can build relationships and demonstrate the different ways you can add value by proactively reaching out to a local clientele through in-person events, which often give you great opportunities to build rapport quickly.

For instance, you can exhibit in local B2B trade shows, offer talks or workshops to members of local business organizations, and network with trusted business advisers who can refer other businesses to you.

Sharing valuable and relevant information that focuses on helping prospects solve their challenges positions you as more than a computer supplies vendor. When your customer considers you as a trusted ally, they're more likely to build a long-term relationship with you and you don't have to compete on price alone.

7. Leverage the Power of Word-Of-Mouth

B2B IT hardware purchase is often a sizable investment. Buyers need to know that they can trust you and word-of-mouth is still one of the best ways to boost conversion.

You can ask current customers to send you referrals or write a testimonial to put on your website and marketing materials.

In addition, you can interview your happy customers and write up case studies to show how your products and services help them solve their challenges and achieve results.

Staying Current Is the Key To Success

Are you up to date with what's going on in the IT hardware industry -- e.g. what are customers looking for and how do they prefer to be served? Do you know how to leverage these insights to get more customers and generate more profits? 

If so, we have compiled and compared the top Computer Hardware suppliers to show businesses like yours where they are succeeding and where there is room for growth.

Download our latest IT Hardware Apruval Rating Report to find out. 

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Topics: B2B eCommerce, B2B Sales, Sales & Marketing, B2B Marketing