Nowadays, customer engagement is almost synonymous with digital engagement. While there’s some truth to this (and one of the reasons why Cisco recently launched the Digital Accelerator for Service Providers), it fails to encompass the entire customer journey (particularly for midmarket and enterprise segments).
In part one of this four part blog series, I emphasized the importance of offline engagement in addition to digital engagement. And though an end-to-end digital customer journey may be becoming the reality for the SMB buyer, we still have some hurdles to overcome before we achieve this in the midmarket segment.
Three Ways SPs Can Optimize for the Midmarket Segment
In order to take advantage of the cloud calling and UCaaS opportunity in the midmarket segment, Service Providers need to do the following three things:
1. Simplify the Offer (and Number of Offers)
Last year, one of our partners set a goal to reduce their existing product portfolio by more than half in the next three years. And for good reason – their current portfolio has over 50 offers!
Remember that the customer journey starts before someone buys your product and, in a cloud subscription model, does not end after someone buys your product.
Having fewer, simplified offers not only makes it easier to present and promote those offers on your website and when marketing your product, but it can also greatly reduce the complexity of your customer onboarding and turn-up process after a sale has been made.
2. Highlight Your Differentiator(s)
Midmarket companies are absolutely bombarded daily with different vendors and offers. In order to stand out, Service Providers need to highlight their differentiation (price, speed, uptime, ease-of-use, integration, security, etc.).
Rather than merely emphasizing why people should migrate to cloud-based communications or invest in collaboration, Service Providers need to emphasize why migrating to and investing in THEIR offering is unique. Different Service Providers have different capabilities that strengthen and maximize the base value proposition – it could be network coverage, global deployment capability, mobile integration, or first-class customer service.
Our Digital Engagement Center offers resources to assess your competition and differentiate your service to win market share (note that you’ll have to login or sign up to view but I promise it’s worth it).
3. Emphasize Reliability & Business Continuity
Unlike SMB buyers who are already leveraging the cloud for a multitude of products and services, the cloud market is still relatively new for the midmarket buyer. This is especially true of cloud calling and a hurdle that Service Providers need to overcome. In order to do so, SPs should capitalize on the fact that customers view them as secure, reliable, and experts at business continuity. SPs should position their cloud offering as yet another carrier-grade service enabled by them.
Now Is the Time for SPs to Focus on the Opportunity for Cloud Calling & UCaaS in the Midmarket
According to Gartner, the proportion of midsize to large organizations using a cloud telephony solution over a premises-based telephone solution will rise from about 4% globally in 2016 to 15% in 2021.
“UCaaS solution adoption is [specifically] accelerating within the midmarket, with the adoption of services designed to improve collaboration, customer service, workflows and security,” Gartner reported in their Market Guide for MidMarket Unified Communications as a Service in North America. The firm went on to estimate that the “North American UCaaS market for midsize enterprises was almost $1.5 billion in 2017.” The trend will continue to reach roughly $2.8 billion by 2021.
Let me know your feedback about my three tips for success in the midmarket. In the next blog, I will address what it takes to succeed in the large enterprise segment.
Want to learn more? Cisco recently launched a new program, the Digital Accelerator for Service Providers, to help Service Providers improve customer engagement along each part of the customer journey.