Why NetSuite Solution Providers should verticalize

Blue Ocean Strategy: Why Solution Providers Need to Verticalize

Recently I was invited to join a NetSuite panel discussion at the Sydney 2020 SuiteConnect, talking about market verticalization.

With so many competing NetSuite providers in the marketplace, it’s little wonder that NetSuite is encouraging Solution Providers to think wisely about going deep in micro verticals.

Given this strategy is very much aligned to what we’re doing at Next Technik, I thought I’d take 5 minutes to share my thoughts on the subject.

Having worked for a NetSuite Solution Provider (SPs), I can tell you firsthand how competitive it can be with multiple SPs vying for the same business.  And customers are a wake up, shopping around for the best deal.

It’s an impossible rollercoaster and if you win, it’s usually on price unless the relationship trumps all else.

In preparation for the panel discussion, I came across the well-documented Blue-Ocean strategy and I think it’s very relevant here:

For the most part, globally I see SPs going after the same verticals as everyone else in the NetSuite community – this is a Red Ocean Strategy: fight and beat the competition.

By contrast, building your business around a micro-vertical carves out an industry you can be an expert in. This is called a Blue Ocean strategy, where ultimately your competition becomes irrelevant and you can execute on:

  • Higher value deals, less discount
  • Efficiencies because all staff are knowledge experts

And let’s not forget about the customers themselves, who most definitely will have a richer engagement with the SP because they feel you know them, their issues and know how to solve their problems.

Your customer experience is therefore built on trust, knowing they’re getting the best solution for their business!

What’s the low hanging fruit?

Looking at what we’ve done historically, there’s some key things you need to look at to begin your verticalization strategy.

The first thing is looking at your own backyard. What customers do you have already and what industry are they? If you’ve got at least two customers in a micro-vertical, start there and make sure they’re happy customers first and foremost. Our Case Studies are our most visited assets online!

Never forget to look at the size of your local market too. While you may have two awesome customers in a micro-vertical, the market size and profile may not warrant the investment.

Where to from here?

Build a plan to become an expert in your chosen micro-verticals.

You need to be able to speak their language, know what business pain they’re feeling and start aligning your business to the value you are going to be delivering to the customer. Review the learnings from your existing customers and leverage that expertise.

The hardest thing of all is learning to resist the temptation to get distracted! Trying to create a micro-vertical strategy but still allowing yourself to chase rabbits does not work. You need to own it.

Think a bit more laterally

A couple of years ago we stumbled across a micro-vertical we hadn’t thought of in the field service space – Assistive Technology.

A NetSuite rep reached out to me about a customer who had a need for field operations. The actual application of our product was fundamentally the same, but the industry terminology was different.

Once we got across that, understood the customer needs, we were able to carve out a strategy to go after others in the same micro-vertical. It actually forced us to rethink how we could apply our product and diversify.

Do you have to be an expert in a micro-vertical to go after it?

No, but your objective needs to be about becoming an expert very quickly. And don’t just think Sales and Marketing, the whole business needs to be aligned so that:

  • Your delivery team knows the problems we’re trying to solve, the right terminology and the outcomes the customer is looking for
  • Your support team is acutely attuned your customer’s needs
  • Your Customer Success team is all over the relevant areas of optimisation post go-live

Lastly, and here’s the kicker, the convincing measure of success we’ve found is our 80% conversion rate for sales when we’re involved in a Net-New-Business deal with NetSuite.

That’s because the total solution is completely aligned to what the customer is looking for and we prove our industry expertise, making our competition irrelevant.

Contact us today about becoming a NextService partner.

About Tania

Tania Large, Global Partner ManagerWith over ten years selling, solutioning and working within the NetSuite Solution Provider community, Tania brings a rare perspective to the art of helping customers select NetSuite as their business platform.

“CEOs get business, they think in terms of leverage and return on investment. Helping decision-makers focus on ROI rather than needs, creates an outcome-based customer engagement that sets you up for a win” ~ Tania Large, Next Technik Global Partner Manager

Contact Tania