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Tech Service Providers’ Survival Guide: 12 Essential Strategies to Remain Relevant

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In the face of economic challenges, such as inflation and the looming possibility of a recession, the technology market finds itself shrouded in uncertainty. However, amidst this turbulence, a recent survey conducted by Gartner Inc. has revealed an optimistic outlook. The survey found that 72% of high tech leaders have plans to grow revenue in 2023, with nearly half of them believing they will outperform their competition this year. This data demonstrates that, despite the prevailing economic uncertainties, there is still confidence and determination within the technology industry.

In times of uncertainty, customer priorities and values undergo significant shifts, leading to changes in the perception and relevance of technology products and services. To outperform the market and succeed amidst turbulence, technology service providers must establish strong market connections and, more importantly, offer highly relevant solutions and experiences to their customers.

To uphold and enhance the relevance of their products, tech leaders need to adjust their value proposition and positioning to align with the specific context of their customers. This requires proactive management of relevance in three critical situations: the now, the near, and the next.

Maximizing Relevance in the Present: Elevating Messaging and Marketing Strategies

In the dynamic world of technology, staying ahead of the competition is crucial for tech service providers. This requires them to constantly improve their relevance to meet the ever-changing demands of the market. The “now” signifies the present market conditions, context, and outlook, necessitating swift action to capitalize on competitive advantages, particularly regarding economic factors.

While IT spending is expected to increase in the future, organizations’ specific spending priorities remain uncertain. To secure a prominent position on the budgetary priority list, technology service providers must act promptly to heighten their relevance.

Here is what they must do:

  1. Assess the immediate impact of economic turbulence and the looming possibility of a recession. It is crucial to review the organization’s installed base and pipeline, identifying potential actions to shield against turbulent times.
  2. Actively listen to customers and prospects to gain a comprehensive understanding of their current context, areas of uncertainty, and evolving values. Evaluate the existing product lineup, its promised value, and intended business outcomes considering these factors.
  3. Measure current market conditions against the company’s future aspirations and market position.
  4. Focus on ideal customer profiles as changes in context can significantly impact the relative potential of various customer and market segments.
  5. Adjust sales and product messaging to enhance relevance, ensuring that the value proposition resonates with the target audience.

Preparing for the Near: Strategic Planning for an Evolving Future

In the fast-paced technology landscape, staying relevant means anticipating and adapting to future changes. The “near” term refers to the upcoming three to nine months, which is a period of significant transformation. While leaders focus on the present, they must also keep a keen eye on potential shifts in the near future.

To ensure or establish relevance in the near term, it is essential for tech service providers to:

  1. Actively monitor key customers, industries, and competitors for signs of change. Stay updated on press releases, earnings announcements, significant deals, and industry news.
  2. Closely track their pipeline, pay attention to customer sentiment, and strategically plan for potential market changes, to maintain agility and adaptability. This empowers them to swiftly respond to evolving circumstances and stay ahead of the competition.
  3. Distinguish between temporary cyclical challenges that will fade over time and enduring sector-specific challenges. Accordingly, allocate resources for product adaptations, investments in go-to-market strategies, and other priorities when significant and lasting shifts in the market context or outlook are expected.

Building Future Relevance: Strengthening Position

In the aftermath of turbulence, there lies an opportunity to fortify your organization’s relevance. Leading companies proactively shape their desired market position by incorporating their future ambitions into decision-making and actions. On the other hand, those who passively accept their market position often miss out on maximizing their potential.

Technology service providers can elevate their future relevance by:

  1. Defining their ambitions and desired position with customers and in emerging markets. Instead of relying on generic statements, they must focus on what customers will truly notice and value in the future and act in the present and near term to effectively communicate these points.
  2. Evaluating their current product plans and messaging in light of future trends and values, such as the growing influence of business buyers and the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence, cloud computing, and digital solutions.
  3. Adapting their ecosystem, partner network, and go-to-market approaches to align with the trends of market consolidation and competition based on a network of interconnected companies.
  4. Assessing the effectiveness of their business and engagement models in attracting customers and monetizing the value they provide.

To stay ahead in the ever-changing technology market, technology service providers must act swiftly to elevate their relevance in the present, near future, and beyond. By adapting to the evolving market forces, they can position themselves as indispensable partners and ensure continued success in the midst of uncertainty.

Read next: Cloud computing and security are top priorities for service providers in 2023 – Akamai Partner Survey

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