5 Fundamentals of POS Reseller Marketing

This is part 1 of our content series “Adapt: Strong Advice for POS Resellers,” powered by Vend

Many tasks for POS resellers are clear-cut and tangible. Meet a prospect. Learn about their business. Propose a solution. Get them activated. Answer a merchant’s question. But marketing? That’s far more abstract, so it’s difficult for resellers to wrap their arms (and brains) around.

Let’s get concrete about marketing here and highlight five best practices POS resellers can adopt to accelerate their sales growth. These are based on my experiences over the past 20+ years working with leading retail IT VARs and managed services providers.

Determine and understand your target audience. Marketing isn’t about you, your company, your products, or your services. It’s all about the audience you want to purchase what you offer. What issues do they care about most? What challenges are they facing? Where are their blind spots? When defining your target audience, be as specific as possible in terms of their vertical market, geography, number of stores, number of lanes, decision makers, etc. The clearer you define your audience, the sharper your marketing messages will be. Get as detailed as MCC codes (merchant category codes) to help you focus. If you stay broad and attempt to appeal to everyone, your messages likely won’t resonate with your target audience.

There are two (seemingly opposite) approaches to building your target market.

  • Look at the mix of solutions and services you’re selling – who are the merchants that will benefit most from this mix? Oftentimes your vendors and partners will be able to help you with these definitions. Find where the target market for your solution mix overlap, and there is your target market.
  • Consider the verticals, niches, or geographies you’ve had success in before – focus here first by finding solutions and services that can help these merchants succeed.

Determine your truly unique value proposition for your target audience. I say “truly unique” because too often resellers promote aspects of their business they think are unique but actually make them sound like every other provider. I just scanned a few websites and found language such as “our employees are honest”, “we stand by our clients”, and “we have the experience you are looking for.” That’s akin to a restaurant advertising “we provide ice water with every meal!”

Think right now about what you offer that’s different from your competition and is of value to your target audience. If possible, make it quantifiable: how do you save time for a merchant or help them make money? For example, are you the point of sale expert in your area? Is a key to your value that you can visit your customers in person and that you understand your community’s unique needs? Think about what is difficult for your audience and how you make it easier or better. If you don’t know, ask your current merchant customers why you stand out. If both you and your merchants can’t articulate this, maybe you don’t have a marketing problem. You might need to pause on your marketing efforts and retool your business so you have something special to offer.

Craft messaging about your unique value prop that resonates with your target audience. Below are more examples for you; this time it’s those who are effectively communicating with their target audience. What they say will turn off prospects outside their niche, which is OK. You can’t be all things to all prospects.

  • We rent entire systems for seasonal needs or very large events requiring dozens or hundreds of units.
  • We can also help with your accounting operations.
  • Our training uses practical, real-world examples and is customized to suit the specific needs of you and your team.
  • To ensure you get the maximum amount of traffic through your eCommerce “doors,” we can provide SEO tailored for your website.
  • We provide custom software development in the cloud, leveraging and extending existing services wherever possible.

And this one from Growthwise in Australia might be my favorite: “We are not your average pen-pushing, number-crunching, sit-behind-a-desk accounting nerds. We have one clear goal: to help you think, learn, grow & Kick-Arse. Trust our superheroes to help you take control.” Isn’t that light years more compelling than “we stand by our clients”?

Promote your messages, starting with content marketing. The Content Marketing Institute says, “Marketing is impossible without great content,” and to that I respond, “Amen!” If you haven’t created compelling content that your target audience finds helpful, what are you going to market to them? Pictures of your building? Product specs? Discounts? More photos of your building? Your content will be most effective if it provides insights into:

  • Issues your target audience cares about the most
  • Challenges they’re facing
  • Uncovering their blind spots

Yes, that’s the same list I detailed in the section on understanding your target audience, and I didn’t repeat it because I’m lazy. Whatever form of content you create – blog posts, white papers, eBooks, handouts, mailers, podcasts, videos, webinars – the topic must be of paramount importance to your target audience. As they consume your content, the prospect will think to themselves, “They get it. This company understands me and my challenges. I think they can help me.”

Outspend your competition on marketing. Don’t freak out when you read the word “outspend.” This best practice isn’t about depleting your cash reserves to buy 25,000 koozies with your logo on it. More important is to commit employee time (including yours) to establishing your brand, refining your messaging, and determining the most effective way to communicate with your target audience. For growth-oriented resellers, marketing is not a one-time event or a task to be performed periodically. Schedule a regular meeting (at least monthly) with your appropriate team members to review the results of your marketing activities and to brainstorm new ideas to test-market with your target audience. And before you spend cash on marketing products or services, consult with your vendors and distributor partners to see if they have an MDF (marketing development fund) budget you can utilize.

Our last word on marketing fundamentals won’t come from me. This statement from a wise POS reseller encapsulates much of what I detailed in this article: “Your marketing needs to be designed for real people, not designed for marketing people. You have to have a little twist to get their attention, but you really need to speak the language of the people who are buying it.”

Adapt: Strong Advice for POS Resellers is powered by Vend. Used in over 25,000 stores around the world Vend is the point of sale of choice for inventory based retailers. Through our reseller program, we partner with ISOs, dealers, agents and merchant level salespeople to help our partners and merchants sell more, save more and make more. Learn more about our program.

Channel Business Advisor Jim Roddy works with high-initiative, growth-oriented point of sale VARs, ISVs, and MSPs to help them uncover their blind spots with customers, employees, and business best practices. Then he applies his 25+ years of business management experience, executive leadership, and retail IT industry expertise to help them get better. Jim can be reached at jim@JimRoddyCBA.com.