Like most specialised business functions, networking teams’ range in size and seniority. They are however made up of individuals with similar motivations and overall challenges, and for businesses targeting networking professionals, it is beneficial to understand and address them.
The average tenure of employees is 4.6 years across age brackets – with a decreasing average for those aged under 34. Within this short time, most employees will have two main goals: perform their job well in the short-term and progress in their career in the long-term.
For networking professionals, the short-term goals sit under four main categories – network performance, security, time management, and resource management. These are however broad categories which is why we are going to delve a little deeper into the specific bugbears which threaten these categories the most.
1) Technical Competency of Business Unit Execs
At a senior level, business unit executives (BUE) are equally motivated by short-term and long-term goals and seek to find creative solutions to their own departmental problems. Often, the solutions are found in external web applications and only once a business case and budget has been approved, does the IT team come in and either ruin the party or have to clean up the mess when the full features of the external applications can’t be accessed without threatening systems and data security – something the BUE didn’t foresee due to limited technical competency.
Vendors and partners who can communicate and advise on how this problem can be solved – as it’s one which comes up frequently – will benefit from increased brand awareness and trust.
2) Configuration limitations
“Stickiness”: the silent deal killer. All businesses want to create it, and all customers want to avoid it, so if a customer gets an inkling that they will get stuck, they will be far more hesitant to commit. This is otherwise known as “vendor lock-in”, and it can cause major obstacles to any solution especially as customers want both an out-of-the-box solution which they can easily manage and one which is tailored to their needs.
Networking professionals are all too familiar with vendor lock-in of some kind because, well frankly, it’s tough to avoid, especially in such a complex and sensitive environment. Vendors and partners who offer full transparency about what is possible, and more importantly what isn’t and will never be possible, will earn the trust and respect of networking professionals who will become more willing to engage and convert as a result.
We mentioned earlier that it’s often the IT team who are last to the party when it comes to business unit solutions, but that’s also often the case with other parts of the business which have a material effect on the capabilities of the network. This includes a change in business strategies, marketing performance, an increase in users, additional locations, and other isolated departmental projects to name just a few. This is why scalability and automation are so critical to networking professionals.
Networking professionals provide a critical function for businesses which is extremely complex. Networking professionals need to mitigate against the immediate threat to their own perceived existence – i.e. the income from their job – and as such will be less willing to act without support. A successful networking transformation, with the right level of support however, would contribute significantly to their reputation and career goals (oh, and also the business itself of course!), and therefore vendors and partner who can both communicate and demonstrate a high level of support will prevail over others where price is less sensitive than quality.
Successful marketing positions the client as the hero. Networking vendors and partners must, therefore, create powerful narratives and tools which address the short-term and the long-term benefits to networking professionals which we have explored above. For support in planning, creating and executing marketing activities you will need a support crew like LimeHub. We have extensive experience in the B2B and Tech sectors – both agency and in-house – so we really get it, and we get you. Reach out to us for an obligation-free chat.