ra2 studio - Fotolia
Spiceworks has previewed a new service that matchmakes IT service providers with customers.
Announced at its annual user event, SpiceWorld 219 in Austin last week, the firm said Account Intelligence will allow MSPs to create a profile that advertises their specialisations, skills, services and geography, and then artificial intelligence (AI) will help matchmake them with potential customers.
“We’re using artificial intelligence to transform buyer intent signals into actionable intelligence for technology brands,” said Manish Dixit, SVP of products and engineering at Spiceworks.
“The more well-defined profile they have on our community, the better exposure they get,” Dixit told Microscope, adding “the more we know about the businesses, and more the data we have, the better matching. That’s why we emphasise a lot on the MSP to make sure they have a well-defined profile.”
The company points to the growing complexity associated with B2B tech purchases today. In its newly-released State of IT 2019 study, Spiceworks points out that multiple stakeholders are likely to be involved in the tech purchasing process today, with a typical four to six month decision-making timeframe.
This complexity, it says, makes it more difficult for MSPs to identify when buyers are in market and ready to purchase, often resulting in “the inefficient use of marketing and sales spend”. Efficient marketing has long been identified as a weak spot for MSPs – particularly among smaller IT providers.
In addition, it notes that “the traditional tactics of capturing and accelerating demand are yielding fewer opportunities as buyers become more frustrated with irrelevant sales calls and marketing emails that aren’t tailored to their needs.”
The company says the service also plays into the channel’s increasing need to ‘hyper-specialise’ to differentiate themselves from the competition. “The search is more granular,” says Francois Caron, executive director of IT products at Spiceworks. “For example, saying you are an education specialist isn’t enough – there are so many different types of education organisations, and a middle school doesn’t have the same requirements college. So you need to go very deep.”
Account Intelligence, which is currently in beta and will be generally available through the Spiceworks Control Center in Q1 2020, will be built on Spiceworks’ online community of an estimated six million IT pros, as well as around 60,000 MSPs. This means the platform will be driven by one of the most comprehensive sets of first-party intent data in the market.
Spiceworks says MSPs can also upload their own list of customers and prospects to understand current purchase intent levels, as well as providing them with in-depth intelligence on each in-market business, including their purchase intent strength, how purchase intent is trending over time, and when they’re most likely to make a purchase based on where they are in the buying cycle.
The solution also enables MSPs see the competitors their target accounts are evaluating, and their brand affinity scores based on the current technologies deployed on their network. This, says Spiceworks, can help the firms “position their products and solutions appropriately and deliver the best solution at the right time.”
Elsewhere at SpiceWorld, the company announced it was releasing an on-premise version of its free cloud-based helpdesk software for IT service providers, “cloud is not for everybody, or at least not yet. And maybe for not for every kind of data in the cloud,” said Caron.
In April Ziff Davis announced its acquisition of Spiceworks, claiming it would combine its own “rich content, data, and performance marketing capabilities” with Spiceworks’ product and community expertise to deliver new insights for IT pros, and “greater intent-driven market and account intelligence for technology brands”.