How to find your own IP

In the technology community we deal in IP every day, and lawyers become very wealthy off the back of ongoing patent wars, but there’s another type of IP that would help us all to be more successful if we understood it better: the unique way in which we each do business.

It’s one of the biggest areas for discussion in the workshops that I run with resellers across APAC. Plenty of VARs are selling the ‘same’ technology and Cloud has changed the nature of the value-added work that organisations can offer, so how do you define what makes you unique?

1. Map your process 

What are the touch points that a person goes through before they become a paying customer? What happens afterwards? Where do you get the most positive feedback and what doesn’t quite work? You should have a detailed understanding of the customer experience at every point.

2. Map your customers

So many businesses find this part difficult – and many believe they can sell their services to any organisation. Really successful resellers pinpoint their offering by defining common attributes such as size, geography, industry or location. Think about the decision makers you sell to – do you work best in the office of the CIO or the Finance Director?

3. Map your projects

Take a look at your top 5 sales (and if you don’t know which ones they are – then now’s a great time to do this exercise). What connects them? Where are the similarities? Did they fulfil a specific need?

4. Map the problems that you can solve

Sure, you have lots of customers that bought Office 365 but why? What was it that they wanted to achieve? What did they do with the solution that you gave them?

5. Map your people 

Who is the most requested pre-sales person? Who in support is the most trusted? Who’s your top performing sales person? Identify these people and find out why.

6. Map out feedback – and act on it

Going through the above steps will give you a demographic and help you shape some questions that you can ask them (it will also highlight where your business or process needs improvement). From this you can define why people buy from you. This then becomes the IP that you can showcase in order to attract more of the right kind of customers.


When you’re working in your business, it can be hard to take a step back to do these kind of exercises – it’s what we call ‘working on your business’. If you need a hand, or would like to discuss how identifying your own IP could increase the future success of your organisation, please get in touch.