Marketing Your MSP Part 1: Customer Acquisition
Support your MSP's goals with a successful customer acquisition marketing plan.
Whether you’re fairly new to the MSP game or you’ve been in business for years, acquiring customers can be a hard nut to crack. Many MSPs rely heavily on customer referrals—which are great when you get them, but they usually don’t come in frequently enough to keep your team afloat. Instead of waiting on organic leads, take a proactive approach to sales and marketing so you can scale up quickly.
Start with the Foundation
Before you launch a full-scale marketing plan to attract new customers, don’t forget to take stock of your current situation and clarify your MSPs core purpose and values first. Start by:
- Defining your competitive edge. What unique factors set you apart from other MSPs?
- Setting revenue and profitability targets for the year. What do you want to accomplish by getting serious about sales and marketing?
- Aligning your company culture with your plan. Is everyone on board and working toward the same objectives?
- Developing your leadership team. Are roles and responsibilities well-defined within your MSP, with each leader familiar with their purpose and goals?
- Making sure your website reflects your culture. Aside from your people, your website may be your most-utilized and most-powerful method of marketing. Is it ready to deliver your message to prospects?
Setting this groundwork solidifies your MSP as a professional partner, lets you work out issues that previously may have remained unresolved and prepares you to confidently communicate with prospects. It also helps you identify your ideal target customer—an important exercise that will save you immense time and resources by only engaging those companies that are a good fit with the services you can provide.
Build Your Sales Team
Once your MSP has its own ducks in a row, it’s time to consider your sales team.
“What sales team?!” you may ask. If you’re the CEO and you ARE the sales team, this song’s for you. A talented team of salespeople, or at least one high-performing salesperson, will take the stress off your shoulders, getyou out of the weeds of day-to-day prospecting and allow you to better lead your company forward in big-picture ways.
Building an MSP sales team really boils down to four essential practices:
1. Defining your objectives and roles. What type of sales will each new person perform: Cold calls? Upselling? Setting meetings with their own book of contacts? And how will you define success in each type of role?
2. Finding the right personality. Not only do you need to find a “hunter”-type who can close deals, that person also has to understand your MSP and fit in with its culture. As the face of your company and also one of the main sources of its future growth, it’s extremely important to get this hire right.
3. Keeping your sales team motivated. Setting up a compensation model that rewards success and keeps your salespeople motivated will take your MSP to new heights.
4. Evaluating regularly. Both performance and expectations should be assessed on a frequent basis to make sure they align with your MSP’s current position and goals.
Cultivate Your Brand
With a motivated team in place, it’s time to get them in front of the masses. Your salespeople should be able to speak about the services you offer as well as your brand itself. Take every opportunity to get your sales team out there and making connections, including event sponsorhip, community engagement, public speaking, networking meetings, etc.
The main goal: be seen not just as a vendor, but as an expert in your field and a trusted partner invested in your customers’ growth and success.
Make a stronger push with your marketing efforts, too, to generate more leads for your salespeople. Many MSPs have found success with:
- Referral programs. Give your current customers an incentive to refer you to their business contacts.
- Video and content sharing. Find ways to share the exciting, the humorous, the important and the triumphant things you for companies to give your prospects a better understanding of your impact.
- Targeted PPC, Facebook and Linkedin Ads. Get a compelling message in front of your prospects’ eyes with professionally executed online ads.
- Invest in marketing automation tools. We’re big fans of automation, so any trusted tool that can automate repetitive marketing tasks will surely end up paying off for your MSP.
- Use your marketing development funds (MDFs). Put channel partner money to good use by supporting your marketing initiatives.
No matter which avenues you choose, take the time to form a methodical and intentional plan of action before jumping in.
Make the Sale
Once you’ve got a prospect in front of you, show them everything you can do to go above and beyond break-fix issues to strengthen their business. Make the sale using all the resources available to you:
- Put your best foot forward with professional communication materials that detail key contacts at your MSP and how to reach them for various questions and concerns;
- Have your team talk to all the stakeholders to get a holistic view of their company, the issues they face and the opportunities available; and
- Optimize the sales assessment and discovery process as much as possible. Liongard Roar gives MSPs the power to automate documentation and can even be used during the sales process to show the powerful data aggregation and change detection abilities you have in your toolbox
With a firm grasp of how to start building your customer base, watch for Part 2 in our series on Marketing Your MSP: Customer Development.
Meanwhile, download the Definitive Guide to Sales: How MSPs Build Outperforming Sales Teams (need link) e-book for insider tips on how to find the best salespeople and keep them motivated.