Everywhere you look, vendors are pushing out marketing campaigns to their MSP clients (I refuse to use the word ‘partner’… it’s the most overused word in the channel. You’re not someone’s partner until you have a deep working relationship).
Throwing in some marketing content has become an established “value add”, even though many of the vendors delivering this content are not that great at their own marketing!
The thing is, for most MSPs, marketing campaigns are not the right answer. Don’t get me wrong, doing SOME marketing is better than nothing at all. But the problem with marketing campaigns is that they are typically one-off activities.
There’s a frenetic flurry of work for something that happens once and… that’s it.
The MSP then needs to motivate themselves to do it all over again and set up another campaign. It’s too easy to keep putting it off for another week… and another. Which is how MSPs go months, even years between campaigns (and wonder why they don’t have a pipeline of good leads).
A more robust approach is to set up a marketing system. This is a series of activities that happen every day, every week and every month. Just as business operations can be systemised, so can your marketing. You’re not going to win any awards for systemised marketing, but you will win clients. I think that’s a better reward.
Let’s look at a typical system, based on the work I do with 700 MSPs across the world in my MSP Marketing Edge programme.
Some context: The 4 big marketing problems most MSPs suffer from
Problem 1: The decision makers you want to reach don’t know what they don’t know
Most ordinary business owners and managers don’t understand technology at all. They think they do because they have a super computer in their pocket and know how to install new apps on it. But compared to even your first line techs, they really don’t.
It’s not just that your prospects don’t know about technology… they don’t know that they don’t know! We call this unconscious incompetence. And the big issue with that is…
Problem 2: They make buying decisions with their hearts, not their brains
Ordinary business owners and managers who are buying managed services have no way of judging whether or not you are any good at what you do.
When the brain is asked to make a decision on something that it’s incapable of judging, it passes the decision down to the heart. Which makes the decision based on your feelings, and then passes it back up to the brain for a rubber stamp.
This has a huge implication for your marketing. It means you are winning or not winning business based on how people FEEL about you, compared to what they think about you.
This is exacerbated by another problem…
Problem 3: Inertia loyalty rules
This is also known as “better the devil you know”.
Inertia loyalty stops us from moving to something new, because we are too comfortable with our existing supplier. We can’t see that the potential benefits outweigh the perceived hassles of moving.
A prospect will stay with their incumbent MSP – even if they have told you frequently they are no longer happy – because they are comfortable with them.
There’s one final problem to explore…
Problem 4: People only buy when they are ready to buy
Or put another way, the timing has to be right. You cannot speed up the buying cycle or incentivise a prospect to make a faster decision. Because their technology is too big, too important, and too complicated.
Many of your prospects are actually slowing down the decision making process, to give them plenty of time to ensure they’re not making a massive mistake.
Frustrating, isn’t it? But remember, when you get the right prospect with the right package, you are potentially tying in a client for up to a decade, and at least six figures of revenue. It’s very much worth the hassle.
The answer: Your 3-step marketing strategy
I recommend you:
- Build multiple audiences: People who will listen to your marketing. Typical audiences include your LinkedIn connections and prospect email database.
- Build a relationship with them: This is done with content marketing, such as adding posts to LinkedIn and sending educational emails.
- Commercialise that relationship: This is best done on the phone, making follow-up phone calls to the people in your audiences. On the phone you can assess how happy they are with their incumbent MSP and discover who’s nearly ready to have a sales conversation.
And here’s an example of a simple marketing system that delivers the strategy
You put in place a series of simple activities that are repeatedly implemented by your team, or marketing freelancers working for you.
Daily: Build your audience by making 10 connection requests on LinkedIn. Collect the email addresses of new connections to add to your email database.
Daily: Build relationships by adding content to LinkedIn, and commenting on other people’s posts.
Daily: Make follow-up phone calls.
Weekly: Send a LinkedIn Newsletter.
Weekly: Send an educational email to your database.
Monthly: Ship a printed newsletter to your hottest prospect.
Then make sure this happens at least 51 weeks of the year. You can have Christmas week off.
Can you see how this would be a more robust way to get new clients for your MSP?