Most MSPs we encounter do not have a set sales or marketing strategy. It simply takes up too much time in the long run, and some just don't know where to start. Many MSPs get trapped thinking only about how to make net-new sales. Have you forgotten about your existing client network and the cross-sell, upsell opportunity each end-user presents? Sure, they use your remote monitoring and management (RMM), but do your clients know you offer backup and disaster recovery (BDR) or mobile device management (MDM) as well? How well are you marketing these services?
Maybe you're not making the sale because your pricing is outdated. Per-device may have made sense 10 years ago, but with BYOD growing at an increasing rate, perhaps a per-user model is wise.
If you need to recharge your managed services selling strategy, tune in to this week's MSPtv. We're joined by our Director of Sales, Matt Waters, who will help you iron out the edges of your sales and marketing action plan to keep you top of mind with clients, thereby introducing new monthly recurring revenue streams!
Scott: Hi and welcome to another episode of MSP TV. I'm Scott Glidden and I'm here today with Matt Waters our Director of Sales for East Coast for Continuum. How are you Matt?
Matt: Great Scott good to be here.
Scott: Excellent thanks great to have you. Today we're going to talk about sales. Matt's going to give us some insights into his experiences and also how they apply to our partners out there. You and I were having a conversation earlier today and it's not something I considered. I think most people when they think of sales they're talking about net new customers but you brought up a good point and that is to have people take a look at their existing client base, why is that?
Matt: Well you wonder when I go on site and meet with partners at MSP's face-to-face, a lot them struggle with giving me an idea as to why their clients don't have every product or solution that they offer. It's a warmer conversation. They have an existing relationship with that client. If there's five, or six, or seven different products and solutions that an MSP would provide and whether that's BDR, or managed services, or hardware, data center services, cloud services, project work, if you did a matrix and looked at every single product or solution up top that an MSP provides, draw a line down the side, and look at every single client that they offer or that they support how many have every single product or solution?
The answer is very few do and you wonder what type of account management or selling strategy you have within an existing base. A lot of our MSP's concentrate on getting that brand new client or going into a new vertical market, which are all important. More markets we're going to talk about in a little bit, but having an existing client base that you cross-sell and up-sell into, and that you have warm conversations with, and do QBR's, and you go on site and you have somebody that's writing you a check anyway, looking at those guys and looking at cross-selling and going into that base makes perfect sense.
Scott: So looking at that matrix between products that you offer and the client... your existing client base and figuring out where those holes are.
Matt: We do the same thing internally. My guys will look at their partner base, and that might be anywhere from 100 to 150 partners, and if you look at manage services, knock services, our help desk, vault BDR, tech advantage, mobile device management, C3, Sync247, the seven or eight product solution sets we have and then what our matrix says, how many partners we have that use every single solution, it's the same concept.
Scott: That's a good point.
Matt: I've got to find holes in that matrix and then understanding why a certain MSP, or a certain partner, or a certain client... we're talking about an MSP, why wouldn't client A not have your backup product? Why wouldn't partner X with Continuum not use our tech advantage solution? And there could be reasons around that and if those reasons are valid, it's education. You can understand a little bit more about that partner. You understand how that partner operates. You as the partner understand how your client operates, and the more you know about anybody's business the better it is.
Scott: Sure absolutely. One of the things that you had mentioned in a product list that we went over... earlier we were talking about some of the new products that are coming along and the conversations that partners might consider having with their clients around cloud and mobile devices.
Matt: True, so when you look at that matrix and you see that there's holes there and one of the first things you think of is, "How do I get... How do I fill those holes?" And that might come down to the pricing strategy and packaging that you put in place five, seven, ten years ago. Because per device pricing made sense 10 years ago doesn't mean per device pricing makes sense now and if you can wrap every single product and solution that you offer into a per user model and use that as a way to go to a client and say, "There is no nickel and dime. There's no Chinese menu option of what I'm providing you. It's all in. I'm your IT department for X number of dollars a month. I don't care if you have three mobile devices, if you have 10 servers, five servers, three servers, if you have 100 desk tops. You have X number of employees, I'm going to charge you X number of dollars a month."
And if you think about the direction this is heading... work stations, laptops, PC's... five years from now we're primarily all going to be in Thin Client BDI environments. It's going to be hard to charge per desktop, or per machine, when all those machines are hosted in the cloud and everything's hosted off prem. So to be able to train and get your clients to think about a per user model now when you're going to be transitioning them to a virtual environment in the future anyway and then the addition of three tablets per user now... everybody's got a phone, tablet, and a work station. To wrap all of that into and make that packaging easier, the more that you can... the more you do that now and the more you create that now the better it's going to be in the long run. Because again if you look at your pricing and packaging model from five years ago it might have made sense at that time for per device pricing. If you look at all the network devices, and routers, and switches, and printers do you want to hand somebody a 12 page bill a month or do you want to hand somebody one bill, one page, saying, "Look you have 30 employees, it's a $110 a user each month. You're bill to me is just over three grand a month."
To be able to have that conversation and if you're a business owner or somebody that's writing that check, say, "Look I give you three grand a month and you're my IT Department. I add one employee, my bill goes up X. If I drop an employee my bill goes down. I don't have to pick and choose and wonder what's going to be charged per hour or wonder what's outside of scope." It's all encompassing at one fixed price makes perfect sense.
Scott: It makes that conversation a lot easier.
Matt: A lot easier.
Scott: Absolutely and speaking of those conversations that partners are having with their clients, we're starting out the new year, it's 2015 getting rolling, what things would you recommend for partners to begin taking a look at in the year going ahead?
Matt: So a couple of things, one would be the marketing initiatives and the marketing campaigns that they've done in the past, and look at maybe revamping those. A majority of the MSP's we work with do not do a good job of marketing, they do not do a good job of selling.
Scott: Right, it's not their forte.
Matt: It's not their forte, but a lot of times coming back to understanding what products and solutions you're providing your client base can give you some indication and some ideas as to what messaging should go to certain end clients or end users. If somebody doesn't have a BDR through you or if you're only selling them hardware and you do not have a monitoring contract in place, I wouldn't be pushing hardware. If you have managed services with a client why send them messaging around managed services. So identifying, in the first hand, what your clients have, what products and solutions they use you for and then crafting a marketing message and marketing campaigns around what they don't use you for makes perfect sense.
I've been to many partners who've asked the question, "Do you send a monthly newsletter?" "What type of outbound education or touch points do you have with a client?" And yes, absolutely I send a monthly newsletter, well how often? Three times a year so it's not a monthly newsletter.
Scott: I don't think so.
Matt: It's a quarterly newsletter. To have some consistency there, and some spontaneity, and some cadence to what you send out makes perfect sense. You always have to be top of mind. We found that most small businesses buy or look at buying IT services after an event, a server crashes, somebody... an employee leaves, a merger, budget... something... an event happens, an approval comes in, and you don't want them Googling managed service providers in your area trying to find somebody that they could go to for IT services. You want to be that guy that's top of mind that they've been receiving emails from for the last six months. You want to be top of mind when they make that decision. So looking at refreshing the marketing campaigns, putting some cadence around how often they go out is big. I'd also want our partners to start looking at vertical markets a little more.
Scott: That's a good concept.
Matt: Attacking the law of vertical, or professional services, or healthcare, or education, hard lined industries, anything along those lines as long as they're... as long as you have the education around it and you have the content around it, you can speak intelligently about that vertical, it's easier to create marketing campaigns. It's easier to create referral programs. We have a partner in South Florida who brands our vault BDR as the MediCloud BDR, branded specifically for the medical sndustry, touts the HIPAA compliance, touts the redundant data centers. It's not at all built for the medical industry. It's a BDR device, but he brands it as though it is and he has a very good footprint in South Florida when it comes to private practices and different medical sites and verticals around there.
So to be able to look at that a little bit different and to be able to attack a certain vertical I think makes sense. I don't think a lot of our partners do a good job of even understanding what verticals to go after and do a lot of that by accident.
Scott: And sort of to wrap it up a little bit, we both respect the engineering and technical talent of our partners and understand that sales is not necessarily a comfort area for them, but to some degree it doesn't have to be as difficult as maybe you can make it out to be right?
Matt: Right. I mean it's really a conversation. If you can provide a business value to a small business or an existing client of yours as to why they should use a certain product or solution, which you know in and out already, it's a conversation around why they should do it. It's asking for the business so there is some sales 101 when it comes to that, but it's not... There's a stigma there I think that is false. It's not the used cars salesman, it's not picking up the Yellow Pages and cold calling and thinking of that as a waste of time. If you have a relationship with a client already and you're providing them some type of product or solution and you have another product or solution that they're not using that makes their business more efficient and gives them some strategies, some IT strategy, for the long-term and you go in there with that virtual CIO aspect to it that's the difference and it does have... when it comes to sales, there is that... I won't say scariness to it, but if you understand the product and you understand the solutions and you understand how a business value... where the business value is for your clients it's after that it's just a conversation.
Scott: You still have to do the ask, but I think you're right that offering those business solutions and not necessarily selling per say a particular product but helping the client understand...
Matt: Selling solutions not products.
Scott: Right, exactly. Well thanks very much for being with us here today.
Matt: Yes Scott, thank you.
Scott: I appreciate it very much. We'll have you back in sometime.
Matt: I can't wait.
Scott: Thank you folks. Hope you enjoyed the episode and we look forward to seeing you again. Thank you.
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By Gretchen Hoffman
By Gretchen Hoffman