Just about everyone involved in sales is familiar with the “funnel” in some form or another – but when looking at MSPs and IT service providers, what exactly are potential SMB customers thinking about at each stage of their journey towards becoming a customer? And what can we do as marketers to ensure prospects are receiving the right content and messaging at the right time?

In this episode of Grow Your Business, we take a quick look at the three main stages of the MSP sales funnel and explore the various types of marketing collateral and messaging that should be leveraged with each.

A full transcript of the episode is available below. 

Episode Transcript:

Coming up on Grow Your Business, a look at the sales funnel for MSPs and IT service providers and how it correlates to your day to day marketing strategy.

Welcome to another edition of Grow Your Business, the show designed to provide MSPs and IT service providers with actionable marketing and sales insights you can use in your day to day business. Today we're going to take a look at the sales funnel. If you're involved in the sales process in any way at your practice, you may have seen these stages before, or you at a high level at least understand that prospects are moving through various stages and touchpoints on their way to becoming partners of yours. Today we're going to take a little bit more of a close look at each one of the three big stages in this funnel and really get a sense of where marketing can align with the sales process and what type of collateral and resources do you want to be using at each of these various stages.

Right up at the top of the funnel is our first touchpoint. At this point you have a business owner who's maybe identifying some sort of problem or challenge that they're having in their day to day lives. Maybe they want to make better use out of the technology they already have. Maybe they feel like they're spending too much money on an existing managed services provider, even a break fix provider who's taken a couple of days to come in and fix something when a machine goes offline or something like that. At some point or another there's going to be an issue identified. Someone's going to raise their hand and say, "Hey, you know, I could be doing better at this, we could be operating more efficiently or more effectively here, or we could be saving some cash flow here." There's going to be some issue identified.

The way that you're going to know that there's going to be an issue identified is really by looking at visits to your website and leads that are converting by filling out forms, by downloading an eBook, a white paper, subscribing to your blog, any of those content mediums that you have pushing out via the website. The type of materials and resources you want to be sharing at this point are high level and educational. From an MSP standpoint it could be the importance of patch management or how scripting can help save time or even the value of managed IT services for those customers that are still leveraging a break fix provider. It's not diving too deeply into your particular service offerings or your pricing or your business model. It's basically identifying and addressing a need and trying to help folks get a sense of hey, there may be a better solution out there.

After that they're going to be moving into this middle of the funnel or this second stage in the process. This is really where they're saying, "Okay, I've identified that there's some issue, something I can be doing a little bit better here. What are my options to actually improve that? How can I get out there and learn a little bit more? What providers, what services, and what support's available to help me do a little bit better?"

At this point you want to start pushing your products and services. You want to get a sense of, "Hey, these are the solutions that I actually have available. This is some of my pricing," if folks are interested enough at that point. "These are how we can help you solve the problem that you've identified and raised with us." Sales collateral, product data sheets, information that says, "This is actually how we do business, this is how our customers like to engage with us and how they work with us."

Once you provide a little bit of that information, they'll be interested and ready to really make a decision and get to that final step or the bottom of the funnel. At this point they've already identified a need. They want to get out there and partner with someone or find a solution to that problem. This last part is really about identifying why you're the right tool for the job or the right provider for the job, why your solutions are the best fit ones to solve this prospect's particular problems or pain points.

Here they're going to make a decision. They're ready to take action. They're ready to close the deal. They're ready to come on as a partner. At this point it's about looking at case studies, testimonials, social proof, things that are going to say, "Hey, we are as capable as we say we are in some of these pieces we are showing you earlier. We have customers that are happy and engaged. This is what they have to say about working with us." Things that are really going to help get folks across the finish line and basically sign that deal with you and come on board or at least get into an eval or a trial, raise their hand and say, "Hey, you seem like the right fit for me here, let's learn more, let's get started."

That was a very high level look at some of these three main basic stages of a funnel. What's unique and important for MSPs to remember and for service providers to remember is that in a lot of traditional lines of business, this is really the end of the line and this is where the transaction ends, but MSPs are really in the customer service business, the relationship business. There's often no shortage of opportunities to upsell, cross sell, have various touchpoints throughout the year, business reviews, compiling technology road maps and things like that. It's important to remember that even when you've reached this point with a particular customer, the process really comes right back up to the top and you can reset that clock and have an opportunity to constantly be in touch with folks and continue to upsell.

What's unique here and what's valuable here is that when you circle back up to the top of the funnel, you already know these folks. They're already doing business with you. You already have an understanding of what their business is like and who they are and what they need. It's a great way to continue this process and to continue building more revenue out of each of these customers.

That's a pretty quick look at the funnel here. Thanks again for watching. Be sure to check out our other episodes. We'll see you next time on Grow Your Business.