As someone who started in this industry all the way back in the "fax machine marketing" era, even I'll be the first to admit that there's still a lot to learn about MSP marketing. Based on that, I always try to spend at least some time getting out there and speaking to real people about the problems they face, the challenges they're trying to solve and the climate as it exists today.
Recently, I surveyed a dozen people from various managed services providers—a kind of "state of the union" affair that I like to do from time to time. The responses that people share with me were invaluable, but one theme in particular kept popping up time and again that I thought was worth discussing.
Invariably, when discussing their own pain points, people would bring up some variation of "what I'm doing is effective, but it takes too long. I need to find a way to speed things up—generate better results in a fraction of the time."
This perspective makes a lot of sense, sure. But sadly, it's also based on a myth.
Your marketing collateral can always improve. Your relationships with your customers can always get stronger. But the process of marketing itself is steadfast—there's nothing wrong with it. It works exactly the way it's supposed to and if you don't give into it—if you don't believe in the process every bit as much as the marketing itself—you're only leading yourself down a road headed straight for disaster.
The Problem With Short Sightedness
While it's certainly true that there's no "one size fits all" approach to MSP marketing, there are a few principles that are more or less written in stone.
You still need to focus more on the relationship you're trying to create than the sale you're trying to generate—at least, initially. You need to go out of your way to prove that you're listening to someone—that you understand what their problems are and what they're looking for in a solution.
You need to support the process they want to participate in, not force them to participate in yours. That requires you to "warm someone up," so to speak. They'll have questions, you'll have answers. They'll want information, you'll have eBooks or white papers.
They don't just want a solution—they want the best possible solution for the right challenge at the right time. They're not going to take your word for it that this means "you." The burden of proof rests squarely on your feet. If you want it, you have to earn it.
All of this is going to take time. Even taking a single prospect and turning them into a customer isn't like flipping a light switch—there is no one major move that is going to get you there. Instead, it's all about a series of smaller ones. More strategic ones. Ones that move you farther, little by little, towards where you want to be.
Is this going to take longer than you'd probably like? Sure. But as a great man once said, "anything worth doing is worth doing right."
Marketing is nothing if not a force for change—in the case of your average MSP, that "change" is represented by the growth you're trying to achieve. That's the progress you're trying to generate and marketing is the engine that drives it.
The arc of change is slow, yes—but it is also steady. If you expect instant results, you're going to come up short in the end.
Never forget that marketing, as a process, is timeless. It's been used to great effect long before any of us ever got here and, rest assured, it will still exist long after all of us are gone. Your job isn't to find a way to improve the process. You need to lean into the process, give yourself over to it completely, and use the tools that it's provided you to find new ways to improve yourself.
The Process is What You Make of It
There's an old saying that reminds us that "Rome wasn't built in a day." Whoever said that was, I promise you, a marketer—whether they realized it or not is irrelevant.
As a business owner, it's natural to focus on efforts that generate short—term results. But the most important thing that requires your attention is and will always be the long game. It's not just about getting ready for the challenges of tomorrow—it's about making the moves today that you need to better prepare yourself for what you'll face five or even ten years down the line.
That, in essence, is what your MSP marketing efforts are all about. They may not always immediately generate the results you're after, but you need to be patient and trust in the process. Customers aren't created overnight—oftentimes this process is much slower than a lot of people would like, myself included. It requires more nurturing that we realized. Maybe more care and attention-to-detail than we'd like.
But the net benefit is clear. If you take the required level of care and give yourself over to the process completely, the process will in turn give back to you. At that point, you've done more than just create a new customer. You've created the type of loyal advocate who will serve you well for years to come.
Looking for Inspiration?
If you'd like to learn more about the power of believing in the process of marketing as an MSP, then I encourage you to download my newly published eBook, The MSP Lead Generation Formula. In it, I explore three real life examples of how modern marketing works for MSPs. Or if you have any thoughts on this topic, or if there are any questions you’d like me to answer in a future article, you can always get in touch with me at Tech Pro Marketing.
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