One of the biggest mistakes made by many managed IT service providers is the failure to prioritize their sales department. Effective sales function needs a plan and a dedicated marketing staff to boot. When you concentrate on sales instead of tech, you’ll be able to grow your business exponentially.
Overlooking the importance of a sales scheme occurs for a variety of reasons, ranging from the typical MSP owner being a total tech geek without any actual marketing skills to the absence of a proven sales process. It’s not uncommon for MSP owners to immerse themselves in IT projects and avoid the marketing aspect of running a managed IT service providers operation like the bubonic plague.
Regardless of the size of your managed IT service providers operations, you need to have at least one person who has the sole responsibility of developing new business to grow your revenues and profits.
Common Marketing Strategies for Growing Your MSP Business
Sales to Existing Clients
Existing customers make perfect candidates for selling new services to. These clients are also a tremendous source for referrals and promoting your offerings to new prospects. You can really supercharge the value of this relationship by offering current customer discounts for referrals. The key to this relationship is to provide first-class service to your current clients even as you concentrate on growing your customer base.
Most people are turned off by the idea of of calling business owners and risking rejection. However, cold calling may be one of the fastest ways to bring in new business at a greater rate and for less money. Contrary to popular belief, although you may occasionally speak to someone rude, the majority of the people you cold call are pleasant even if they don’t sign up for your service.
Cold calling doesn’t have to be anxiety-ridden and uncomfortable if you take the right approach:
- Determine your ideal market - Identify your ideal customer and how you’re going to target them; call only these prospects. You’ll need to do a buyer profile that clarifies the company size, geographical location, vertical industries and other qualifiers. You can purchase a list of prospects from a list broker or create your own list from the Reference USA –a database that contains a register of 18 million businesses across the country, available from your the local library.
- Call to gauge interest in service - Remember that not every call has to convince the prospect that they need your services. It’s okay to call up just to introduce yourself and find out if there’s any interest. If there is, it’s simple to schedule an appointment for a later date to discuss your offer in more detail.
- Send a direct sales letter first - Consider sending a professionally written direct sales letter that describes your services before you make any calls. In some cases, the business owner may call you first.
You can hire a salesperson just to make the initial call in order to determine interest in your service. However, make sure you have technical staff available to answer the pre-sales questions for interested prospects.
Taking a New Approach
Managed IT service providers have access to dozens of strategies that are proven and effective for marketing their businesses, including:
- Business networking
- Joint venture partnerships
- Website marketing
- SEO promotion
- Social media marketing
If partnering with a reseller program, make sure you perform thorough due diligence of the marketing and sales support. The leading programs invest in their managed IT service providers by providing marketing materials as well as physical support to help close new business.
By combining proven sales strategies with a unique approach when needed, you can effectively move your sales function up where it belongs: to a high-priority spot. And don’t think this is just the sales team’s responsibility. Everyone can participate. You should be able to determine every customer touch point from the initial sales call to the monthly technical visit. Build a program that rewards each employee for referrals and make sure to keep it fun!
By Brandon Garcin
By Gretchen Hoffman