Would you like the secret of success to growing your managed services business in revenue, profits, AND stability? Of course, you would — that’s why you’re reading MSP Success! In actuality, it’s mind-numbingly simple and therefore not very exciting to most. But if you want a strategy that is TRULY reliable, then this is it.
But first, a detour that is relevant in the end …
Based on our own research and data collected from well over 10,000 MSPs in the past 15 years, roughly 80 percent of all MSPs, VARs, and IT services companies never break the million-dollar mark. To me, that’s simply incredible given that 1) most MSPs keep their clients for a VERY long time (meaning they don’t have to worry about a lot of churn), 2) IT services are in greater demand today than ever before with the escalating threats of cyber-attacks, and 3) companies are MORE reliant than ever on their data, emails, and systems. So why don’t more MSPs grow beyond the million mark?
Quite simply, the CEO is not focused on prospecting and selling. The CEO starts the company as a tech with helpers. As he gets busier, he hires more techs, but not salespeople. Therefore, he ends up becoming a part-time CEO, part-time operations manager, part-time account manager, part-time marketer, part-time salesperson and part-time tech, doing NOTHING truly to his full capacity, skimping on the thing he likes the least: sales and marketing — more specifically, SELLING.
Look at the data from this survey we conducted. A full 72 percent of the MSPs polled went on LESS THAN two sales appointments per month with potential new clients and acquired less than one client per month. That reveals that most are NOT prospecting but rather letting whatever falls in their lap via referrals
So back to the opening question: What does it take to grow? Candidly, more PROSPECTING. The way you upgrade your clients to better, more profitable ones … the way you stabilize and secure your business from competitors, economic slumps, and “Murphy’s Law” is to have people, processes, and systems in place for PROSPECTING. Marketing can and will facilitate this — however, ALL highly successful IT services companies I’ve interviewed and worked with that are generating over $10 million or more in sales have a dedicated team focused exclusively on prospecting for new clients.
Where do you start? I suggest hiring someone dedicated to calling prospects to set appointments either for you or an existing (good) salesperson on staff. If they are full-time (and if they are any good), they should be getting you two to five appointments per week. They can also facilitate confirming appointments, rescheduling, qualifying, sending materials in advance, and list cleaning and building if you have them using a quality CRM.
Having that steady stream of new opportunities emboldens you to raise prices and be less desperate to take on that client you KNOW you should pass on. It also gives you the confidence to fire disrespectful, unprofitable clients to free up resources to take on more lucrative projects and accounts.
Here Are The Results
Chart 1: Only 28% of MSPs surveyed are going on more than two first-time prospect appointments per month, which is extremely low.
This means they are most likely surviving on referrals only and don’t have the marketing systems in place to scale. This also means they are not getting sufficient practice in selling, which leads to lowball pricing to win deals and low close rates of proposals (under 75%).
Chart 3: Only 23.5% of MSPs surveyed closed more than one client per month.