The most frequently asked question I get from MSPs struggling to get more new clients is this: “What’s the ONE THING I should be doing to get more managed services clients and close more MSP contracts?” *Sigh.* The problem with that question is that it presupposes there IS only ONE THING. There isn’t. Fact is, selling IT services is damned difficult.
First off, no one likes spending money on IT. Sure, all clients WANT shiny, brand-new, ultra-fast machines, always on connectivity and zero downtime…but they certainly don’t want to pay for it. Second, competition is fierce among MSPs, and there’s only so much of the “pie” to go around. That means most of the best business is already being served by another managed services provider (quick – how many are in your market area?). Then you have a number of small IT shops selling break-fix services who will undercut your prices to steal business out from under you – and clients don’t necessarily understand “you get what you pay for” when it comes to IT services (unless they’ve been really burned or disappointed in the past).
And finally, most of the clients YOU want are already in contracts with an existing MSP, and switching is not an easy task. Therefore, many companies will settle for mediocre IT support simply because they’re too busy putting out other fires in their business to invest time into investigating another unknown MSP.
With those mountains to climb, you start to understand that sending out a single postcard to a cold, unqualified list once in a while or having a Facebook fan page is hardly going to put a dent in your client-attraction efforts; however, there are SOME things that will in fact dramatically improve the results of your MSP marketing campaign efforts. Here they are:
- Target the RIGHT clients. Someone once asked the famous bank robber Willie Sutton, “Why do you rob banks?” His answer: “Because that’s where the money is.” A HUGE, money-wasting mistake I see many IT services companies making is inviting people they hate to their own party. Don’t like your clients? Who picked them? I see this when they rent a list from InfoUSA or some other unknown entity for the purposes of sending out a direct mail letter, to conduct a telemarketing effort or to send out e-mail. Often they do a “one-and-done” campaign with NO cleaning and validation of the list they’re sending their campaigns to. Here’s a little-known secret ALL savvy and sophisticated marketers know: the money is in the list. Make sure you pick the right prospects from the start.
- Have a COMPELLING, irresistible offer for them to call you NOW. Let’s suppose you take the time to build a list of high-quality prospects you’d really like to have as a client. Now what? Here’s a critical question you must have a good answer to: WHY should they pay attention to you? What are you OFFERING? In our company, the best offer is a free one-on-one marketing consultation where we give prospects a marketing roadmap and personalized consultation – we GIVE them for FREE the Ultimate Guide To MSP Marketing. There’s a lot of value in this, and we absolutely COULD charge for the tools and resources we give for free. Instead, we give it away as a way of attracting more clients and delighting them in advance of them giving us any money. Even THEN we need to sell it. With IT services, most ads and campaigns contain no other offer than “Call us.” That’s not an offer. If you want more fish, put some juicy bait on the hook.
- Increase the frequency of communication. Selling managed IT services has a LOT to do with timing. For months, a prospect might not respond to your campaigns – then suddenly, their network fails, their contract ends, their IT guy goes MIA, etc., and they need someone NOW. Therefore, you need to be sending FREQUENT communications (at least once a month) to your prospects or else you’ll miss the window of opportunity.
Most MSPs don’t have the marketing discipline to get this done or the patience required to get a return. Building a brand and gaining recognition to the point where prospects trust you takes TIME and REPETITION – so, if you want to get more MSP clients, you have to stop all the random acts and hope. Muhammad Ali didn’t become heavyweight champion of the world by punching his opponents once; he punched them over and over again UNTIL they fell down. Repetition can get pricey IF you don’t do it well, which is why #1 on this list, target the right prospects, is SO important. You want to concentrate your efforts on a smaller, more responsive list versus the big, broad masses.
If YOU are ready to finally get a marketing plan in place, give us a call. As mentioned in the article, we will give you the Ultimate Guide To MSP Marketing for FREE. Unless you are totally and completely at peace with the growth of your organization, the money you make, the quantity and quality of clients you have, why wouldn’t you avail yourself of this? Click here for the full details.