MSP Marketing and the Sales Cycle

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A managed service provider (MSP) is a type of business that primarily manages other companies’ IT services.

MSPs have expanded rapidly in recent years and are continuing to grow at an even faster pace. According to Markets and Markets, the global MSP industry was worth $242.9 billion in 2021, and experts predict the value will rise to $354.8 billion by 2026.

However, the MSP industry is a highly competitive one, as most managed IT businesses offer similar services and must compete with each other constantly.

In order to effectively market your MSP, you will need to understand how the sales cycle works for potential clients.

What is MSP marketing?

As a managed IT services provider, you know all too well that selling your services is a challenge, even as the demand for them grows. To succeed, you’ll need to rethink how you sell and embrace the marketing tactics that don’t change with the seasons. You’ll need to get creative with your marketing strategy to outgrow your competitors and survive in an increasingly competitive market.

MSP marketing is all about changing how you sell to help your business grow. You’ll need to get specific with your messaging, and adapt to your prospects’ ever-changing needs.

MSP marketing is difficult

An MSP manages a business’ internal technology, and the act of doing this changes the way the company can operate. A lot of risk is involved in handing over your keys to another provider.

Many businesses already have an IT service provider, and even if they are unsatisfied, making them want to switch providers will meet a lot of resistance. A changeover will take time, slow processes, and cause some business disruption. The new MSP will take some time to become accustomed to the client’s IT infrastructure, workflows, and individual ways of communicating and conducting business.

There are a few ways to overcome this resistance. One is to stand out from other service providers is to show you understand the unique needs of their business, and can provide solutions tailored to those needs.

Another way is to prove you can keep up with technology changes and bring new, streamlined digital tech into their business. You should also show that you can deliver IT services at reasonable prices and with timely delivery.

These factors will help you stand out from other IT service providers and make it easier for your business owners to switch.

Why do MSPs need to market their services?

Competition is fierce for MSPs. They are in a constant battle with other managed service providers, and you must ensure you stand out from the crowd to gain customers. Not only that, but anyone can quit their job, spend thousands of dollars on a new website, and begin marketing their services. Start-ups are springing up all the time with unique looks – you need to ensure that your business stands out and draws attention.

You need to communicate your value proposition in order for potential clients to know what you can offer them. It’s also important to show how your services can help businesses grow and thrive in order for them not only attract new clients, but retain existing customers.

What is the sales cycle?

The sales cycle is the process by which salespeople get potential clients interested in their products or services. In each stage, the marketers try to gather more information about the client so they can more accurately assess their needs and decide whether to move forward with the sale.

First, you need to find prospects for your services. Prospects could be internal to your company, existing customers, or even potential customers from a different industry. You must identify these prospects by taking the time to meet with them, learn about their business needs, and build relationships.

You should be networking and building relationships both inside and outside your own company to find prospects for these services. While technology is important, it’s not the most important factor when a lead is deciding whether or not to buy from you.

Next, you need to identify leads for your sales process. A lead is a person who shows interest in your services, but may not be ready to make a purchase just yet. You need to look for opportunities to create leads from these prospects. Identifying leads means that you are trying to get the word out about your services and company. In most cases, this means marketing, which can be done in a few different ways.

Not only this, but you also need to figure out the differences and similarities between your leads. Some leads are looking to move to the cloud, or they may need better security. These aspects need to be identified, otherwise you may end up sending the same message to everyone, which is not ideal.

Next, you need to look at the prospect’s roles. For instance, a CEO has a very different view of the world than an IT manager. A CEO will look at the big picture, whereas an IT manager is very technical and will look at the inner workings of their IT needs and what your business has to offer them.

Develop leads and find prospects

Lead generation is one of the most important parts of any MSP marketing strategy. If you don’t have a strong lead generation process, then you won’t have many clients.

MSPs must create content that attracts leads. This content can be anything from blogs and presentations, to white papers and case studies. MSP marketers must create content that serves to help your prospects learn more about your services so that they can make a buying decision.

Identifying potential prospects can also be more hands-on. One way is to attend industry events, such as events for IT service providers. Another is to network with related business owners and clients. And, finally, you can use digital marketing strategies to identify leads. Personalised email pushes can attract the attention of a potential lead who has not considered hiring your services.

Marketing tactics for MSPs

Search engine optimisation (SEO)

SEO is the process of optimizing a website so that it ranks highly in search engine results. Optimising your website for SEO can be as simple as adding relevant keywords and phrases to your website's meta tags, writing content to rank highly in the search engines, and creating an attractive and accessible website.

Email marketing

Email marketing is one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience. A recent study reported that about 80% of marketing professionals believe email marketing is a major component of their customer acquisition. It is also a great opportunity for businesses to engage with their customers and create a strong relationship with them. With the advent of email marketing campaigns, businesses have been able to reach out to their potential customers more easily and efficiently than ever before. These campaigns can promote your brands, build customer relationships, and increase sales.

Social media marketing

Social media marketing is the process of using social media platforms to build a community, to create and distribute content, and monitor brand awareness. People are constantly engaging with brands on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and particularly LinkedIn, making it an ideal way to build your relationships with prospective customers.

LinkedIn outreach

Most people marketing on LinkedIn spend a lot of time trying to sell their services to prospects, rather than becoming friends and building relationships – like the guy in a bar everyone has met who only talks about themselves. We soon learn to avoid them. But someone who brings fresh new ideas to the table is the person everyone likes to engage with. LinkedIn is not just a tool for finding jobs or sending messages to companies; it’s an opportunity to connect with people in ‎your field, build relationships and share information.

Content marketing

Content marketing is a marketing strategy that focuses on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience. A recent study reported content marketing generates three times the number of leads compared to traditional outbound methods. Content marketing has become one of the most important strategies for many businesses. It's not just about creating a website or blog, it’s about using content to create a relationship with your customers and lead them down the path to purchase.

Cold outreach

A cold email is an introductory message sent by an unknown sender to someone who has not requested it. The purpose of this type of marketing is to reach out to new potential customers who have never heard about your company before. Sending a cold email to a company may offer them a fresh perspective about your services that they haven't considered.

The 411 strategy

Pulizzi uses the 4:1:1 Philosophy as his social media posting schedule to engage influencers. That is, for every 6 tweets or other social media posts: Four posts should be sharing content from your influencer list, tagging them with mentions, to build the relationship. One post can be about you – your award, your product, your widget. And one post should link to your content – a blog post, eBook, podcast, or whitepaper published on a platform you own.

Pay-per-click campaigns

PPC advertising is a solid way to expand your digital footprint by reaching new audiences via search engines and other advertising platforms. This is an excellent way to target your audience, as the ads are shown only when someone has searched for something related to your business. This means that you can make sure that your ads are reaching the right people, which will lead to more lead conversions and higher ROI.

Develop your marketing strategy with the experts

If you’re an MSP, you have to be able to break through your prospects’ defences and get them to understand that you can help them solve their business needs. MSPs can do this by embracing modern marketing strategies and using the sales cycle for the sales cycle.

The marketing strategists at LeftLeads will help you attract quality leads, and create digital marketing strategies that work for your MSP. Talk to them today and find out how to connect with your ideal customers.

Author avatar
Erin Williams
CONTENT STRATEGIST | A radio and newspaper journalist turned IT marketing strategist; Erin is the newest addition to the LeftLeads team. She works on turning her creative writing flair to writing content for MSPs and boosting their online visibility.

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