I Know What I Am. I Know What I Am Not.
I’m a tech at heart. I’m NOT a marketer. My background has been in the field, supporting medical offices since 1979. I began my own business in 2005 and was crystal clear on my target market from day one: medical practices in the Atlanta area. I grew my business on referrals and existing relationships but after 12 years, the growth stalled. I knew the opportunity was there but had NO CLUE how to get it.
“Self-Belief And Hard Work Will ALWAYS Earn You Success.” LIAR.
I’m a workhorse and everyone on my team contributes to rowing our boat in sync as fast as humanly possible. But we were missing a clear direction and goal. For years, we continued our haphazard “throw it against the wall and see if it sticks” marketing approach. Spoiler Alert: It never stuck.
So as a tech, I would naturally gravitate back to my comfort zone. I figured if I worked harder on the tech side, my clients would be more satisfied and send more referrals.
Hard work and sheer determination had gotten me this far. But as they say, “What got you HERE won’t get you THERE.” I needed something different that would help me transform from a lifestyle company to a thriving business built for growth. So, I signed up for the Technology Marketing Toolkit.
“Everything We Have Been Doing Is WRONG!”
I did something rare and unexpected with the Toolkit – I immediately USED IT! I had heard that many simply put their Toolkit on a shelf until they were magically struck with inspiration…or until their business was in dire straits. Me? I jumped in with both feet!
My staff didn’t know what had gotten in to me! I came back from Robin’s Rapid Implementation Workshop and said, “Everything we have been doing is WRONG!” We had been reactively relying on referrals instead of PROACTIVELY asking for them. We had been using e-mail as our primary marketing tool instead of benefitting from multiple channels like direct mail, our website, QBRs and more. The moment I heard Robin say, “Sending an e-mail doesn’t count,” I knew we had some catching up to do.
I still didn’t have the marketing mind so I relied on my leadership skills and my team to begin executing the campaigns.
If you are a tech like me, and you decide to start a business, you aren’t a tech anymore. Suddenly, you’re a business owner. Your #1 job is to generate revenue and if you fail to do that, you no longer have a business. You simply have a job.
I Booked 6 Appointments That Closed $62,316 In New Business Before Leaving Rapid Implementation Workshop!
With Robin’s marketing plan pumping through my veins, I wanted to do it ALL! But the levelheaded side of me knew that focusing on my existing clients would yield high-dollar results. And boy, did it!
QBRs were always an intention of ours. But they weren’t very organized. We seemed to perform a QBR when our client requested it. Again, being REACTIVE.
I can tell you that our new focus on QBRs and cross-selling was our best campaign by far. I sent out 12 e-mail requests to meet with clients and booked six appointments. From those six account reviews, we increased billing by $5,193 per month – $62,316 a year – plus $500 in new projects. We also created a spreadsheet to easily see which clients had products so we could better cross-sell opportunities.
We Even Found HIDDEN MRR In One Client
We discovered another huge benefit in conducting QBRs. Just as you work to grow your IT business, your clients are also striving to grow. Therefore, that client you onboarded years ago may have far more computers and need entirely new services today.
That’s what we discovered. One client had 19 computers when they originally signed with us. Upon performing our QBR, we realized their medical practice had grown to 100+ computers and multiple locations – but their contract was still based on the original 19! They needed far more support than we were providing and didn’t mind when we raised their rates to cover it.
As a lesson, we are now going back and reviewing all of our clients to ensure they haven’t outgrown their original contract. Plus, we immediately raised our rates 50% for all new clients. Instant profit!
The Toolkit Literally Paid For Itself Through Our New Referral Program
One of the first things we did was implement a referral program. For us, it gave us a great way to touch base with our clients. For them, they got to choose how they wished to be incentivized for their referral: $100 Amazon gift card, $200 bill credit or $200 to the charity of their choice.
We instantly received two referrals from our new referral program. Plus, we have probably brought in $25,000 this year in MRR.
Simply ending your e-mails with “Know anyone who could use our IT services? We love referrals” doesn’t work. You must have a specific, incentive-focused referral program with a dedicated marketing campaign to promote it.
We FINALLY Leveraged Our Testimonials To Promote Our Business
Because we were getting such a great response from our clients, we decided to turn that into a marketing opportunity to prospects. We gathered our client testimonials and created a Testimonial Slick. Following Robin’s advice, we pulled out a results-focused headline, bolded a few highlights, added a company logo (yes, we should go back and replace it with a headshot of the client) and printed them out. Now we have a strong marketing component for the Shock-And-Awe box we are creating!
Turns Out “The Money IS In The LIST”
After generating so much positive response and new revenue from dedicated client campaigns, we were ready to venture into the world of direct mail to prospects. We started large – a 3-letter campaign to qualify the prospects in two markets, starting with nearly 100 in each market, and running simultaneously.
Let me tell you, we struggled to get all of the follow-up calls done in time, and then getting the next batch updated and printed for sending. After that first batch, we adjusted by mailing smaller batches every week.
The next challenge for us was scrubbing all of the contacts we had accumulated over 13 years! Over 12,000 contacts of varying ages, coldness and geography had to be verified and updated.
Too many IT business owners first “test” their lists by blindly sending out direct mail and then notating the bad sends. Don’t do that. Scrub and clean your list first to ensure you have the right mailing address AND the right company contact. Yes, it’s tedious, but sending to a clean list yields much greater results. We now scrub all lists prior to sending anything, and have a steady stream of newly verified contacts being updated in our lists.
Small Steps Are Better Than No Steps
A common concern for IT business owners and MSPs is that their new marketing and sales focus is like drinking from a firehose. My advice? When you do a direct mail campaign, you don’t have to do it ALL. People think they have to send out 5,000 sales letters…get tons of paper and envelopes…scrub their entire list. Forward momentum is better than nothing. If you can only send 100 letters at a time, do that. Just do SOMETHING.
My Advice For Maximizing Your Marketing Results
I get something valuable out of every single campaign. If the campaign goes gangbusters, I get new leads, sales and recurring revenue. But even if the campaign doesn’t produce, I still win. How? I learn valuable lessons so I can hit those results the NEXT time.
Marketing Lesson #1: They Secretly WANT You To Call – We quickly learned follow-up calls are not only helpful, they are absolutely necessary. When most people call prospects, it’s the typical “What are you doing for IT support?” approach. Nobody responds to that. Now, we have a REASON to call. We discovered even if there’s interest, people rarely reach out. But when we call, they have questions. Scheduling those calls is as important to success as the stamp on the envelope!
Marketing Lesson #2: Easy-To-Close Referrals Are Different Than Warm Leads – Robin’s Quarterly Lead Generating Plan is a great tool for breaking down exactly what is needed to hit your stated goals. However, our percentages were way off for converting what counts as a “lead.” Again, we had been working mostly with referrals and personal connections who were easy to close. So we figured 50% of leads would book appointments.
When our definition of lead widened to “anyone who expresses any interest at all,” our close rate changed dramatically. Using a more accurate close rate of 10%, it moved our number of prospects to contact from 400 to 2,000 – which is an entirely different plan!
While the mailings and calls can get tedious, we consider ANY good news a WIN. We quickly learned that we are well ahead of the 1%-2% response rate you typically expect from a cold list. So, while we still need to move them around the bases, we are generating interest.
From Stalled And Stagnant To A Flourishing And Marketing-Driven IT Business
Through my energy to change everything after attending the Rapid Implementation Workshop, to adding a new forensic company, the Tier3MD team has been amazing at keeping everything in the air and working through the bevy of new product offerings and partnerships.
Moving forward, all service contracts will be 36 months instead of 12. We will continue to add new testimonials, have sent out our first TechTips postcards to 500 clients and selected prospects, and sent our first printed newsletter. We are setting up Infusionsoft right now and look forward to incorporating the e-mail marketing directly into the CRM for better (and easier!) campaign coordination and reporting.
Weekly campaigns continue to go out as lists are scrubbed, all with follow-up calls. I’m also re-editing and updating a book on medical IT security I authored a few years ago. We’ll add these to our Shock-And-Awe box, as well as at trade shows and as door prizes.
We have added to our help desk support team to improve our answer and resolution rates and are currently interviewing for more field techs to support new clients onboarding.
During our brief time with Robin, we have generated more than $70,000 in revenue that we would not have otherwise had. And to make sure we keep the momentum going, we are now Accelerators Club members.
I still like to be involved in client solutions and I still do all of our HIPAA Security Risk Assessments personally. But my eyes are open to what we can be. As one of our group members said, “I’m not in the tech business anymore – I’m in the marketing business with a tech solution.