MSP Marketing Blog

When It Comes TO MSP Sales, No Guts, No Glory (Or Money)

Posted by Robin Robins On June 26th, 2019

WinnerLast year I started a book club with my team where we all read and/or listen to an educational program and get together on Friday morning to discuss and look for practical applications of the ideas. One of our first books was Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount and it’s still top of mind a year later for underscoring one very critical point: if you want to be successful in sales, you MUST prospect.

I find a lot of salespeople (and members) obsess over the “no” and “not interested” responses they get when following up on marketing campaigns.

What should I say?  What do I do?  What am I doing wrong?

They allow the criticism to shut them down, reducing them to a timid, frightened, quivering pulp, thereby making them even more ineffective on the phone due to the stench of uncertainty and fear rolling off them.

When I question them about their numbers (how many did they call, how many did they actually reach and what percentage gave them the one-finger salute, telling them to bug off), they GUESS. Read full article and comment →

How To Tell If Your Marketing Is Productive

Posted by Robin Robins On June 19th, 2019

Hamster WheelFrom AdWeek: 62% of small businesses see NO return on their investment in Facebook.

From Forbes: 44% of businesses can’t even measure social media ROI.

Despite this, according to a survey from the Manifest, 63% of small businesses plan on increasing their spend on social media (!). One social media “expert” commenting on this said that “not all social media traffic generates revenue” (Really? Who’da thunk) and went on to suggest that “you might measure conversations that originated with a social media visit and use that as a gauge of success.”

He went on to say that it was especially important for start-ups to get followers because an initial “audience” was more important than an initial customer base.

Count me unconvinced.

I’m not against using social media – what I AM against is wasting time, focus, energy and money on marketing activities that don’t directly lead to a paying client. Read full article and comment →

12 Questions An MSP Owner Should Ask Themselves When Creating A Marketing Plan

Posted by Robin Robins On June 12th, 2019
12 QuestionsRecently a new client asked, “What is the average in months for an MSP to implement a marketing plan?”

Impossible to answer because you first have to determine what a marketing plan means for your business, but it led me to outline several important things that a business owner needs to know before a plan can be created.

In this instance, let’s assume a marketing plan is the strategy for how you are going to achieve your revenue and client acquisition goals. Therefore, we need to know the following:

  1. What resources do you have available to you right now in money? People (salespeople, marketing, their skill level, etc.)? Lists? Campaigns and marketing systems in place? Relationships with strategic partners and JVs? Anything else?
  2. Have you clarified WHO you want as a client? Do you have a list of them? If yes, is it a COLD list or a warm list of clients and prospects?
  3. Do you know your current market size? When do we run out of rope? Is it big enough to feed us? Too small to hit our goals?
  4. Do you know who your top competitors are, and do you have a plan for replacing the incumbent IF your competitor is another MSP/IT services company?
  5. Do you have a working, productive offer to generate leads, or will it need to be created?
  6. Do you have a reliable sales funnel and follow-up process for handling inbound leads, or will they have to be created?
  7. Do you have a CRM in place to organize, track and maximize campaigns, or does it have to be created?
  8. What are your specific sales and client acquisition goals, and how much of a leap is that from what you’re currently doing?
  9. What does the average client spend with you?
  10. How quickly do you want to hit the above goals?
  11. Do you have to make a profit on the first sale, or can you float the acquisition cost?
  12. Do you know what your allowable cost is per lead? Per sale?

Read full article and comment →

Before You Outsource Your Marketing, Consider These 6 Tips

Posted by Robin Robins On June 11th, 2019

Call Center Support

I recently saw a website selling marketing services to MSPs that offered to “send out blurbs several times a week” via your company’s social media pages. Another offered to do “e-mail blasts” to your list.

It got me thinking … is that really how you think of essential communications to your clients and prospects who you are trying to build trust with, gain an audience with and (ultimately) get money from? In blurbs and blasts?

Unfortunately, that’s exactly how many see marketing: an unsavory “time-consuming” task they want to shove off their plate and abdicate to someone else.

NOT with the intention of making it really work, not to further their position of authority, not to really connect, but simply to check off the box that it’s being done.

Marketing? Who has time for THAT? Read full article and comment →

How To Use Tradeshows To Attract Clients

Posted by Mike Stodola On May 10th, 2019

“We tell our customers to try something different to grow their businesses, so I knew we had to do the same,” explained Dana Liedholm, Chief Marketing Officer for ID Agent.

And they didn’t just try to do one thing different, they did everything different… and the result was 87 new partners in just three days, PLUS re-engaging a lot of past partners.

Here’s what they did.

Recently at the IT Sales And Marketing Boot Camp, ID Agent set up shop with a big goal in mind and more importantly the plan to achieve it.

“We created incentives to get current and new partners bringing their friends over to our booth and rewarding both of them for doing so.”

The short of it was this. There were a number of ways during the three days that you could earn points. For some this was throwing a puck through a hole (pictured), for others it was wearing an ID Agent t-shirt at the event, going to a presentation, and for many it was getting someone to visit the ID Agent booth and sign up to be a partner.

Read full article and comment →

The Three Things MSP Buyers Are Looking For That Are NOT “Low Price”

Posted by Robin Robins On May 1st, 2019

Price TagAt Boot Camp, I shared with the audience research I’d compiled on what clients want from their IT provider, based on examining the responses to a testimonial request e-mail we have our MSP clients send to THEIR best clients. I compiled and keyword-analyzed over 1,000 candid, unedited replies to those e-mails to determine the commonalities of what IT buyers – your clients – truly valued.

Out of ALL of those responses, not one – and I do mean NOT ONE – said they wanted the “lowest price” or “cheapest price.”

So why does it seem like so many IT services sales are lost to cheaper competitors, or are lost over price?

For starters, the seller (you) is ALWAYS more emotionally charged about price than the buyer. Because the SELLER is nervous about discussing price, they tend to only “see” and “hear” those things that verify their belief that people buy on price and don’t want to spend money on IT.

Second, the salesperson’s discomfort with price manifests itself in the sales meeting, showing up as a lack of confidence or that they are hiding something – which breaks trust. And since prospects sense uncertainty like a dog smells fear, they react to it, causing them to hesitate, often not even knowing why they don’t “feel right” about doing business with you. Read full article and comment →

How Coaching Your Clients Leads To Higher MSP Profits (Pt. 2)

Posted by Robin Robins On April 23rd, 2019

higher MSP profits with a client game planWelcome back! Last week we coached your clients how to buy. This week we’re exploring how to develop a relationship with the clients you have to turn them into the clients you want. Read on…

Part 2 of Coach Your Clients How To Buy For Higher MSP Profits: How To Develop Your Clients Into Great Clients

A critical piece to the success of any service firm is to have a productive, profitable and mutually beneficial relationship with its clients – yet how many business owners actually FOCUS on developing that asset?

Can you list the systems and processes you have in place for advancing that agenda? Can you show me the specific things you are sending them, doing for them, to make them behave in a manner that allows you to deliver your best advice?

Most important question: do you have a FRAMEWORK or list of instructions on how to be a good client for your firm? Read full article and comment →

How Coaching Your Clients Leads To Higher MSP Profits (Pt. 1)

Posted by Robin Robins On April 16th, 2019

Coach Your MSP Clients How To Buy For Higher ProfitsToo often, business owners overlook the buying power in the clients they ALREADY have and are too focused on acquiring new ones.

So in this two-part series, I’m going to discuss how you can increase sales with your current clients and turn them into the clients you want. Let’s dig in…

Part 1 of Coach Your MSP Clients How To Buy For Higher Profits: Teach Your Clients How To Buy

I received several letters from American Express in the last month about using your Amex card to pay your taxes.

Honestly, it never occurred to me to do this, mostly because I’ve never been unable to pay my taxes. But I know a LOT of  people who are in that situation and have not thought about this as an option.

Which brings me to a key point: teaching your clients HOW TO BUY.

Years ago I sought out and purchased a phone system from a vendor, only to have my current IT company grouse at me for not buying through them.

I told them quite clearly they were idiots for not educating, reminding and pursuing ME to let me know they even offered that.

A BIG question you need to ponder: do your clients REALLY know all of the products and services you could sell them? Read full article and comment →

How A Strong Unique Selling Proposition Helps MSPs Market Themselves

Posted by Robin Robins On April 10th, 2019
At Rapid Implementation Workshop we cover the USP, or unique selling proposition, in detail: what it is, what it is not, how to develop it and how to use it in your sales and marketing to unseat incumbent providers, close more business and fight price sensitivity.

For those unfamiliar with the concept of a USP here’s the short of it. It’s a one sentence statement explaining why a prospect should choose to do business with you versus any and every other option…including doing nothing.  An example that became famous was from Dominos Pizza. “Fresh hot pizza delivered to your door in under 30 minutes or its free!” 

More often than not, most IT services businesses do NOT have a USP and are largely a “me too” business that appears to be just like every other MSP they compete against. Because of this, they start from a weak position with no authority, which leads to difficulty in selling their services at prices even slightly higher than the competition’s.

After all, if Joe’s Computer Shack appears to be delivering managed services for $20 a seat less than you, why SHOULD prospects pay you more? While I understand there IS a legitimate difference in service, quality of delivery, etc., your PROSPECT doesn’t know.

Fast Response

Not too surprisingly, “fast response” is very often brought up as one of the key differentiators many have over their competition, and it IS a good one.  “Slow” to no response, dropped balls and poor communication are all the top reasons why businesses fire their IT company and look elsewhere. But if you’re going to claim THAT as all or part of your USP, you can’t be half in. Someone who is trained and managed needs to answer the phone LIVE, ideally 24/7, but definitely between the hours of 7:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m. Read full article and comment →

Six Ways To Elegantly Overcome Price Objections In Your MSP Business

Posted by Robin Robins On March 27th, 2019
Unlock SalesAsk any salesperson to list the most difficult obstacles for them to overcome and, inevitably, price resistance will come up.

However, I don’t believe most prospects are hung up on price – they’re hung up on something else and are using price as the reason why they aren’t buying, because it’s the easiest obstacle to throw your way.

Any prospect knows that “I can’t afford it” is an objection that’s impossible to argue, given you, the seller, have no real knowledge or ability to prove or disprove that.

Further, most salespeople will stop selling when that objection is thrown out for fear of being “pushy” or insulting the prospect.

So how do you overcome it?

Read full article and comment →