‘Success’ is a funny word. It has different meanings to different people, but, if you’re speaking to a businessperson, success is generally measured by profit. Now, let’s be clear: we’re not trying to be cynical. Money isn’t the only indicator of success; it’s just a useful metric for measuring it, and businesses need money to continue operating and keep the success cycle circulating. Success in its purest meaning usually has a far deeper connotation to those who seek it.
What Drives MSPs?
If you’re an MSP, of course, you want to be successful, but what does success mean to MSPs? What drives them? Based on what we’ve heard from numerous MSPs, it usually comes in the form of several key elements:
- Deals — sales and money; ‘nuff said
- Relationships — connecting with prospects and helping them achieve their goals
- Simplicity — to promote their businesses with little or no effort
- Control — to ensure control over leads through the sales and marketing process
- Victory — to win; to outstrip the competition
What Stands Between Goals and Success?
What MSPs really want to be doing is closing deals and helping clients. However, MSP success stories aren’t formed easily. For every success, there are hurdles that had to be cleared. Our discussions with MSPs repeatedly uncover four things that stand between an MSP’s goals and the success they want to achieve:
- Technology shift — the landscape is constantly changing, making it difficult to keep up; partners and sales partners rely on vendors and third party sources to stay on top of the technology shift
- Lack of leads — referrals can only get you so far, usually not to where you need to be
- Client ignorance — prospects and clients don’t always understand what you do
- Time & resources — time is precious, and resources have to be used judiciously because no one has unlimited amounts of money to spend
How Do MSPs Grow?
Simply stated, MSP success stories lie in their ability to grow, and growth is achieved through relationships and referrals. It’s a method that works well when you’re scaling up to $5 million, but the reliance on relationships and referrals tends to lose steam after that. So how can you scale further, say to $10 million and beyond? MSPs are telling us that a new paradigm needs to be adopted: an engine that loses the reliance on key partners and referrals; a self-supporting mechanism that brings in sales.
Four Profitable Secrets
These aren’t really secrets, but you’ll be happy you found them. Based on what we’ve seen and what MSPs have told us, it’s become clear that successful sales partners do four things differently:
- Nurture clients to know you as well as you do
- Partner with your marketing team and market to users and vendors
- Automate so you can work on your business, not your marketing
- Track the numbers — they’re your friend
1. Nurture Clients to Know You as Well as You Do
No matter how much businesses like to think it’s so, clients by nature don’t stop and think of them when a need arises. But that’s not an absolute truth; it’s just the nature of the beast. MSPs can change that paradigm.
Nurturing isn’t a one-time event. It’s a continuous process. That’s why you build programs and stick with them. Did you know that:
- Organizations that use inbound marketing to nurture and educate prospects are four times more likely to be effective?
- On average, nurtured leads result in 20% greater sales opportunities vs. leads that weren’t nurtured?
Educate Your Audience on What You Do and Why They Need You
- Do your clients know what you do?
- Are the benefits of your services clear to prospects?
Bottom line: When clients have a problem, do they automatically think of you? Make them come to you when they have a problem in search of a solution. Educate them on what solutions you offer. Make sure they think of you first when they’re searching for answers.
2. Partner With Your Marketing Team and Market to Users and Vendors
There’s a natural friction between marketing and other internal stakeholders. Every organization experiences it. Did you know that:
- 87% of things marketing and sales teams say about each other are negative?
- Aligning sales and marketing goals will reduce your reliance on referrals and cold leads?
Marketing shouldn’t be the enemy. Remember, it holds the key to creating your own MSP success stories. The goal of marketing is to market to end-users and vendors, but sales partners often fail to realize that half of their marketing focus should target vendors. Vendors know that 80% (or more) of their revenues come from 20% (or less) of their partners.
So naturally, vendors don’t want to spend their money evenly. They want to spend more on partners that will help them sell.
Bottom line: Infighting is self-defeating and completely unnecessary. Rather than trying to compete internally, successful MSPs recognize that developing the brand and communicating capabilities is a critical role. Tight budgets necessitate judicious spending, but understanding the importance of vendors and their role in your success will reap untold benefits.
3. Automate So You Can Work on Your Business, Not Your Marketing
There are two poignant truisms in marketing:
- Your prospects need personal marketing, but that practice doesn’t scale well
- You don’t have the resources for that, but they are out there
The beautiful thing about being small and nimble is that you can spend the time it takes to make your clients feel special, but when you grow, that model simply isn’t sustainable. There are too many stories of long-term clients who chose to contract with another company, simply because they felt that they weren’t getting the attention they deserved.
Marketing automation can address the gap, however. With timely and targeted communications in the form of email, for example, you can keep your clients in the know and ensure that they don’t feel left out.
But there’s more. Marketing automation provides a deep and lasting net-positive effect on new business through qualified leads and it saves you time and money:
- Prospect nurturing through marketing automation resulted in a 451% increase in qualified leads
- The biggest benefits of automation are time savings (74%), increased customer engagement (68%), and increased sales opportunities including upselling (58%)
Bottom line: Automation is attainable. Automate as much as you can. But don’t compromise the quality of your communication.
4. Track the Numbers — They’re your Friend
Metrics behind your marketing efforts are immensely important because in those numbers lie a story. A story of your successes — what worked — and your failures — what didn’t — are both very useful in empowering you to choose your direction, tweak, and change gears when the numbers indicate it.
Conversions = Success
The numbers tell you how you should spend, and the math isn’t that difficult. For example, if 5% of people who visit your site become leads, and 20% of those actually become customers, how many leads do you need to hit your sales targets?
It all depends on what your sales targets are, but the point is that you need visitors to convert from a casual observer to an active participant in order to have leads. A conversion is what you want a user to do when they come to your site: sign up for a newsletter or an account, read a blog post, download a white paper, place something in the shopping cart…they’re all conversions and can be tracked and measured.
Content is King
42% of B2B marketing professionals say that the biggest barrier to lead generation is a lack of quality data. All those micro-conversions — downloading a PDF, requesting a newsletter, clicking a link — are ‘cries for help’ from potential clients who want you to take notice.
If the content isn’t there, however, there’s nothing for them to convert to, and without the data, you’ll be flying blind, so to speak. If you have the right content, however, conversions can be used to create something more meaningful — a true MSP success story — if they’re turned into meaningful data that can be used to generate leads, and ultimately, sales.
Bottom line: Understand the metrics behind your marketing efforts. They tell you what’s working and what’s not, and give you the power to change tactics if the numbers tell you to change. Know your conversions and nurture the leads, but have the content in place so your potential clients will know you and what you can do for them, and so that you can use that data to convert interest into sales.
How Much Will it Cost?
How much does automating your marketing efforts cost? We put together some numbers based on current salary expectations for marketing and content specialists. Now, you may wish to outsource some of these tasks, but the net cost impact will be similar.
Cost of Automating Your Marketing Efforts
|Content Creation||Marketing Automation||Software|
|Cloud Content Writer|
$41,933 (annual salary)
$55,181 (annual salary)
|HubSpot Marketing Automation Package|
$2,400 (Enterprise) per month
$40,666 (annual salary)
$46,231 (annual salary)
|Total: $128,830||Total: $55,181||Total: $28,800|
|Total Monthly Spend: $17,734 per month|
Total Annual Spend: $212,811
As you can see, it’s not cheap, and this kind of pricing will be prohibitive to many MSPs. The numbers simply aren’t workable.
Five Pilots: Turnkey Marketing Automation You Can Afford
On the other hand, you could work with us for a low monthly fee and attain the world-class kind of marketing automation that you deserve. Simply put, Five Pilots is a revolutionary program designed exclusively for businesses — like MSPs — that have the need but not the resources to launch effective marketing and lead generation programs.
Five Pilots is based on the five prongs of the marketing automation campaign:
Pilot #1: Content
Educate Prospects and Clients with Content They’ll Want to Read
- 22 fascinating cloud stories
- 9 downloadable eBooks
- Position yourself as a cloud thought leader on various topics such as managed third-party public clouds, hybrid cloud, DR, benchmarking, and more
Pilot #2: Customization
Make Sure Prospects Associate You with the Solutions They’re Looking For
- Every piece of content is tailored to exactly match your brand
- Regular nurturing emails, customized landing pages, customized eBook downloads
- Multiple calls to action (CTAs) in each piece help move your prospects through the sales funnel
Pilot #3: Automation
Set It and Forget It with Full Automation
- A turnkey solution for MSPs that lack the internal marketing support
- Smart workflows increase clicks and conversions
- Increased leads through the use of surgical, well-timed email ‘drips’
Pilot #4: Measuring
Measure What’s Working and What’s Not
- Focus on what works – it’s all about conversion rate optimization
- Eliminate the guesswork and effectively refine tactics and strategies with regular reporting on your prospects
- Real-time notifications and event triggers when prospects visit your pages
Pilot #5: Leads
Remove the Roadblock to Successful Sales
- Differentiate yourself from the competition
- Increase ‘warm leads’ for your sales team
- Educate clients and prospects alike, so you’re always on their minds
- Do it without a major investment of time and/or resources
We offer three packages that provide different levels of reach depending on the number of contacts. We invite you to try it out yourself for free! You can:
- Step into your prospects’ shoes
- Review five lessons and one download
- Get premium content from your MSP ‘stunt double’ — an imaginary managed IT provider called TeleCo Cloud Systems
Try Five Pilots for FREE Today!
To be successful, MSPs want profits, contacts, simplicity, control, and victory; but competition, lack of leads, client ignorance, and lack of time and resources stand in the way. But successful sales partners work through the challenges, making them MSP success stories. You can be an MSP success story, too.
Our packages (Basic, Professional, and Enterprise) are available at low monthly rates that won’t shock your budget. Best of all, during your free trial, we’ll give you seven full days of premium content! Try out Five Pilots for free, and we think you’ll be convinced! And if you’d like more information, contact us today