MSP 102: Building Dedicated Channel Sales and Marketing (Part 2)
We are back! With the new year comes an invigorating and exciting energy that surrounds any business. Many company leaders are also seeking to inject their marketing and sales department with the same enthusiasm that they feel. However, many do not know where to begin when making radical changes within these specialized operational areas.
Last month we discussed the building of effective marketing and sales strategies in the managed services industry. Our team at VIPRE Security felt there was so much more to discuss in this arena and wanted to continue the talk in the new year. Considering this, here are three more areas to potentially optimize and focus on in 2019 as a business leader seeking to build and sustain effective marketing and sales functions for your managed services business.
1) Implement a CRM and Marketing Automation Software
Just like there are benefits to task automation in IT administration/management there are also immense benefits in the utilization of a single stack Sales and Marketing CRM (Customer Relationship Management Software) /Marketing Automation platform. Many of these systems integrate with each other allowing marketing and sales team members to have a top-to-bottom view of their funnel. This in turn allows them to make better-informed decisions
Marketing automation software allows you to follow a prospect’s journey through top-of-funnel activities, including but not limited to (depending on the automation software) when they visit your website, open an email, read your blog, or fill out a form. Additionally, marketers will typically use automation software to schedule and track marketing campaigns – particularly email campaigns and mass B2B customer communications. Automation software benefits include: prospect and customer segmentation functionalities based on funnel location, lead-nurturing abilities to automatically send triggered emails, and most platforms have rich analytics capabilities.
When an organization utilizes this type of software, a business can help foster leads and prepare them for the sales team, which will potentially increase conversion rates and allow for quicker sales. However, automation only handles half the funnel. CRM’s are responsible for the most important part.
CRMs enable sales teams to store contact information for current customers and prospects, past purchase records, any communications and contact they have had with clients including email, and so much more. According to Capterra, 56% of small businesses already utilize CRM software. This software will enable sales and customer service teams to optimize 1:1 interactions between companies and their clients to increase sales and customers satisfaction.
Benefits of CRM software include:
- visibility into the sales process for sales personnel
- targeted promotional material that will lead to a sale and build good faith between you and your customer
- a full picture of who the customer is and their history with your company
- syncing with other software and social media outlets so you can keep track of what is driving the most traffic
- creation of custom internal alerts to maximize customer interaction
2) Have a plan to maximize revenue from clients
MSPs have the unique opportunity to provide users with a virtual cornucopia of services as we mentioned in our first post in this series. As a Managed Services Provider business grows, so does their ability to offer more to their customers. This could be anything from a new level of priority tech support to a new solution or IT service. Regardless of what the new product or service is, it presents a new opportunity for your sales team to reach out to your existing customer base to both upsell to a higher level of product/service or cross-sell your base to a product or service with a higher margin for your company.
It is essential for every managed services business to have plans and strategies in place to maximize revenue from their client base. Many clients who are newer to utilizing managed services will be hesitant at first to go “all-in” with managed services and may begin with your company at a lower and cheaper level. From a technical and financial perspective, you will know off the bat what path of upgrade is ideal for both your customer and business. In addition, as your teams gain more experience in the upsell/cross-sell process, you will have more insight and data (which can easily be tracked within your CRM) you can fine-tune the process to ensure a successful journey towards maximized revenue potential.
3) Analyze, Analyze, Analyze
As mentioned in the last two points, tracking and analyzing customer/prospect data can help you and your team members to make better-informed decisions as your business grows. You can use data to fine-tune marketing messaging and ensure budget is spent on the right channels to give you the successful and copious amounts of traffic you desire. Rich data profiling can also provide sales teams with the ability to prospect using these data points to better target potential customers who are more likely to buy an MSP’s services. The possibilities available to those who accurately track marketing and sales data while learning to effectively read and interpret it are endless. You can waste less money in areas that are not successful and focus on what is working for your business.
Whether you are new to marketing and sales strategies or you are a seasoned veteran, you can see there are many areas in which you can focus upon this year. Additionally, many other areas of the marketing and sales disciplines we have not touched during this two-part series. We encourage you to search out thought-leadership in all spaces from today’s top authors and teachers. We believe it is imperative for any professional to continue educating themselves within their respective discipline and to learn as much as they can, not becoming stagnant. Educating yourself and applying it to a managed services business enables any MSP to increase revenue and efficiencies within their organization.
Kevin Raske is a marketing specialist at VIPRE Security and parent company J2 Global. Read more VIPRE Security blogs here.
Using a CRM is a definite must, at least once your business becomes sufficiently large. I suppose you can get by without one when you’re still small.