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MSP 102: Building Dedicated Managed Services Sales and Marketing (Part 1)

Businesses built on the managed services model have the same organizational functions as many other firms. However, the skills and acumen required for these functions in the MSP model are dramatically different than those in other models. If any MSP business owner were to approach sales and marketing from the same perspective as a normal business, they may be hurting themselves more than they realize.

Author: VIPRE Security‘s Kevin Raske

According to the Technology Services Industry Association 2017 Managed Services Benchmark Study, dedicated managed services sales create 8% greater revenue growth and when MSPs use dedicated and specialized client management, their contract renewal rate can increase by 14%. It is with these two crucial statistics in mind, we at VIPRE Security, present to you this first group of three tips to set up your managed services sales and marketing for success.

1. Define your Target Market, Message, and Media to Build Your Sales and Marketing Plan

How can you begin to acquire new leads if you don’t know what type of customer you should be going after, what you should be communicating to them, and how you will be communicating to them? It is imperative that you have an overarching Marketing and Sales strategy that guides your day-to-day decisions and pushes your team in the right direction.

When building your target market you must ask yourself a few questions: Who is your ideal client? Who is most likely to buy your services? What group of people would need what you sell? It is vital to have complete clarity on who your client is or should be to begin your planning. Clients not only define your marketing plan but also your services, how you package, price, and deliver them. Also, ensure that you understand your client on the deepest level possible. Get as granular as you can and even take it to building personas.

The next step after you clearly define you target market is to answer the question, “Why should someone choose my business over others? What is my Value Proposition?” If you and your teams cannot articulate the answer to this question in a relevant, clear, and compelling way, you will struggle to win business from cheaper competitors and find it extremely difficult to secure new business.

Finally, once you have a well-defined target market and ideal, compelling message, you can now begin distributing your message through your selected media. Media is simply the means you use to convey your well-crafted message to your audience. Most firms are ready to have the rubber hit the road and start with media before addressing the prior two items which leads to disjointed marketing and can cause a marketing budget to be wasted. Use media that meets your targeted decision-makers at their level. (i.e. Facebook paid promotion probably isn’t the best way to reach a CEO and you should opt for well-curated content and email marketing that would better get their attention.)

2. Make sure Sales and Marketing Clearly Understands your Product and Services and Can Communicate to all Levels

Selling and marketing managed IT services to any business is a challenge as you deal with decision-makers of all technical skill levels. Your teams may encounter Owner/Operator/President/CEO types of a SMB that have little ability when it comes to IT. You also may encounter larger businesses that have IT Admins who are seasoned veterans and know what they are talking about. Either way, your sales and marketing teams should have a deep technical understanding of your products and services, so they can perform their specific job responsibilities effectively. Your teams should know how to both communicate the complex details and how to explain your services and products in the simplest terms.

3. Focus on Customer Experience and Word of Mouth

How do you create a business that both delights customers and creates influencers willing to recommend your organization to others? It is done by focusing on overall customer experience and creating opportunities to ignite word-of-mouth referrals. Customer experience or CX, should be a priority for any business. Whether in the B2B or B2C space, customers should be able to find a seamless, effortless, and delightful customer experience. Why? When customers have great experiences with your brand it will create deep emotional connections which drives people to pass it on. This leads to massive opportunities for offline word of mouth marketing and referrals.

According to researcher and subject matter expert Jonah Berger, referrals/word of mouth marketing is 10 times more effective than traditional advertising for two reasons: it is trusted and it is targeted. Berger says, “We are more likely to trust our friends. When we share, we select people who we think would find that given piece of information most relevant. So, word of mouth tends to reach people who are actually interested in the thing being discussed.”

With the managed services space growing rapidly and the global market expected to reach $193.34 billion by the year 2019. It is important to stand out and be a top-of-mind choice for vendors. This is achieved through CX and word of mouth.

Conclusion

While this short list is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to managed services sales and marketing, it is a great place to start. It takes time and effort to craft an excellent marketing/sales plan and build and ideal customer experience. Join us next month as we dive deeper into these foundational strategies and continue to build an ideal managed services business.


Kevin Raske is a marketing specialist at VIPRE Security and parent company J2 Global. Read more VIPRE Security blogs here.

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