MSPs: Adapt or Die

What do the Cold War, natural selection, and an evolving business sector have in common?

They are all examples of a race to dominance. Superpowers amass resources and pursue technological superiority. Animals adapt to their environment. Businesses mature and edge out their competition.

Co-Author: Your Sales Energy’s JP Roe
Co-Author: Your Sales Energy's J.P. Roe
Co-Author: Axcient/eFolder’s Tom Watson

Or they fail to do these things and they perish, each in their own way.

From the smallest scale, microorganisms, to the largest, entire groups of nations, this is nature’s unavoidable game plan.

As far as industries go, the Managed Service Provider is still young. (I’m sure you’ve experienced your share of growing pains.)

MSPs are young, but maturing rapidly. The digital age is an incredible incubator. With the unparalleled sharing of ideas, access to expertise, and ability to track and respond to changes in the market, competitive managed service providers are maturing at lightning speed -- and leaving the laggards behind.

Just a few years ago, many MSPs enjoyed a “blue ocean” with very little competition. Growth came easily and organically. Now, their ocean is filling with sharks. There are thousands of successful MSPs in the United States, and the big fish are swallowing up the minnows right on schedule.

Evolved MSP Marketing: Become the Shark

When you’re given a choice between maturing your business or passively feeding it to the sharks, there’s no doubt which is the preferred option.

Your Sales Energy, recently teamed up with Axcient’s MSP Ignition!  to create a webinar series on Evolved Marketing. In these webinars, we’re discussing what’s involved in maturing an MSP’s branding, positioning, messaging, and promotion so that they can not only remain competitive but continue to grow.

In case you missed it the recording of MSP Ignition! #19 Developing an Evolved Marketing Strategy:

Video link

These discussions are largely about adaptation and escalation. The channel has grown from “any marketing is better than nothing” to ”you really need to take marketing seriously” in a very short amount of time, and we’re all about helping MSPs ride that curve.

During our recent webinar we ran several instant polls and found that a majority of the webinar attendees were still unsure about their marketing as we head into 2019. Even for those who are taking their marketing seriously many are at a loss when it comes to execution.

The good news is that MSP owners are taking action before it’s too late. Immediately after the first webinar, YSE was contacted by several owners who wanted to take their marketing to a more competitive level.

Our initial discussions with these MSPs fell right in line with what we see throughout the channel. They’re not sure how they should be marketing. They’re not measuring their results. They’ve tried numerous approaches with no success. They’re outsourcing some aspect of their marketing, but they have no idea if it’s paying off.

All of these symptoms are extremely common, so don’t feel singled out if any of them sound familiar!

5 Key Points on Evolved MSP Marketing

These common issues with marketing lead back nicely to the five main points we covered in the first webinar:

1. Do you know your business well enough?

Have you really sat down and evaluated the heart of your organization? What are your unique skills and experiences? Your values and goals? Your strengths and weaknesses? Where are you making and losing money?  What new areas of business are you looking to develop?

Knowing the character of your brand is essential when it comes to developing a marketing message.

2. Are you specializing and/or verticalizing?

People want specialists, so give the people what they want. We’ve seen time and again that verticalization leads to success, and the reason is pure common sense. Your prospects are comforted by the idea of working with someone who knows their industry. There’s an instant relatability there that comes through in your marketing.

Do you have the numbers on which verticals you service are delivering the highest profitability?

Which of your verticals are growing fastest?  Where should you put your marketing spend when it comes to verticals?

Therein lies the rub. Verticalization takes time and resources. It’s hard for someone who is already juggling every aspect of the business to create new web pages, sales funnels, emails, and other collateral to service a particular vertical.  If you have a detailed understanding of your verticals then you can know how to create a strategy and bring in the needed resources to grow your verticals.

Later This Week: For key points 3-5 on Evolved MSP Marketing be on the lookout for Part Two of this post later this week.

Join Us: For more MSP Ignition! Click here to register and join us on January 22nd MSP Ignition! 20: Identify and Target Your Ideal Prospects – with Your Sales Energy.

By J.P. Roe of Your Sales Energy and Tom Watson of Axcient’s MSP Ignition! Read more Axcient blogs here.