In the new normal of work from anywhere, MSPs are an essential part of most business operations, with 75 percent of SMBs already outsourcing some of their IT to a managed service provider. And it’s easy to see why when you look at the numbers—it’s estimated that managed services reduce IT costs by 25-45 percent and increase operational efficiency by 45-65 percent.

With service in such high demand, competition is stiff as more providers flood the market, and MSPs looking to gain an edge are focusing on marketing and messaging that speaks to the unique needs of their target audience. And a more personalized approach to marketing your MSP can be powerful—in 2020, customer experience beat out product and price as the key brand differentiator. 

But what’s the ideal experience for your unique customers? Here’s a breakdown on how to make your MSP stand out from the competition and help you build a marketing plan that covers the bases from prospect through post-sale.

It Starts with Understanding Your Buyer Journey

The buyer journey consists of four main stages, each with specific needs. It’s important to understand each stage of the buyer journey to be able to target your outreach with the right message to grab attention and convert customers.  Here’s a handy guide to the most effective content and messaging tools for MSPs.

1. Awareness

  • Goal: Introduce yourself and your services to your prospects and generate interest
  • Buyer needs: Education and immediate solutions

Marketing vehicles:

  • Your website: 90 percent of B2B buyers research up to seven sites before they make a purchase decision, so the content of your website is critical to catching and keeping attention. Your website should educate, engage and inform your audience about thorough content and callouts that speak to your strengths and clearly convey your ideal customer and value proposition. 
  • Blogs, checklists and how-tos: Providing a buyer with actionable insights is key to positioning your MSP as a trusted partner and getting potential customers to take the next step in the buyer journey. Blogs, checklists and how-to guides help solve a prospect’s immediate need—they might be looking for a new employee IT checklist or tips on finding the right MSP for their business—and help position your MSP as the solution to their problem.
  • Social media: In order to connect with qualified buyers, you need to meet them where they are active. Today’s B2B buyers are using social media as a main tool in their purchase process, with 84 percent consulting social media before making purchasing decisions. Your social posts should feature content that specifically addresses your target audience and how your MSP rises to meet their needs.
  • Video and podcasts: The rise of video as a sales tool continues, and the last few years have seen a surge in video content as businesses adapt to at-home buyers and Sales teams. How important is video in the B2B buying process today? More than half of tech buyers think video is the most useful form of content when it comes to making a purchase decision, and 93 percent of brands got a new customer because of a social media video in 2020.

2. Evaluation

  • Goal: Show your value and demonstrate your expertise
  • Buyer needs: Proof of your product and service capabilities

Marketing vehicles:

  • Case studies: Case studies demonstrate the value of your organization and the type of financial or other ROI your buyers can expect. Include a customer quote or testimonial whenever possible for authenticity and authority, and be sure to keep your case studies updated with new developments as they become available.
  • White papers and industry reports: B2B buyers are particularly drawn to thought-leadership content—88% say it increases their respect for an organization. If your goal is to position your organization as an authority in your field, white papers and industry-focused reports will help.
  • Nurture emails: B2B leads that go through a nurtured email program are 20 percent more likely to make a purchase. Instead of creating one-off emails for promotions, create full campaigns that lead your prospect through the purchase cycle.

3. Decision

  • Goal: Differentiate your MSP from your competitors
  • Buyer needs: Proof of ROI and peer input and evaluation 

Marketing vehicles:

  • Customer testimonials: Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. If you have regular meetings with your customers, or if you know of a few accounts that are happy with your service, it’s a good idea to reach out and see if they’d be willing to do a short interview or a written testimonial. 
  • Consultations: When it comes to making purchase decisions or expanding existing services, buyers are looking for more than just tech recommendations. With most of the sales process now taking place entirely online, when buyers engage with salespeople, they are looking for someone who can add value beyond just recommending a product.

4. Post-Sale

  • Goal: Increase account value through increased services
  • Buyer needs: Continuous engagement and strategic insight

Marketing vehicles:

  • QBRs: Quarterly business reviews (QBRs) are a great opportunity to build long-lasting partnerships—they give you a way to build trust by showing your contributions to your customer’s organization. It’s also a chance to increase monthly recurring revenue (MRR) with service increases or new projects.
  • Customer calls and surveys: Follow-up calls and surveys keep customers engaged beyond the sale and provide you with valuable feedback about your product and service. With 92 percent of customer interactions taking place over the phone—from prospect through to post-purchase—it’s important to have a plan for regular calls with current accounts.

Power Your Marketing Plan with Data

MSP marketing starts with understanding your customers and their needs. Liongard helps you gather insights about your clients you can use to demonstrate your value and differentiate yourself from competitors at every stage of the buyer journey. A personalized customer experience, from prospect to onboarding and beyond, is crucial to developing a partnership with your customers that enables you to go from vendor to strategic partner.  

Discover how Liongard can support your MSP marketing strategy. Schedule a demo today for a custom walk-through of our platform.

This guest blog is courtesy of Liongard. Read more Liongard guest blogs here. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of ChannelE2E’s sponsorship program.