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TAP Blog Series: MSP Customer Acquisition Starts With Planning

The COVID-19 pandemic threw a curveball to many MSPs, with ISG Index research reporting that the managed services market will experience a 17% decline in Q2 2020. Though the second half of the year is expected to pick up, it’s more important than ever to have a strategic plan when it comes to marketing for customer acquisition.

Support your MSP’s goals with a successful customer acquisition plan

New and seasoned MSPs alike often find acquiring customers to be a daunting task, pandemic or no pandemic. While referrals are nice when you get them, a proactive approach to sales and marketing can help you scale up quickly.

Solidify your foundation 

Start by assessing your current situation and clarifying your  core purpose and values. Ask yourself:

  • What differentiates you from other MSPs?
  • What do you want to accomplish with your sales and marketing efforts?
  • Is everyone on board and working toward the same objectives?
  • Are your roles and responsibilities well-defined?
  • Is your website ready to deliver your message to prospects?

As the saying goes, success is 90% planning and 10% execution—so, make sure not to skip this important step.

Build your sales team

Follow these four essential practices:

  1. Define objectives and roles
    From cold calling to upselling, define each sales role and what it means to be successful in it.
  2. Find the right personality
    Look for a “hunter” type who can close deals but who also understands and fits in with your culture. This rare unicorn will be the face of your company and a main source of its growth, so it’s very important to hire the right person.
  3. Keep your sales team motivated
    Make sure your compensation model rewards success and keeps your salespeople hungry for more.
  4. Evaluate regularly
    Assess both performance and expectations often to ensure they align with your current position and goals.

Cultivate your brand

With a motivated team in place able to speak knowledgably about your services, it’s time to get them in front of prospects. Whether it’s setting up Zoom meetings while we’re social distancing, or attending meetings and speaking events, your salespeople should embrace every opportunity to show prospects you’re an expert and a trusted partner invested in your customers’ success.

Generate leads

To generate more leads for your salespeople, make a concerted effort to up your marketing game. Many successful MSPs utilize all or some of the following:

  • Referral programs
    Give your current customers an incentive to refer you to their business contacts.
  • Video and content sharing
    Especially now—with so many people working from home, not traveling or attending meetings, and on devices more often—finding ways to share the exciting, humorous, important, and triumphant things you do gives your prospects a better understanding of your value.
  • Targeted PPC, Facebook, and LinkedIn Ads
    Again, now is the time to get those compelling messages out there with professionally executed online ads.
  • Invest in marketing automation tools
    We’re big fans of automation, so any trusted tool that can eliminate repetitive or manual marketing tasks will surely end up paying off.
  • Use your marketing development funds (MDFs)
    Put channel partner money to good use by supporting your marketing initiatives.

No matter which avenues you choose, take the time to form a methodical and intentional plan of action before jumping in.

Make the sale

When you have a prospect in front of you, use that opportunity to demonstrate all you can do to go above and beyond break/fix issues to strengthen their business. Make the sale by:

  • Using professional communication materials that detail your key contacts and how to reach them for various questions and concerns
  • Picking the brains of stakeholders to get a holistic view of their company, the issues they face and the opportunities available
  • Optimizing the sales assessment and discovery process as much as possible. If you have the power to automate documentation, use that during the sales process to show the powerful data aggregation and change detection abilities you have in your toolbox

Yes, making sales can seem like a daunting prospect, but following this process can help make selling and marketing your services as painless—and effective—as possible.

Adam Slutskin, Chief Revenue Officer, Liongard

Liongard is a member of the SolarWinds MSP Technology Alliance Program (TAP). TAP is a growing group of trusted vendors we’ve teamed up with to offer a variety of third-party integrations and services to help MSPs better serve their customers. This blog is part of the TAP Blog Series through which we will provide you with relevant and interesting guest blog contributions from our TAP members. 


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