Looking at some of the preliminary data from our MSP Sales and Marketing Survey, I see a clear indicator that a majority of the service providers we talk to don’t have a full-time resource dedicated to marketing. While this isn’t a major surprise, it does remind me of the opportunity we have to better enable our Partners when it comes to some of the marketing fundamentals.
Start with the Fundamentals: The Marketing Funnel
It’s important to keep in mind that marketing is something you do throughout a customer’s entire buyer’s journey. The Marketing Funnel model helps you balance your marketing efforts to address each buyer at each stage of their journey.
The four main stages of the funnel are:
- Attract: Getting the attention of your target audience
- Convert: Getting potential leads to respond to you through calls to action
- Close: Turning qualified prospects into customers
- Grow: Deepening your relationships with existing customers
Defining the stages this way helps you maintain balance in your marketing efforts and enables you to tailor your marketing plans to address any stages of your funnel that might require extra attention.
For example, if you’re struggling with lead generation efforts, then you might want to pay some extra attention to “top of the funnel” activities such as SEO or pay-per-click advertising. Or, maybe you’re looking for ways to grow relationships with existing customers, so hosting customer-specific events or launching a new monthly email newsletter would be a great idea. Of course, there are some tactics that are valuable across multiple stages, such as email marketing and tradeshow participation. Let’s review each stage in more detail.
Attract new leads
One thing that most of the service providers I speak with have in common is that they want to grow their business. Their growth goals vary, but whether you’re looking to drive your revenue up by 5 percent or 30 percent, adding new customers is a key piece of the puzzle.
There are tactics you can use to maximize the number of new leads you can capture to help feed the top part of your funnel. These include SEO, pay-per-click advertising, and attending local events that potential customers will be going to.
Convert potential leads to qualified leads
You want to make it easy for potential customers to qualify themselves as such. This can make prospecting much easier for you. Leveraging calls-to-action lets the potential customer help you know they’re interested by capturing their contact information and details about their interests.
To do this, try adding a “request a quote” form on your website, sending an email blast offering a free business continuity consultation, or offering a webinar that they can register for and ask questions during. Of course, you don’t want to neglect cold calling. It’s a proactive way to further qualify leads.
Close more deals
How do you turn 50 quote requests into 50 new customer accounts? Well, you might not win them all, but by focusing concerted marketing and sales efforts on those near the “close” stage of the funnel, you can achieve excellent results. A few critical elements here include having a system in place to track your interactions with your prospects. You need an organized place to keep your notes on your conversations with them and a place to store important information about their business.
You also want to have some interesting content to share with prospects to help keep your leads “warm” even if they aren’t ready to make a commitment yet. Leveraging a CRM and email marketing tool for this will work wonders for you, and it will make it easy for you to get in touch with the right prospects (and customers) at the right times.
Grow your relationships with existing customers
According to Marketing Metrics, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60 to 70 percent. The probability of selling to a new prospect is between 5 percent and 20 percent. Clearly, this means you can’t neglect that section of the funnel that focuses on developing your customer relationships.
Keeping existing customers happy by providing outstanding customer service is one major factor here. Another factor is finding opportunities to provide added value through upsells and cross-sells when you can. Engagement ideas include regular in-person meetings, publishing regular email newsletters, and hosting customer community/appreciation events, to name a few.
New resources available
We recently put together a “MSP Marketing Booster Pack” and published it within our Partner Toolkit. This bundle of educational resources is designed to help our Partners drive their sales and marketing efforts, even with minimal resources. It is an ideal resource for MSPs looking to quickly establish a foundation for a marketing program or for marketers looking to jump start or expand the scope of their existing marketing efforts.