Q: I’ve recently started working in sales and marketing for a local MSP company. Right now, besides the business owner, I’m the only person focused on bringing in new business. With limited resources, how can I reach new prospects in the market and bring in more monthly recurring revenue (MRR) for the business?
Congratulations on your new position! Many of our MSP Partners are also realizing the importance of having dedicated sales and marketing staff on their teams because focusing on these activities helps them grow their businesses. Even though you’re a one-person team, there are still a number of things you can do to find new customers in your market and close more deals.
Here are four ways to accelerate your MSP sales and marketing:
One of the most cost-effective ways to find new prospects is to network. These types of face-to-face interactions with your small business prospects are extremely valuable because you’ll be able to more quickly identify their business challenges, their IT pain points, and what they’re looking for in an IT service provider. Plus, it will give you a chance to get to know each other, so rather than being remembered simply as your business’ sales person, they’ll recognize you and remember your name.
So, how do you start networking? Research your local area’s small business associations and groups, such as the chamber of commerce and get involved. If you sell to a specific vertical, find their association, subscribe to their newsletters, and look for events you could attend — you’ll be walking into a room full of qualified prospects.
It’s also a good idea to join MSP peer groups to learn best practices, pick up sales and marketing tips, and scope out your competition. Networking with your peers also allows you to create opportunities to collaborate and work together with other MSPs. Having these strategic business relationships with other MSPs could even help you to win new business.
2. Purchase a list
Another way to find new prospects is to buy a list. List buying can present challenges, though, so you’ll want to make sure you’re buying a good list. How do you do that? Carrie Simpson of Managed Sales Pros, a lead generation firm that specializes in helping MSPs find new opportunities, told us about a few websites that she uses for her own business, including:
Carrie also advises MSPs that a good list, one with accurate data and no manufactured information, should cost a minimum of $20 per lead. She also recommends that MSPs first ask for a sample of the list from the vendor, don’t buy more leads than they can follow up with in a month, and review the lists to rule out companies that won’t work or don’t fit your target customer. To learn more, read Carrie’s blog post on the topic.
3. Ask for referrals
An especially easy way to find new leads is to ask for referrals from your customers. This lead generation tactic delivers solid results, and many MSPs rely on it to fuel their sales pipeline. The good news is that it’s not a difficult thing to implement in your marketing strategy.
In fact, IT marketing expert Stuart Crawford says all you need to do is simply ask your customers. You’ll want to choose strategically by asking the customers you know are happy with your services. To narrow it down, think about the customers you’re most familiar with and have developed a good relationship with. Building off these relationships will increase the liklihood that your customers are willing to share their contacts with you.
An important part of asking for referrals is saying thank you afterwards. Be sure to show your appreciation to you customer by sending a thoughtful gift or a thank you card.
4 . Cold call
That’s right, cold calling isn’t dead! One of the best ways to win new MSP business is to pick up the phone. To get started, dedicate an hour of your day to focus on cold calling. Keep in mind that cold calling should be used to develop a relationship and not to make a quick sale. No matter whom you end up speaking with at the small business, ask them questions to learn more about their business and uncover challenges they’re facing. Used the right way, the first cold call should open up the door for further conversations. Once you’ve established a relationship with the right contact, you can make your pitch and close more managed service business.
Getting started with these four tactics will help fill your sales pipeline with warm leads and create opportunities to close new business. And the more new business you’re able to close from these leads, the more monthly recurring revenue you’ll be bringing into your MSP. Best of luck out there!
Ask an MSP Expert is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between.