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MSP marketingThe other day, I was having a conversation with a trusted colleague of mine. We were talking about what makes some managed service providers SUPER successful, while others seem to wither away like a sad autumn leaf.

After plenty of brainstorming, we both came to the same conclusion: CULTURE.

But not just any culture, a culture of sales and marketing.

The difference, though, is that I put more emphasis on marketing, and he’s all about the sales. I suppose it’s a little like the chicken and the egg debate. They’re both equally important to the process, and you need both to be successful in this cut-throat industry.

Sales Isn’t a Bad Word

Managed service companies that have a mindset  — or “culture” — of sales and marketing are focused on doing whatever it takes to increase awareness, position themselves, gain new opportunities, and ultimately win new business. It’s as if they’re “strategically lucky” when it comes to new business opportunities; luck seems to just land in their lap.

On the other hand, the MSPs that say things like “We’re not salespeople” or “We’re not marketing people” always seem to come out on the losing end.

A successful organization understands that everyone is in sales — and everyone is in MSP marketing. There is no other way to approach business and still come out on top.

During my time at IT Matters in Calgary, I was very fortunate to be mentored by some of the brightest minds in business. One of these individuals was T. Harv Eker. I had the privilege of hearing Harv speak in Orange County, Calif. about 10 years ago, and he said something that changed my business life forever: “You must be a marketing and sales organization first … whatever you do is secondary.”

This one sentence — which I still teach MSPs — changed the future of IT Matters. We were a marketing and sales organization that just happened to provide IT services.

From Starving to Success

At IT Matters, we weren’t like everyone else. Everyone else was just a technology company. They provided managed services, and that was all. But IT Matters continued to grow each year, while many of our competitors were stuck in a rut. Many of them are no better off today than they were 10 years ago. Why? They lack a culture of sales and marketing. 

To be fair, it’s not from a lack of trying. They’ve spent thousands of dollars on every marketing toolkit they could get their hands on and attended every marketing and sales webinar. They’ve even sought the help of every consultant and coach out there, hoping one of them will make a difference. But guess what? It never happens.

It never happens because they’re still lacking a culture of sales and marketing, and more importantly, the drive to excel at it. You see, you can’t outsource this problem away or pick up another training book and hope your life will change. You need to change yourself first.

When you can change yourself and change your company culture, then you’re primed for growth.

The good news for you is that this culture can be taught. You can learn to focus on sales and marketing to fuel the growth of your company. But it has to start with YOU.

Are You Ready to Make a Change?

Are you willing to take the necessary steps to grow your business, focus on driving revenue derived from sales, and devote all of your time and attention to the little marketing touches required to fill your pipeline? Are you willing to get up early to attend a chamber of commerce meeting? Do you have the burning drive to fill the top of your sales funnel with so many new names that it gushes over the top?

Because that is what is takes: the hunger to win in the marketplace, no matter what. You can’t reshape your company or its culture without it.

If you’re ready to make a change, here are your next steps:

  1. Listen to my webinar on the five things I did everyday while running my own MSP.
  2. Accept no excuses. Sales and marketing trump all other activities.
  3. Everyone on the team needs to understand that sales is vital to the success and growth of the organization.
  4. The right mindset is playing to win, every time.
  5. When all else fails, see rules 1 through 4.

Technology is incredibly important. That is a fact. But, without a sales and marketing engine powering your company, it’s worthless.

So why should you listen to what I have to say? Just like my trusted friend from the beginning of this article, I too have built a multi-million dollar managed service business. I coach and consult the rising stars of the MSP space, and I have a great life.

Why? I have the culture and the knowledge to succeed. And I want to help you.

Ready to learn more? Join me and Neal Bradbury, senior director of business development at Barracuda MSP, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Thursday, Nov. 2 for “How to Build a $3 Million to $5 Million MSP in 3 Years or Less,” a special webcast with ChannelE2E.

Photo by Dakota Roos

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Stuart Crawford

Posted by Stuart Crawford

Stuart Crawford is the CEO and Creative Director with Ulistic. Ulistic specializes in working with IT service companies globally helping them connect with their markets and achieve stratospheric success. Need help? Please feel free to reach out to Stuart and his team at Ulistic. Every day, they help managed IT services companies overcome many of the challenges they have with marketing. Learn more about Ulistic at or call 716-799-1999.

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