There is a glaring lack of creativity and innovation in the way MSPs market their business. This statement is not to offend those who put out a conscious effort, but more to inspire those who do not.

With all the great integrations, analytic insights, and B2B data sources at our fingertips, it allows for busy MSPs to “work smarter, not harder” as it relates to their sales and marketing strategies. Building a few basic automation workflows integrated with the tools that MSPs already use is a great way to achieve growth without expending substantial resources.

Automating referrals

Most small Managed Service Providers get the bulk of their new business from referrals. While the cost per customer acquisition is fantastic and the sales process is a breeze, consistency is a major issue. Relying on referrals to grow your business can be unpredictable and a poor performing model for growth.

That being said, there is still a way to have your cake and eat it too. A great way to turn this into a controlled process is through marketing automation. MSPs should look to create campaigns to ask customers for referrals and provide incentives for them to do so, instead of just sitting back and waiting for deals to roll in. You can either space the emails out over months or do short sprints, hitting them a few weeks consecutively. Either way, be sure to find a balance between being over aggressive and not asking frequently enough.

Tracking the deals in a CRM allows you to optimize your message and find out which of your customers are most likely to refer your business. That allows you to create a target for new customers in a similar industry or with demographically similar decision makers. You may find that even though customers in a given vertical are more costly to acquire, this type of customer is demographically proven to refer more business. Thus, a compounding benefit to acquiring them exists. Seeking out these insights and acting on them is the core of the growth hacking strategy.

Data-driven lead generation

Marketing automation is also great if you want to take a more aggressive lead generation approach. Plugging in highly targeted B2B data and deploying cross platform ads and sponsored posts, in combination with automated email campaigns, can yield great results at a fairly low cost. Creating “matched audiences” from this data and showing these ads on various networks such as LinkedIn, Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can drive brand awareness and lay a foundation for your overall brand message.

When you eventually attempt to make contact with your prospects to make your pitch, they will have already heard of your company and be familiar with your service offerings, all of which will help convert your email attempts. The increase in open rate and engagement of your message is well worth the cost of running the ads, as it will add more leads to your funnel and create more opportunities to set appointments. Tying in APIs from heat-mapping and analytic systems running on your landing pages can also help you build a smarter email workflow, sending more targeted content to exactly the right prospects once they show interest on your site.

Streamlining sales processes

There are other added benefits to adopting the marketing automation strategy. Some MSPs rely on technical resources as part of their sales process that are also heavily involved on the service side of the business. This is one of the reasons that outbound sales is so challenging. Through an automated appointment setting campaign integrated with your CRM and PSA, you can better integrate your sales and service departments, ultimately avoiding miscommunication and scheduling issues.

For more ways to grow your IT services business through integration and analytics, follow the Growth Hacking for MSPs series right here on Smarter MSP. More in-depth coverage and actionable examples of the topic can also be found on MSP Growth Hacks.

Photo: Rawpixel / Shutterstock

Kevin Clune

Posted by Kevin Clune

Kevin is a former Operations Director of a Top 500 MSP and current Co-Founder/Editor of MSP Growth Hacks, a content platform that helps Managed IT Providers grow their businesses through technology. His past experiences also include Digital Marketing and B2B Lead Generation.

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