A managed service provider can have solid infrastructure, fast and accurate procedures, and a support line that is as helpful and responsive as they come. None of that does any good if it cannot generate sales.
Datto’s 2017 State of the MSP Report found that 26 percent of MSPs cite their biggest struggle as marketing and sales, making this area their top challenge. With marketing and sales being such a major pain point for MSPs in general, support in each area can be a welcome relief to any company encountering obstacles in lead generation.
Differences between marketing and sales
It is important to understand that marketing and sales are two different things and what the differences between them are. This will help you understand what support to look for in these areas.
Marketing is about finding potential clients, showing them your business, and giving them information on how you can help. The goal is to make contact with your prospective customers and pique their interest enough that they contact you in some way (whether that is through a web form, email, phone call, or other means). In short, marketing is about generating leads.
Sales have more to do with following up on those leads that were generated. The goal of sales is to close the deal with a prospect and turn them into a paying client. Where marketing has a broad reach, sales are generally more focused on one-on-one activities. You can hone in on a single prospect’s needs when you identify them.
Marketing can be done in many forms, such as email campaigns, webinars, or website outreach, for example. The approach that works best for you will depend on your target customers and what products or services you offer. You may even need different marketing approaches for each service you offer depending on how different they are and how they combine with each other.
Good marketing support should be able to recognize which methods will suit your needs best and take care of some or all of the work on your behalf. For instance your marketing support might be able to write blog posts or case studies on your behalf which you can post to your website or distribute. They may also be able to help you generate leads through networks you otherwise would not have access to.
You may be able to find support that offers assistance in creating promotional marketing material for your products or services. This can include white papers or systems diagrams which you make available for download on your site. You can expect this to be a joint effort to some degree; you know your products and services better than your marketing support, but they can create and polish the presentation of them for the best results.
Since sales is more of a one-to-one effort between you and your buyer, it would be more difficult to ask support to do the large part of work on your behalf. Even so, they should be able to do more than simply giving you a resource portal and letting you figure it out on your own. A resource portal is a good thing to have, but training that goes along with it is a good step up.
Networking can be a part of the sales process as well. This can be in the form of one-on-one meetings with a specific prospect or holding an event for prospects to get a better idea of what your services are like. If you hold networking events with one or more of your prospects, your sales support may be able to offer their own presence and resources at the event.
If your sales support is especially good, they may be able to help you engineer a campaign specific to one of your prospects. In this case, it is important for each party involved to know which exact product or service would be most useful to the prospect. Different products may require different techniques or presentations for the most effective sales results, so understanding which products you are focusing on allows you to present each one in the best light. You should tailor the campaign appropriately to your prospect’s needs.
Stay tuned for more specific sales and marketing tips to help your MSP business thrive.