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Is your MSP business floundering in the tough economy or thriving? Even organizations that are doing well at the moment may be experiencing an excessive amount of churn or cyclical challenges with customers. Turning your business into a revenue-generating machine takes effort and focus, and something else that may not be high on your list: content! Long-form articles or videos that show your prospects that your MSP technicians and project managers are invested in their vertical and can provide the in-depth knowledge and expertise that will help drive their business forward. Finding amazing clients starts with knowing exactly who you are targeting, and then proving that your MSP is the expert in the field. See how to execute a flawless sales and marketing strategy for your MSP by listening, learning and becoming a thought leader in your chosen space.
With a projected compound annual growth rate of over 12% for 2019, the MSP market is booming as people with technical ability and a solid knowledge of infrastructure look for ways to leverage their expertise to support other businesses. The MSP market in North America alone is expected to exceed $193 billion in 2019, up from $107 billion only five years ago. This dramatic growth rate is driven by tens of thousands of businesses from small IT service providers to global technology consulting firms such as Dell Technologies, HP Enterprise and IBM. The midmarket MSPs are one of the most attractive markets, providing mid-size organizations with outsourcing options that allows internal IT departments to offload some of the heavy lifting of networking and infrastructure while retaining a great deal of control over security and platform implementations.
Is your business having an identity crisis? If you’re focused only on becoming the best and most efficient MSP, you are likely to be left behind by your competitors who are following a different strategy. At Ulistic, we work with our MSP clients to show them that first, they must be a media company, then a marketing company, then a sales company — and finally they can show their chops as an MSP! This is a shift that can be uncomfortable for business owners, who are often technical gurus with little experience in some of the media and marketing principles that are driving today’s most successful businesses. Working with a strong marketing partner allows MSPs to focus more on internal technical knowledge and process while still being confident that they will have a steady stream of businesses knocking on their door.
Transforming your MSP into a media company starts with a thorough understanding of content — putting yourself into the mind of your customer with a proscribed method of delivering content. Marcus Sheridan’s book They Ask … You Answer should be required reading for any managed IT services provider because it lays out the case for delivering multi-channel content to your readers that truly adds value to the conversation. Using these theories, the information that you share should immediately, clearly and honestly answer burning questions that potential clients have in mind:
Everything in your content should be geared towards overcoming objections and qualifying your prospects so you are only moving the most qualified leads into the next step of your sales funnel.
How will you know what your prospects are looking for, so you can answer their questions? Just ask your current clients! Dig deep and listen carefully to understand why you won (or lost!) specific projects, and for any concerns that might need to be addressed in future presentations. Media and marketing have to become a part of your business culture. If your business is like many other MSPs, one of the first questions from prospects is how much the service will cost. Don’t be shy in answering this question — let prospects know upfront what the range of costs is for your services. This is a talking point that creates a feeling of trust with your business, which is far more valuable than the potential of scaring prospects away or letting your competitors know how much you charge. Your job is to ensure that you are telling the story effectively enough that prospects will see the value you are providing as well as the costs.
Letting your prospects know how you are able to support their unique market segment allows you to form the deep and lasting relationships that are the hallmark of successful MSPs. While there are some disadvantages to this strategy, it allows your team to focus on learning everything possible about a particular vertical and how to effectively serve that market. Some MSPs have selected small healthcare clinics as their target market. Due to the complexity of the data privacy and cybersecurity issues, it could take years to build the wealth of knowledge required to successfully serve that market niche. One of the best ways to show that you are fully invested in a particular market is to provide a variety of media that helps present your organization as a thought leader in the space. Learning to speak the language of your customers sets you up as an expert, and the right clients will pay generously for someone to solve their tough technology problems. There are several different ways that you can specialize: in vertical markets, technical specialization, geographic locations or by a certain job role or function. Determine what is right for your business, and then start generating the content required to provide social proof in terms of online reviews, case studies and customer testimonials that will provide potential clients with peace of mind in selecting your MSP.
It would be great if there was a silver bullet or magic wand that would allow your business to thrive without the hard work involved in specialization and knowledge sharing, but it’s simply not realistic. When you focus on how your business is different from your competitors, you are one step closer to creating a robust and sustainable MSP business. Your website is a major part of your sales and marketing engine. See how your website stacks up against best practices and your competition when you claim your free website grading session with Stuart Crawford, Founder and CEO of Ulistic.
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL and Fort Erie, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.