Not All MSPs Are Created Equal: Which One Are You?
The rapid growth of the managed services industry is being driven by more businesses and organizations adopting IoT (Internet of Things), cloud computing, and data analytics. For many businesses and organizations, this is all a part of their digital transformation strategy driven by the COVID-19 pandemic.
This rapid growth seems like an incredible opportunity for Managed Service Providers (MSPs), but it also increases the level of competition in the industry. The new landscape has presented an open frontier for MSPs, presenting more opportunities to tap into different markets to offer IT services. Given the barriers to entry into the MSP industry, prospective clients have more opportunities to compare their options.
There are countless Managed Service Providers hanging shingles and managing IT services, and they all have a range of skills and competencies. From startups to MSPs that cover multiple cities and states with several clients, MSPs with their own background and clients. When it comes to Managed Service Providers (MSPs), people either love them or hate them.
Do you know where you currently fit in amongst the other MSPs? Knowing where you stand can be beneficial for a variety of reasons. From a sales and marketing standpoint, you will give yourself more opportunities to pinpoint your competition and understand which opportunities will be practicable possibilities and which opportunities will be viewed as distractions. This will also give you the opportunity to sharpen your IT service offerings.
Determine Your Competitive Differentiators
To separate yourself and stand out in the crowd, you need to establish distinct competitive differentiators for your MSP. The differentiators you establish tell your clients how your IT services and business as a whole are better than other MSPs in the market and that you offer a greater value than the others. The differentiators you set should also consist of one or more attributes that your top competitors lack, and promote these attributes to attract prospective clients to partner with you.
What do you offer clients that separate you from your competitors? It may be surprising to know that some Managed Service Providers aren’t able to give a convincing answer to this question. As you meet with business leaders to convince them to trust your business for the managed IT services and solutions they need, you need to make a powerful impression.
Talking about your substantial experience and promising to provide the highest level of customer service will not be enough to convince prospects to choose your managed services. While your experience and your key attributes are crucial, they are purely strengths that can play a part in the entry into the MSP industry, they are not competitive differentiators.
Generate Formidable Customer Referrals
Case studies, referrals, and testimonials can differentiate your MSP from your counterparts. Instead of waiting for an existing client to bring a lead to you, you should become a sales-focused MSP and seek out referrals. How do you make the transition from accepting infrequent referrals to building your own referral network and brag book? It’s not as difficult as you may think, but it does require some work. The first step you should take is to shift your focus inward.
How often have you asked your clients to complete a customer service survey? Have you ever asked specific questions that would lead to them sharing measurable facts about your managed services? The questions you can ask your clients include
Which of our services were most helpful to your business?
How much money have you been able to save this year by using our managed services?
Do you enjoy working with our team? What do you like about our team?
What separates us from your previous Managed Services Provider?
Do you have any suggestions for us? What can we do to improve?
The responses you receive from your clients will be critical to helping you identify those who are happy with your services and the ones who may be on the verge of leaving. This will give you the opportunity to rebuild the relationships you may be on the verge of losing so you can preserve those clients. Once you have this crucial information, you need to spring into action. You have to formulate testimonials and case studies of your positive customer service
While you may fear that sharing client testimonials will just be another avenue for your competitors to gain key details about your clients, your job is not to stop the competition. Your job is to hold on to your clients by using the resources you have available. Use competition to motivate you into finding new ways to keep your clients, rather than focusing on someone snatching them away from you.
Increase MSP Sales Conversion by Retargeting Prospects
It is not uncommon for a prospective client to view the content on your MSP website and leave your website without contacting you. You would be surprised at how many times consumers have to visit a website before they convert.
This happens more often than many businesses realize, as the percentage of first-time conversions is often very small. If 200 visitors view your MSP’s website content or one of your blog posts and only 10 of them reach out to you to schedule a consultation, that means there were 190 visitors who exited your website without scheduling a consultation or taking any action that would lead you to believe they are interested in moving through your sales funnel.
Do you want to know one of the real tricks of MSP marketing? It isn’t getting potential clients to visit your website, it’s getting those prospects to come back to your website. This is where retargeting ads make an impact. If you really want to convert those potential leads into lifelong clients, you need to find ways to get them to return to your site.
You’ve likely noticed that you start seeing ads for certain products or services after you’ve been to the company’s website. This is no accident. This is known as retargeting. Retargeting is a re-engagement strategy that involves gathering details about website visitors so that you will display relevant ads to them even after they leave your website.
Retargeting is great for businesses with longer sales cycles like MSPs. Retargeting allows you to follow your website visitors wherever they go and this will allow you to remain in their minds as they continue to move through the sales funnel. When the time comes for them to make a purchase, your ad will be there.
Tap Into the Emotions of Your Prospects With Comfort Letters
If you’ve downloaded Ulistic’s 17‐Step Sales & Marketing Process, you are familiar with Comfort Letters. You can get local leaders in the community (i.e. Chamber of Commerce) to make a declaration that you are a member and you have always adhered to the strict policies and rules of the Chamber. You can also get your top vendors to write a comfort letter or you could craft a comfort letter and get your vendors to sign off on the letters. You can also get your clients to sign off on an endorsement letter that you can author.
As you have discovered, there are so many steps you can take to separate yourself from your biggest competitors. With the right combination of tools and resources, you’ll be on your way to higher levels of success as an MSP. When you use the data in front of you and listen to your clients, it will go a long way to improving your overall operations and enjoying the benefits. Are you ready to ramp up your MSP marketing with some help from Ulistic? Contact us today.
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Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL 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.
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