MSPs that participated in this year’s CompTIA “Trends in Managed Services” report cited acquiring new customers as their top priority for the next two years. Even though increasing business with existing customers is easier and less expensive, at some point you need to attract new business to sustain growth plans. And all providers recognize this.
Two-thirds (62 percent) of MSP participants in CompTIA’s research said net new customers are a business priority for them. Another 58 percent had plans to increase their share of wallet with existing clients.
A mix of both is likely what most have in mind. But it’s important to recognize that acquiring new customers will require a different approach from growing existing accounts. Sure, there are similarities in explaining your services and their benefits to customers. When prospecting for new customers, you have to basically start from scratch. First, you have to find the customers. Here are five customer acquisition strategies to consider:
Word of Mouth
It’s probably the most unsung of all strategies, but word of mouth still remains one of the best ways to recruit customers. It happens again and again: either an existing customer or a local business will recommend a provider to someone looking for IT services. Don’t underestimate word of mouth, but don’t take it for granted either. You’ll benefit from it most by providing good, reliable services to existing customers.
How can local networking help you? You can gain leverage through participation in local civic organizations, maintaining a relationship with the chamber of commerce and sponsoring charity events and sports teams. All are ways to get your company’s name in front of large groups of people. And you’re doing it while giving back to the community. It’s a win-win that produces dividends in the form of new customers who might never have learned about you otherwise.
Social media generates controversy because it often amplifies distasteful behavior, but it’s still a valuable business tool. It lets you engage with existing customers and enlist them as advocates of your brand. Social media really is word of mouth in digital form. It can reward or punish you for your reputation, which brings us back to the importance of treating customers right.
Be it national trade shows or regional and local get-togethers, leverage events to get in front of potential customers. It’s not just about staffing a booth at a show. You should also participate in panel discussions, presentations and demonstrations. Attract show-goers to your booth with a giveaway, such as a tablet or laptop, or even better, by offering prospects a free service demonstration or network assessment.
Some vendors are better about providing leads than others, but you should always know your vendor partners’ requirements to qualify for sales leads and customer referrals. Not all leads are likely to pan out, but those that do could contribute handsomely to your revenue generation.
These customer-acquisition strategies can help grow your business. However, before you implement any of them, think about the type of customer you want to target and make sure you are ready to follow up on prospective customers’ inquiries and concerns. If you are going to win new customers, you have to know what you’re looking for and have the time to put into the process.
Marvin Blough is StorageCraft's Vice President of Worldwide Sales, where his focus is on expanding the company's global reach by establishing channel partnerships that enhance profitability for the channel partner.
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