Which will advance your business faster is a long-raging debate in the managed services community.

Stuart Crawford, Consultant

September 21, 2017

3 Min Read
Data Center Worker on Tablet Computer

Question: which will advance your business faster: hiring another tech or hiring another marketing or sales pro?

This debate has raged on for a long time in the managed services community. 

Given a choice, many MSP business owners will always opt for another great tech.

I don’t disagree with this thinking.

However, when business owners step into the breach of marketing and sales, it’s typically a recipe for disaster. 

Here’s why:   

  1. The majority of MSP owners are great technical experts. However, most will admit that they lack skills when it comes to marketing and sales. In my opinion, you should stay focused on the overall growth of the company, and stop performing tech services. Unless you possess marketing and sales know-how, leave this to the experts.
    MSP business owners know what they like, and this often conflicts with what actually works in marketing and sales. Case in point, you may not like getting promotional emails. This dislike for email may color your opinion about conducting email marketing campaigns for your business. If so, you’ll miss out on opportunities.
    Many MSPs have trouble focusing on their ultimate goal. Do you want to grow fast or slowly?  This should determine whether you should hire a tech or marketing/sales expert. Lots of managed service providers want to take on the world but have a hard time getting out of their own driveway. If you want to run a growth-orientated company and generate millions of dollars in revenue within 24 months, then guess what? You need a dedicated sales and marketing team.
    There will be many MSP business owners who will disagree or argue that hiring another tech is the best course of action.

I don’t disagree. But my point is simple: if you’re not skilled in the finer details of marketing and sales, you need help.   

Jay Marrero at NeoCloud Consulting in Tampa says, “As a business owner I must try to free myself from the tech work and focus on business development.

As a small MSP, the strength of the relationships I build are a big reason why people choose us.”

The question I have from Jay’s statement is this: How fast can an MSP grow by simply relying on the business owner’s “personal” relationships?

The point I’m trying to make is that many MSPs fail to get into the market because they don’t have the necessary “bandwidth” to make a huge splash.

MSPs today must adopt the mindset, “We are a marketing/sales company that markets and sells managed IT services for companies in location.”

Elizabath Vanover, CEO of MSP Marketing, an MSP business development company, sums it up thusly: “A business needs demand to even begin.

Sales people help to build demand.

Without demand, what is a tech going to do with no opportunities to work on?”

Elizabeth makes a good point.

Many MSP businesses will build the perfect tech program and slowly bring in new clients.

Growth is slow and even in some situations, non-existent.

A better way?

Ask yourself what are your business goals and what do you want to do as a business owner? 

If it’s technical work, there’s nothing wrong with piling on more techs.

Same if you want to be a CFO or marketing and sales specialist.

But if you want to build a business fast, you’re going to need professional sales and marketing expertise.

At the end of the day, a company needs competent techs, sales, marketing, support and more.

Whatever skills you lack, hire for those talents.

And remember one thing above all else: Whatever your goals and dreams are, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

It’s your business, not theirs.

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About the Author(s)

Stuart Crawford

Consultant, Ulistic

Stuart Crawford is Creative Director and MSP Marketing Coach with Williamsville, NY and Burlington, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty 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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