Marketing Your Managed Services: Part 2 of 2
In my previous entry we examined four approaches to marketing (mass marketing; social marketing; direct to prospect marketing; and upselling current customers). But you’ve got limited time and budget. So how much should you invest in each of those four categories?
There is no single answer that applies to every business. But I have some thoughts to help you get started.
Get More Customers
Hey! Everyone wants more customers. More customers means more money…. usually. And it means a larger circle of influence. If that one big account cuts you off, you’ll have a dozen other accounts to fill the space while you try and make up for the lost income. It spreads your company’s earnings out over a larger base of people and can go a long way to secure your income stream and build a foundation for your business.
On the downside it often can mean more work and more overhead to handle more customers. Every customer, no matter how much business they do with you, also consumes your limited resources. The key point: Avoid the temptation to serve too many masters and make sure you can truly service the new customers you bring on.
In order to find those new customers, I suggest a good balance of Mass Marketing combined with a good Direct to Prospect marketing strategy.
Build Deeper Relationships With Your Current Customers
Better relationships generate happier clients. In the MSP world, happier clients means incredibly predictable recurring revenue streams. We’re all about recurring income. If your customers forget that you exist, then you’ll move to the bottom of their “need to pay” list. So checking in with your customers and coming up with good reasons to talk with them is key to success.
A combination of a Social Media Marketing strategy combined with a collection of upsells and internal marketing events for your customers could go a long way to solidifying relationships with your customer base.
Become an Industry Authority
To some people, this is a huge deal. Others, not so much. The potential upside: When you’re well known, people pop out of the woodwork with all kinds of new opportunities for you and your business.
Each opportunity builds on the last one and you become more and more well known.
It is not too difficult to become an industry authority (in theory). The trick is to consistently be in front of the people in your industry. This means you need to have something important and motivational to say all the time. A combination of mass marketing opportunities combined with a killer social media strategy can propel you to the top of your industry as long as you’re consistent and interesting with the message you share with your audience.
Keep in mind that I have been talking about building your business from a marketing and sales perspective. This does not count your ability (or inability) to deliver a product or manage and bill your customers. Those are completely separate areas in your business which also require a great deal of time and energy, which brings me to my final point.
Now that you recognize the difference between the four fronts of marketing and sales, you need to understand that the marketing and sales efforts require at least two full-time employees. I suspect most small MSPs do not even have one dedicated employee for sales and marketing. It is not easy to find a qualified salesperson who will work for a salary that you can afford, but it is vital to search one out for your business. Without people dedicated to the growth of your business, it is often too easy to get focused on your current work and forget to bring in new people. Not to mention leaving all that money on the table with your current customers. Too busy delivering a product and not thinking about growth.
Recently we did a webinar with Gary Pica from TruMethods with our partners at Virtual Administrator, and he broke down the numbers to the point where if you were in front of just 6 new, seriously interested clients, per week you should be able to bring in an addition $1.5 million (after taxes and expenses) over the course of the next 10 years. That’s retirement money right there.
But without dedicated sales and marketing, that money will always be a dream.
Have you set goals for your business this year? In what areas are you hoping to grow your business? Lets get a conversation going in the comments. I’m happy to share more about what our company is working on this year, and what we are encouraging our partners to work on. Leave a comment and lets chat some more about this critical topic.
Dan Kolansky is VP of Sales and Marketing for Virtual Administrator, which offers low-cost, highly effective hosted solutions for Managed Service Providers. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship.