Winning Customers is Not an All or Nothing Deal
So, you are now an MSP. You have figured out how to effectively deliver 85 percent of your value remotely. Your existing customers are happy with the enhanced uptime they are enjoying as a result of your new service offerings, and you have finally (phew) trained, hired, fired, and arranged your technical staff so they are both supportive of and excited about your MSP offering.
In addition, you have established good relationships with your vendors, you know the products, you know who to call when something doesn’t work, and you finally have enough time to research potential future offerings. Everything is in place, and it is time to grow the business – but it hasn’t been growing nearly as fast as you would like. There are plenty of potential reasons for this, but lately one has been bubbling to the top in the conversations that I have been having with partners, and maybe it is your issue as well.
Here is the scene. You are launching into the first meeting with the new potential client. You both sit down, discuss the weather, local sports, whatever, and you’ve reached the moment both of you have been waiting for, where the prospect says, “So tell me, what can you do for my business?” Eight times out of ten, you as the MSP are going to launch into a sales pitch that more or less explains the MSP model, discusses what tools and experience your company leverages to provide excellent support to you customers. They will ask some specific questions, you will provide good answers, and by the end of the meeting you are going to be asking for all of their IT business, and telling them how happy they will be if they make the decision to work with you.
This is the standard pitch, and it suffers from one fatal flaw. The prospect doesn’t know you, they have no reason to trust you with their business, and that is not something you should be able to overcome in one meeting. (By the way, this method works from time to time, and it never ceases to amaze me when it does. I think the combination of IT business owner, plus MSP reputation, sprinkled with desperation as the result of the ineptitude of the previous IT incumbent is generally the recipe).
The Better Solution
The better solution is to swallow the business in small bites, rather than try to swallow the whole thing at once. Both methods will win some business, but over time, MSPs who leverage marketing efforts, coupled with delivering a foolproof solution to a specific problem, then work over time to grow the business, are going to grow in a far more consistent fashion, will be able to enjoy a broader, more stable customer base, and will be far more profitable long term.
So, here is the recommendation. Go out to each and every vendor you work with and ask them if they have tools designed to help you win new business. Ask your PSA vendor and your RMM vendor. Talk to your hosted email provider and your backup vendor. Many of them have those tools, and Intronis certainly does. Put together a marketing campaign that will allow you to solve a common problem for your prospects and promote the solution through email, direct mail, and any other marketing tool you have at your disposal.
Target 100 prospects – convert five prospects into five new customers per month. Make sure the deliverable is easy to deploy and manage, because you need to prove your ability to deliver value successfully at this stage of the game. Most importantly, when you get a new customer, schedule a follow-up three months out. This will be your first quarterly review. Report on the success and value of the services you are delivering and come prepared to offer additional services while you are there. Three or four reviews later, you will be in a perfect position to earn the rest of the business. In fact, your customer will more than likely offer you the opportunity to do so. Take it one step at a time, show clear business value at each engagement, and your customers will come back to you time and time again, asking you to help them solve their business issues. Your margins will be higher (after all, they are asking you to help them now), and because you have never been greedy or aggressive about earning the business, they will be more likely to trust you, and offer you all the work you can handle.