3 Reasons MSPs Miss Out on Marketing Wins

Trust is key for clients to stay for long-term rewards and look past short-term payoffs.

February 5, 2019

4 Min Read
Sad Dog Missing Out

By Brad Stoller

Many business owners and celebrities push back against being called an overnight success. The “Let’s Make A Deal” game show host Monty Hall once famously said, “Actually, I’m an overnight success, but it took 20 years.” From the outside, sure, it looked like Hall catapulted to fame when the reality was that he spent years building his career. You may have even had similar experiences in your own work.

We know that the greatest rewards in business often come from long-term effort. When you talk to your own clients about how your work can affect them, you likely frame the conversation with this perspective as well. Yes, you will get them short-term wins, but the value of working with you over the long haul is where the real magic happens.

That wisdom may be a universal truism, but even the most experienced professionals can lose sight of it, especially when it comes to marketing and sales. We might tell clients in one breath that they should look at the long-term returns of their work with you, but then turn around and expect near-instant returns from our salespeople and from our marketing efforts.

A new marketing campaign might promise an influx of new business over the next two years – especially when you look at the long-tail potential of client referrals and the nature of sales cycle growing longer as the sale sizes get bigger – but the dynamic of parting with cash today for a reward tomorrow can still be a challenge. Even though we know that the long-term return is the smart play, resisting the urge to pivot to short-term thinking can be difficult.

Pitfalls in Long-Term Marketing

In reality, however, the problem is often more deeply rooted than simple budgeting. Here is what we’ve learned from our MSP clients about why the long-term marketing play is difficult to make:

  1. Doubt can fester. Advising clients to think about the long term is comfortable because you have the experience and context to trust in the recommendation you’re making. When you hand that trust off to someone else, you can begin to doubt if you are making the right decision because you don’t have the same depth of insight. To avoid this, you need to carefully choose your marketing partners and be willing to let them do what they do best.

  2. The risk is intimidating. To grow, many business owners feel like they need to “bet the farm” on the next marketing campaign. That’s not true. If your business is in a position where the marketing campaign is your last attempt at staying afloat, you probably have bigger problems to address on the inside of the business. In practice, a marketing initiative should be able to fail without ruining your livelihood.

  3. The foundation for growth is missing. Sometimes MSPs shy away from effective marketing because they don’t want to address their internal shortcomings. To grow, you need a number of resources in place — from employees to service clients to a CRM to manage an influx of new prospects. These issues can be addressed, of course.

When you can step back and evaluate your marketing – perhaps recognizing that you’re …

… not making long-term investments in your own growth – you can make more informed decisions about what will really drive your business forward. If all of your marketing is built around quick turnarounds, you’re likely missing out on deeper opportunities to position your business for growth, which means there’s a whole trove of prospects you may never see or meet.

And that means that your potential will suffer in both the short- and long-term.

Brad Stoller is working to change how MSPs look at their sales processes. He authors articles, provides video instruction for MSP sales tips, and holds sales-related webinars to help MSP owners, managers and sales personnel. As the national director of business development at The PT Services Group, Brad has interviewed hundreds of MSP owners to develop a new way of focusing on quality, first-time appointments and sustainable, exponential growth. Follow @BradStoller on Twitter or on LinkedIn.

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