There’s no shortage of advice for MSPs as to how to do marketing, and no shortage of MSPs who struggle with marketing. Let’s step back for a second and talk about leads. Leads are the lifeline of your business. Without good leads, you can have the best salesperson of all time and not get very far. So what do leads look like?
Before we get to that, let’s just get something out of the way. Your salesperson should not be spending time hunting for leads. Lead generation is a different job, with a different skill set. Don’t waste a good closer on marketing, and don’t waste a good marketer on trying to close deals. You need at least two people for this job if you want to do it right, with each working to their respective skill set.
What Leads Look Like
The first thing you need to know about leads is that they aren’t “anybody that needs IT”. Goodness, no. I mean, any company bigger than a shoeshine stand needs IT but you’re not looking for just any customer – you are looking for good customers. The kind that understand and appreciate what you do, and are willing to pay for it. Let your competitors settle for the rest of the market – aim for the cream. Figure out which among your current customer base are the most profitable and use those companies to build profiles. Typically, these are the companies for which you add the most value. If you aren’t able to add value to a company they probably won’t do business with you, and nor should you expect them to.
A good lead is a company that not only needs your services, but understands that need. If those are in short supply, you’ll need to take leads you aren’t sure about and nurture them a bit. After all, if someone isn’t even close to signing a contract, you only want to invest so much effort in them. But you do want to keep your name in front of them so that when they do need an MSP, or they have a contract with another MSP coming due, you are top of mind.
In a mature marketing organization, leads are typically scored. It takes some data to do this properly, so this might only work for larger MSPs, but basically lead scoring is what helps your salespeople prioritize their efforts. You want to understand how likely a lead is to buy, based on their profile and the interactions that they’ve had with your team already.
Where Leads Live
You never really know where leads live until you can identify a pattern. At first, you’re probably just using word-of-mouth. Once you get a few clients, talk to them about where they like to spend time, what media they like to consume – that sort of thing. Basically learn how to reach them. No point in spending money advertising on one platform if your target audience doesn’t use it. Same thing with any marketing activity – invest where your clients are. Fish where they’re biting. And while you can throw spaghetti at the wall and see what sticks, the best approach is to be a little bit more targeted, which is where those initial conversations come into play.
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