In IT Glue’s Global MSP Benchmark Survey, we asked over 1500 MSPs what their biggest struggle was, and an overwhelming majority indicated that sales is where they need the most help. Marketing came in as the #2 answer. This shouldn’t be a surprise when sales and marketing aren’t a core function of an MSP, but an important one nonetheless that can make or break your business. So how does an MSP owner or CEO move the needle on sales and marketing functions?
The obvious answer of course is to throw some money at the issue. But notice the key word here is “invest”, not “spend”. When you see sales and marketing as expense line items, you’re going to struggle to justify the cost, especially when you don’t have a reliable way to analyze the added value new hires will bring. Your first sales and marketing hires have to be viewed as investments, ones that may not pay off on day one, but will pay off further down the road. Remember: It takes money to make money. Marketing and sales professionals are efficient and will take a ton of burden off of your shoulders, but not if you go with the cheapest option.
Stop Hunting Unicorns
It’s awfully tempting to hope your first sales hire will do it all, from prospecting to nurturing to closing. The dream is to not have to suffer through those tasks anymore, right? Marketing activities, like prospecting and lead generation, are a completely different skill set from selling activities. To say the least, it’s unlikely to find someone who can fill these different functions well, and if you did, their services will not come cheap. Apply the concept of comparative advantage here. What are you better at – generating leads or closing sales? Once you know that, hire somebody that specializes in what you are worse at. Even if you’re not great at lead gen, hiring a closer will increase your conversion rate. The increase in revenue will enable you to hire a full-time marketer.
Use a Consultant
There’s a whole cottage industry out there to help MSP owners and CEOs get better at sales and marketing. Obviously, some consultants are better than others, or are better for your particular business, but most of the ones we’ve found have insights worth learning from. Consume as much free content as you can (webinars are usually packed with good information) and if you still need help you’ll know which consultant has the expertise that meets your needs.
Put in the Time
Let’s face it. One of the biggest reasons that MSPs aren’t great at sales and marketing is that they don’t put in the time. These are full-time functions, so if you’re trying to fit this stuff in “whenever you get the time”, you are not setting yourself up for success. Put in the time, or hire somebody else who can. Anything less will mean that you continue to struggle.
The closest thing to a magic bullet is to invest the money for a professional. Mastering sales and marketing – two completely different functions – takes a lot of time and hard work. But it’s a solvable problem. Acknowledge the value in investing in these functions, and decide whether the investment will be your time and effort, or a financial investment into people have the time and expertise to make your MSP grow.
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