Managed service providers (MSPs) often struggle with selling their services.
Most are founded, owned and managed by engineers and tech experts who understandably don’t have experience in marketing and sales. This is a serious issue. The first MSPs were able to generate revenue through word of mouth. This is no longer true in today’s crowded and competitive marketplace.
That’s why we’ve come up with a definitive three-part series that will help you:
- Develop a brand that’s meaningful to prospective clients
- Create marketing messages, campaigns, and collateral that get prospects to take action
- Build a sales culture focused on closing deals.
Promoting traditional tech solutions is very different from marketing managed services. It’s one of the key issues MSPs have to deal with right now.
The former is a one-time, single-decision deal. Catch someone on the right day, in the right way, and you’ll make a sale. The latter is subscription-based which requires earning ongoing trust and commitment from buyers.
Selling something once is much simpler than building business relationships. That’s why creating a brand people believe in and connect with is foundational to the success of MSPs.
Let’s start by explaining how to develop a brand that helps prospective subscribers understand what your MSP does and why they should do business with you. It will also make your MSP stand out from the competition in a crowded industry.
- What types of businesses do you want to serve?
- What are the characteristics of your ideal clients?
- What solutions do you offer each type of client?
- How do you make the lives of your subscribers better?
- How do you help them be more effective?
- What makes your services different from — and better than — those of your competitors?
Answering all these questions might seem daunting, but it’s the only way you’ll come to terms with what your business does, who it serves and what makes it unique. It will help you build a brand, messaging and sales process that engenders trust and gets results.
Tip: Many tech professionals don’t take branding, marketing, and sales seriously. They consider the things they can do in their downtime. This is a big mistake, especially in today’s sophisticated, integrated marketing and sales culture. Investing in them is as important as spending money on developing and upgrading technology. MSPs must find the right balance for their individual businesses.
Building your brand
Once you answer the questions outlined above, you’re ready to define and develop your brand.
Different types of businesses leverage MSPs for a wide range of reasons including things like outsourcing email, handling help desk duties, managing security, providing cloud storage and much more. Being able to clearly define and explain your services and unique position in this crowded and diverse field is critical.
Brand building must be a team effort. Include everyone in the process who develops solutions for — or interacts with — customers. Executives will have different perspectives than developers. One sales rep may not see things in the same way as another. Encouraging the people you work with to align on a single vision will ensure everyone in your organization presents your brand in the same way.
Pick your prospects
Start by working with your team to identify your ideal client base. No two clients are alike. Some are more likely to convert than others. Some are more profitable. A few are simply more satisfying and enjoyable to work with.
Understanding who you want to do business with is at the foundation of building your brand. Knowing who you are communicating with is the only way to figure out how to reach them and know what to say. Plus, it’s a smart investment. It’ll keep you from spending time, effort and money going after the wrong people. Or reaching the right ones and saying or doing the wrong things.
Align on your value
Next, you and the people on your team need to figure out what value your MSP provides to your ideal prospects.
Once you align on this, you will be able to develop a value proposition. This is a simple statement that clearly explains the value your MSP provides to those in your target audience. A good benchmark is that it should be brief and clear enough for prospective clients to understand in 30 seconds or less, the typical length of an elevator ride. That’s why it’s often referred to as an elevator speech.
Tip: Many MSPs are tempted to adapt their tech solutions to be everything to everyone. Don’t do it. People are unlikely to understand — or act on — mixed messages.
Differentiate your MSP
Finally, work with your team to figure out what makes your MSP different from others that serve similar clients. These differentiators will become the proof points that support your value proposition. They should make it clear why your services are unique — and better than those offered by your competitors.
This is a critical step. If you find it difficult to explain how your MSP is different, it could be time to retool your services. Taking this step is always worth it. You won’t be able to close sales if prospective clients can’t figure out why they should pick your services above those offered by others.
Tip: Mobile Locker’s app can be a valuable tool when developing a brand. It will keep all your documentation and discussions in a central place so they can be accessed by stakeholders. It will facilitate communication and encourage collaboration, which will help get buy-in from everyone involved. Contact a helpful Mobile Locker expert to find out how we can help you with your brand-building process.
Building a brand is the first step toward sales success for MSPs. Look out for the second part of our series. It explains what you need to do next: leverage your brand to develop messages and marketing materials that will get prospects to take action and do business with your MSP.