Generating leads is a persistent problem for Partners. Most IT businesses are good at client retention, securing solid monthly recurring revenue, but where do they find new clients when the referrals run out?
One of the most common questions we hear from IT Partners is - How do I generate new leads?
In this on-demand webinar, marketing experts Dave Sutton, Paul Green, and Shannon Murphy show you exactly what the title says - How to get 100 NEW leads in the next 90 days. They discuss a powerful system, built and applied across multiple MSPs, that can help you generate more leads and convert them into clients.
We will cover:
You have chosen to attend How to Get 100 leads in the Next 90 Days. I'm Shannon Murphy, Chief Marketer of Zomentum, the revenue platform for Partner Sales.
Today I am joined by Dave Sutton and Paul Green. Let me tell you a little bit about Dave, Managing Director at Wingman Marketing. Dave began his career with MSPs going to work for one - at the turn of the banking crisis. Well, that's a lot. As a Sales and Marketing Manager, he helps these MSPs grow, but had one issue he couldn't find a great agency to share his workload with. Dave spotted a gap in the market where there were literally no marketing or lead gen agencies that actually understood what it is like to be standing in an MSPs place. That seeded the idea of Wingman, his agency, which is today a comprehensive digital agency helping MSPs with tailored marketing and sales efforts designed to achieve those growth goals. Welcome, welcome, Dave.
Hi. Hi. Great to be here. That's the best intro I think I've heard. I want you to some marketing for me, I think
I'll send you my copy of your bio.
Yeah, I think that was better than mine.
You know, it's the writer in me. And of course, let us not forget Paul Green, the head of Big Thinking at MSP Marketing Edge. Paul Green is an MSP Marketing Expert and author based in the UK, working with 500+ MSPs. All over the world, Paul utilizes his chops as a former journalist and radio presenter to help his clients deliver timely content that engages. Members of his MSP Marketing Edge program, improve their marketing and generate more leads with his guidance. He is also the author of and I love this title - Updating Servers Does Not Grow Your Business.
We have a link at the end of this that you can follow and go grab a free copy, which Paul will literally ship to you. You'll have that nice, lovely physical copy, right?
Yeah, absolutely. We've got some 1000 warehouses in the Essex in the UK. And I think they're in Chicago, Illinois in the States. So if you're in the UK or the US, we will physically ship it to you completely free. You don't even have to pay for the shipping for the postage.
Awesome. Awesome. Perfect. Would you would you say it's good beach reading?
Is it good beach reading? No, it's kind of designed as a toilet read actually. So it's 1448 pages. It's sort of the basics of MSP marketing and it is designed for you to sit on the toilet for two nights and read it that way.
I think I didn't write it intending it to be that way. But I think that's what people are - either reading it on the toilet or they're ordering five copies and using it to sort of prop their monitor over and get their monitor up a little bit up on the desk.
Okay, so it can be good for video marketing purposes as well.
Yes, essentially, yes.
I thought you were gonna say beach or mountain reading man. But reading while climbing mountains, probably
Its’ a good way to die. Yeah.
Awesome. So, you know, we're gonna make sure that we deliver on the promise of the webinar. That's very important to me. So we're gonna jump right into now.
What constitutes a good lead? Paul? Right. Let's define this for everyone. We start out?
Yeah, sure. A good lead is someone that you could go on to do business with who you want to go on to do business with.
MSPs talk all the time about lead generation is that it's the number one marketing hassle for MSPs. Where do I get more leads from? You take anyone who's on this webinar tonight and put them in front of a good prospect who is ready, willing and able to buy and you've got a 95% chance of converting them into a client.
The problem is finding those people, it's finding those people, it's checking to see if they're ready to buy, it's checking, see if this is the right moment. If they're at that thing, I use some words, they're ready, willing and able to buy, and then the issue is getting them on the phone, the issue is getting them onto a video call, the issue is getting in front of them.
So that's what makes a good lead. Iff you imagine someone it stays with their incumbent MSP for 5 to 10 years. And you know, you'll know how long your retention is how good your retention is. Let's say your next client is currently with another MSP, they're unhappy. They're not quite right. They've been there for 5 to 10 years. You've got a one to two week window in which to have a serious conversation with them about moving from their incumbent MSP over to you.
So that good prospect is someone who's sort of coming up to that point. It might be a few months away, but they're approaching the window of opportunity. And the trick is you've got to find out who they are and engage with them and start that conversation before they're actually ready to make that buying decision and switch over to someone else.
Yeah, yeah. And breaking away from that idea of like only the referral. Right, Dave?
As millennials. And I keep hearing that we struggle with delayed gratification. And we want everything now. And I think where MSPs have been used to referral business, that's almost that instant gratification of someone that's interested, they're already bought in, they're probably not speaking to any of your competition. So, the buying process is much shorter.
So that one to two week window, that Paul mentioned, where that's the delayed gratification of a lead that you need to continue to nurture and engage over many weeks or months, ready so you're primed there in front of them. As soon as that one to two week window hits, you're already there, you don't want them hitting Google and picking the top five or six MSPs that they find and it becoming a race to the bottom on price. You want them to have established trust and rapport with your brand already.
“So that's that delayed gratification of - get the audience, continue to nurture them. And eventually, when that window hits, you'll be well-positioned because your peers will have given up marketing to them.”
And that's an important thing to remember guys, like with referral business, it's easy, it feels like a great fit, you don't have to work as hard to get them on board. But it's because somebody helped you cut shortcut that trust with the referral, whereas the consistent marketing activities, is creating that trust. But here's
You can lose a referral really easily. People don't realize this. Imagine you've got two MSPs - they're identical in size, identical capabilities, identical levels of staff, but one of them does no real marketing. So their website is poor, it's out of date, there's not a lot of content on there. It's got stock images of servers and network cables. They don't bother with doing social media, they're not particularly active on LinkedIn, because they get most of their business from referrals. So their existing happy clients with other clients to them.
Now, the other MSP might be all over social media. So regularly putting updates on to LinkedIn, onto Facebook, maybe onto Twitter, maybe other platforms, they add new content to their blog every single week, their website is up to date, it's got lovely photos of nice humans because people buy from people.
Now if they get a referral from their clients, their chances of actually winning the business are 10 times higher than the other MSP that doesn't have good marketing. Just because someone has referred you and said - Hey, you should use my IT support company, they are really good. It doesn't mean you're automatically going to get that business. The referral massively jumps you up the queue.
People do check you out, they do check out your website, they do check out your LinkedIn at the very least. And if your marketing is really bad, it marks against you because people judge the book by the cover, they really do. We're all told as kids don't judge the book by the cover, you know, judging by what's inside, but we don't.
The ordinary people that are buying from MSPs cannot cognitively know if you're a good MSP or a bad MSP because they don't know about technology. They haven't got a clue. It's impossible for them. So they're judging you by the cover. The cover is your marketing, you've got to get your website, your LinkedIn, all of these things. You've got to be all over it. And that's when referrals are then almost guaranteed to actually turn into a business.
Yep, yep. And Jarrett Carlson said I lost a referral a month ago, because my quote looked horrible. It's why I got Zomentum. Thank you, Jerrett. I appreciate the shout-out. And it's true, right? Like, we have to have all of our ducks in a row appropriately. And I think even with a proposal, whether it's your marketing website that looks good or a proposal that looks good, it's just making sure that the information can communicate most effectively, what it is that you do - your offer your value, right?
But Paul, I want to make sure that we deliver on 90 leads in 100 days. So let's hit briefly on your framework, what you teach your members in terms of how they can generate a consistent lead engine.
The strategy that I teach to all of my members of the MSP Marketing Edge which can be used by any MSP is a very simple three-step strategy. So I'll tell you what the three steps are. And I'll just go back and put a little bit of meat on the bone.
What we're trying to do here is we're trying to talk to people before that buying-decision day, that day or that week when they're actually going to shift from one MSP to another. We want to build up a whole bunch of people and build a relationship with them before they ever get to that day. If you are ready to switch from one MSP to another today, and you've got a company that you’ve seen their content on LinkedIn, you get an email from them now and again, and you open that email now and again. You've got something printed or there's perhaps a newsletter that they’ve physically posted out to you. Maybe you've seen their adverts a couple of times on Facebook, maybe you've even had a chatted with them on the phone.
All these are called touchpoints. If you've been touch-pointed 3,4,5,10,20,30 times by an MSP, the chances of you at the very least having a conversation with that MSP goes up. Because these ordinary people don't know what they don't know. They don't know how to buy from an MSP. So they're not making cognitive decisions, they're making an emotional decision. They're going to go with - Ahh, I like these guys. I've just been through this myself. And in fact, this is something any MSP can do, they can put themselves through this process.
I'm broadcasting live here from my house. We're about to have some work done on the house. And I had to pick an architect. And an architect's essential to have the work done because they're going to make sure it's safe and looks good. I don't know how to buy from an architect. And the very first architect I contacted, which was a referral, took him like a week to get back to me. He never seemed to pick up the phone, his work was very slow. And he was actually cheaper than the guy that I ended up using. The guy who has delivered planning permission for me in the last week gets back to me really quickly, picks up the phone every time, and his website looks great, his quotes look great, and his work looks great.
I don't know at a technical level if he's a better architect or a worse architect, but I'm an uninformed buyer, like most people buying from an MSP. So I picked him with my heart because I found myself saying this exact phrase to a friend, “Martin's a really nice guy.” That's what I said - Martin's a nice guy. And if I referred him to a friend who needed some work doing.
This is what you want your prospects to do. You want them to look at your marketing, your emails, your social media, and you want them to say they seem like really nice guys. They seem to know their stuff. That's it. That's how we want to influence people.
“So multiple audiences and an email database is a must. LinkedIn is a must. Those are the two databases that most MSPs do.”
You could do a podcast, you could do a YouTube channel, you could do other social media, you could go out and network. In fact, if you need 100 leads in the next 90 days, you need to get out and network to build up multiple audiences of people.
Content Marketing is where you're sending out a regular email cadence- we recommend daily, weekly, and monthly. Things that are daily you post on social media. For weekly you send out an educational email. And then monthly you send them something in the post like a printed newsletter.
So, those are the first two steps.
Now I'm going to ask Dave to do the third step because this is Dave's specialty. The third step is commercializing the relationship. And this is best done on the phone, isn't it Dave?
Yeah, definitely. Inserting the human into the sales and marketing process is really important. Getting that audience in the first place to build your content engine around - is to acquire a list. There are different schools of thought on this - building a list yourself going through and identifying people on LinkedIn, talking to a data house, or with an agency partner like us. But building a list that fits your target demographic is important.
Ultimately, as MSPs you serve a particular region, certain industry verticals, size of business, there is a look-alike criteria that you can use. Go out and acquire that list because there are only so many businesses in the region that you serve. So rather than advertising all these traditional old-fashioned forms of marketing to hopefully draw people in, you want to proactively reach out to them.
“So, build that list, tailor it to yourselves, get a hot list of accounts that you think - when the time's right and the message is right - we'd love to do business with them. Then insert them into the content marketing engine.”
But moving on to the human element. You need to follow up, you need to engage with people. Marketing is great. Putting something out there that you hope will resonate with the audience based on targeting a certain industry vertical, thinking about their pain points, aiming the content at them around their business issues, not the technology.
But the human can ask questions, build a relationship, gather intelligence to build a pipeline. So when you're sharing that marketing, you're following up and you're asking questions - Did it resonate with them? Did it help? While also confirming some of those other facts and figures that you need, such as the relationship with the incumbent. Getting them to score that and just casting doubt in their mind by making them question peace of mind around backup, cybersecurity, industry regulations, other operational matters, are they leveraging automation in their business, other things where you could really deliver value.
So you just want to plant those seeds, and then let the marketing follow up on that so people warm to that idea. And then, of course, you can then strike by commercializing that relationship, by eventually, once that time is right and the messages have landed with them multiple touches over many weeks or months.
In fact, I saw something on LinkedIn earlier that some salesperson that I'm connected with managed to get a prospect over the line to book an initial meeting after 15 prior touchpoints. And that's by phone with other marketing going on behind the scenes. And that's probably over many months.
“So you need that repetition, that system, that process to eventually get people over the line to have a sales conversation. And that's something quite foreign to MSPs, where perhaps you have been reliant on referrals in the past. You need to put in that weeks and months of effort with that audience, inserting the human into the process to cultivate those leads to have that running as a predictable engine alongside your referrals, which, let's face it are not as predictable.”
Yeah, yeah. To your point about the direct acquisition of buying a list, the reason that Paul and Dave are talking about these consistent marketing activities is because it feels a little circular. But sometimes the promoting to your audience is building your audience, right, so that people will follow you on social, they'll opt-in to receive your email newsletter, or even your physical newsletter if maybe you acquire a list and do a mailer, and then they decide that they want to have touchpoints with you in the future.
That is actually like expanding the awareness and that possible net to be able to catch more leads. Now, Paul, I know that you work with 500+ MSP. So I think you get to collect that data of like, what is working for your members? And what is not? So could you share with us a little bit where you're seeing kind of that effectiveness?
LinkedIn is so big right now.
People look at LinkedIn and think, oh, do I have to do it? It feels like everyone's on there selling it, it's a pain, it's not a great place to go.
But actually, LinkedIn is an amazing place. If I’d said to you, 20 years ago, there is a database, it's going to be available to you one day for free, which will allow you to connect with virtually everyone who could possibly go on to buy something from you and have a conversation with them, and research them and find out about them, you would have said - Wow, this, this is incredible, let me at it. And that would be 20 years ago.
Today people are a bit apathetic about LinkedIn. For LinkedIn, like any kind of marketing, you need to do stuff consistently and persistently, you can't just do a big one-off hit on LinkedIn and spend a week on it, and then come off it and say, Oh, that doesn't work, I tried LinkedIn, it doesn't work for me.
For an MSP, you've got to do stuff daily.
We talk about three C's on LinkedIn - Connect, Content, and Contacts.
So CONNECT is about connecting to new people. And the easiest way to meet new people on LinkedIn, the right kind of people you want to be connected with, is to find someone else who's already connected to those people.
So for example, there might be an Uber networker in your area, who's already connected to all the other business owners. Or if you're in a niche, in a vertical, then you might go and find who's connected to all the business owners in that vertical, and then just connect to their connections. That's the first thing.
The second thing is posting daily CONTENT. I've just done a big video for my members about the 2022 rules for LinkedIn. And there's some very specific lengths of content that the algorithm is looking for. Right now, for example, polls are a big thing on LinkedIn. If you go and look at your LinkedIn feed, you see poll after poll after poll after poll. I don't think that's going to last much longer because clearly, algorithmically polls are way over, there's too much importance based on polls. And at some point LinkedIn engineers are gonna come in and say, we need to address this and tweak the algorithm back a little bit.
It's very easy to game LinkedIn. It's all about what happens to your content in the first three hours. So for the first three hours, people comment on your content and they like it and maybe even share it, then that tells the algorithm that people are finding the content of value. And so it shows to more people both in your network and outside of your network.
There's two types of content on LinkedIn. First is the canned content. Second is personalized real content. You can get canned content from loads of different vendors, it's from services like mine, there's all sorts of places to get canned content, and that's your daily stuff. That's your stuff you're posting daily to have a presence daily.
What really makes the difference on LinkedIn is you doing your own content. It could simply be a 60 to 90 second video, it could be you reacting to something that's in the news or something about technology. You could do something as simple as - Hey, you know, it's Paul here, I'm having a debate with my team right now. Which of these video platforms do you prefer? Are you a Team's fan? Are you a Zoom fan? Or do you perhaps even use Google Meet? We are having this internal debate, which one we should use, I'd love to know what you think. And depending on how many people you're connected with, you could have 20 or 30 or 40 people commenting on a video like that, which will obviously encourage LinkedIn to show it to other people.
The final C is CONTACT. LinkedIn is awesome for contacting people. Unlike email, you have 100%, guaranteed deliverability of your message. If you send someone a message on LinkedIn, they may not go and read it for a week, but you know 100% if you send them a message it has been delivered into their inbox. And that is not the case with email marketing right now. So you shouldn't be afraid of contacting people through LinkedIn, I always find the more relevant you make the message, the better. And this is where again, being in a niche or a vertical works very well. Because everything you do is more relevant when you're marketing to people in a niche.
Let's say for example, you have some accountants that you support as part of your general business. And you have fixed something on Sage. So they're still using Sage on a specific server and you fix something. You could actually write a blog article about that on your website. And then you could connect with and share that message with other accountants saying - Hi, I hope you don't mind me messaging you. Do you use Sage? I know it can be really horrible software. We've just discovered a bug on this version of Sage which we've sorted out. We've written a blog article to show you how it can be done. And then you send them that blog article.
And that's showing something of real relevance, something of power to the people that you're connecting. So you're actually enhancing their lives, you're making their lives better.
Almost like we're giving them content as a gift.
That’s a great saying - Content is a gift. And Shannon, you're full of little sayings like that, though, I always advocate writing them down and stealing them.
In terms of having those conversations about like what is marketable and not, I had some very traditional sales people saying like - why are you sending them this? why are you doing that? It's like, my job is to be handing over pieces of content that enhance people's lives and make it better. A lot of your sales prospecting emails are not a gift. They are a take. You're asking for their time or you were asking for their money. So I need to altruisticlly help balance this. Right?
I think people don't mind a connect on LinkedIn, if you're trying to give me something and enhance my life. It's a better way to start a relationship. If I just like walked up to you and started kind of like, peppering you with questions and asking you to, like help me or, or give something to me versus being like, oh, yeah, that's a subject you're interested in, or that's a hobby. Well, have you heard about this? Are you interested in this? Right? Try to take those offline interactions and create something on LinkedIn that is similar.
Do you use LinkedIn as a platform for active lead generation?
Right now we have about 66% of people said that they are actively using LinkedIn for lead generation. And 34% are saying No.
If you give ‘content as a gift’, you can contact someone immediately. In fact, imagine if you've got a scenario like that accountants one, where you've actually got something that could potentially help them make their lives easier, you owe it to those people to contact them straight away. And just because you connected today, and you contact them tomorrow, that doesn't matter, if you're adding value.
If you contact them with spam or you use inmail - never use inmail. I don't know about you. But if ever you get an inmail in LinkedIn email - it’s the sponsor mail, it's an advert - don't worry about that. If you're adding value, you can contact them.
Most MSPs don't do enough marketing. In a way it doesn't really matter what you do. I mentioned earlier, go out and do networking, that's a really quick way to get leads in the next 90 days, just go to a networking meeting every single day. No one's going to do that because it feels too extreme. But actually, if you're desperate, do that.
“Work LinkedIn for two to three hours a day, you will get more leads out of it. Send emails every day, Pick up the phone - this is the best thing to do if you're desperate for leads, Call anyone, everyone.”
And I'm not a big fan of cold calling at all. But you know what, when you're desperate, you pick up the phone, all of us, every single one of us who runs a business has been at a point where we are desperate for cash. And we've all been there, maybe you're there right now.
When people are desperate, that's when they will take urgent action. If I talk to one of our members, and they're like, Oh my God, we've just lost a big client, we've lost a couple of 1000 monthly recurring revenue, we're desperate. And I say to them, right, all of this nice marketing stuff is great. But what is really going to make the difference is you need to work three to four hours a day, every day, for the next month, and at the end of it, you will have replaced that revenue. And that activity is that you work at LinkedIn, you get off your ass, you get out to a networking meeting, you push yourself out of your comfort zone. And you pick up the Phone and Phone and Phone and Phone and Phone.
You can't force someone to buy from you today. But what you can do is try to find those people who are ready to buy. People buy when they're ready to buy and the trick is you've got to be in front of them at that exact moment. The more activity you do, the quicker you'll be in front of them. If everyone on this call just did one hour of marketing a day, they would see dramatically better results. Not immediately because it's a very long sales cycle. Activity adds up to so much. It's not rocket science. This is this is easier than tech stuff. I'm not a tech person. I barely know how to turn the computer on. But what we're talking about here is easy. You don't even have to be particularly refined with it. You just have to do a certain level of activity.
Consistent and persistent. And I think even sometimes, if you like to stay in your little bubble - Look for that influencer, that person that knows a lot of people in your community on LinkedIn. The same is true if you go to networking events, and this is maybe not as scalable as the one to many with LinkedIn. But again, remembering like you meet those people at those networking events in person or in your community that know everybody, right?
Make sure that you're staying in touch with them regularly like - Hey, Linda, good to see you again last week, let's sit down for our zoom coffee and have a zoom coffee with her like once a month, right or somebody else. Those are the people that often hear the complaints from those that are ready. I know we were saying not referrals but still this is a lead income source - that connector who knows everybody and that can feel a little less salesy for you and still keeps it personal.
But I do want to get to calls. We were prepping for this session talking about the people who maybe have emergency situations, needed the leads yesterday. I know you are very passionate about this Dave. So what is your advice for people who need the leads yesterday?
In the MSP space, I guess a lot of businesses have been around for a number of years, they've grown very slowly, very carefully. Some have matured through that process, and maybe have shed clients that aren't a perfect fit. So there is a hunger to scale perfectly, but I think it's almost an impossibility. If you want to continue to grow, it will often be imperfect. Particularly if you're being more aggressive in your strategy - you're reaching out to businesses, rather than just waiting for those referrals.
So I think getting that sort of that hunger, that momentum going, you've got to be prepared to accept, you've got a case an awful lot of frogs. And there might be ones that aren't a fit, you might get a lead that is imperfect, and it doesn't become anything, but you've learned something through that process, you've refined your marketing, you've learned about your pricing and your pitch.
But hopefully some of those frogs might well turn into ideal clients, or they might be a client, but they might not be ideal. But sometimes growth is good, it might be ugly, but it's still growth. So I think, think back to some of those clients that you've had for a long time, and everyone's got this ideal, perfect fit client in mind have the right size, the right industry, which is good to have. And it's good to focus your marketing on that. But often, the reality is there aren't as many businesses out there, at the ideal size that most MSPs are trying to target, there's just too few of them. And then when the numbers stack up, there's too few of those to have conversations with and then convert and get over the line.
So sometimes and it sounds hard to do, but set your sights a little lower. So it allows you to broaden your horizon to a bigger audience. Kiss those frogs, because some of those frogs, you might be able to work with just like your existing clients, they might be smaller now, but they might grow and develop just like you are in your own business. So sometimes growth might be ugly, but it's still growth.
Cycling back to what we've already said, of getting an audience together that's quite broad, using whatever data tool and, and just broaden those horizons slightly on what the audience might look like. But you can still build pockets within that, as we've already said, industry niches, certain sectors that you know something about, that you can build a strategy around. And repeat that process. You can have four or five buckets of different industry sectors, have those plates spinning with essentially the same content, just tweaked for them. So it doesn't have to be a really laborious exercise to tailor that content.
Getting onto the phone bit. Make sure you call and follow up. And not on the first call. Many junior sales people are always rushing to trying to sell first. As Shannon said, sending that sales email there's take. But the phone can be just like LinkedIn, just like the content, sharing something of value. Particularly if you're calling in follow up to marketing that you've already shared, that is educational and useful to them, it's tackling a business issue.
So on the first call, don't think I've got these 100 businesses, I'm going to call them and I'm going to book five meetings. You probably won't in the next three, four or five weeks, because you want to ask questions. First, you've got to build a profile on those organizations. Everything that you sell is trust based. It's a relationship. And as Paul said, people still buy from people, even in this heavily digitized age that we're living in. So inserting the human into that process, to ask questions to build a relationship, build that trust, use the marketing to support what you're saying on the phone, and then strike and follow up on that.
Particularly, if you know that they're likely to suffer from the pain points that you're addressing in your messaging. You know they're incumbent likely aren't addressing that issue, then try and expose that pain, and try and insert yourself for a conversation. Even if it's not a perfect lead right now. No leads will be perfect because sales is ugly. It's not black and white like technology, it's a very gray area. So you've got to go out and cultivate as many leads as you can, for a conversation around anything where you can insert value. And that might not convert yet, it's playing the long game.
So you've got to get in there have conversations with people because you never know when a disaster strikes, suddenly that one to two week window that may have been months down the line, all of a sudden, could be next week. And if you've already been in there and having a conversation, you're far more likely to get them over the line. So, be sure to be brave and and pick up the phone.
Something that I noticed in the MSP space, phoning MSPs is - a lot of MSPs don't answer the phone.
“So if you do get an inbound lead, make sure you answer your own phones to capture that if somebody is inquiring with you. Make sure you grab those details. You should also train your tech guys if they're likely to answer the main company phone that they can handle an inbound sales inquiry.”
Just like Paul's architect, you don't want to enquire with MSP and find that your tech's have sat on it and ignored it because they didn't know what to do. It wasn't logging a ticket like they used to. In an outbound sense, not only cultivating leads in the first place, but following up on leads. It's so easy to get wrapped up in the tech, in what you know day to day, your core business and allocating that time. So you follow up relentlessly with those prospects that you've already had conversations with.
Because I know in fact, a prospect said to me many years ago in my first MSP business, and we had lost them prior to me joining the company, we lost them as a lead, because he said he didn't get the feeling from us that we were hungry enough for his business. He went elsewhere. So sometimes the prospects will want to feel as though you've got an appetite to take them on. If you're coming across as being indifferent, even if it's unintentional, do follow up, do interact with people.
Don't be scared to pick up the phone with anybody that you've had a conversation with before. And particularly if you've sent them a proposal, you need that all important feedback. And you need to know to no longer waste your time in following up with them again, if they've gone elsewhere, or they're going to do nothing.
Dave, you mentioned about - if you send a proposal for follow up with a phone. So let's say you have a sales meeting with someone. You say - we'll get the proposal into you tomorrow morning. It should always be quick. At that point, you should say how long do you need to read it? Oh, you need three days? That's fine. I will call you - How's Friday afternoon? Yep, Friday afternoon works great. 3pm or 4pm which is better for you? And you actually get the prospect to put it in their diary that you are going to call them and they know that the purpose of that call is to answer your final questions and essentially to give you the business or not give you the business. So that kind of scheduled follow up, I think is much better than being the guy who is constantly ringing.
You know, we've all had that thing - If I rang them yesterday, it's been three weeks now. Can I ring them again today? Is that too much? Should I send an email? Should I do a text message? You can get rid of all of that with with scheduled follow up?
Also Dave, you mentioned - make sure that someone answers the phone in your MSP. I had a group of 30 MSP owners in a room pre-COVID. And I asked the question, what happens when you're not there? And a sales inquiry comes through, and I got everyone to phone their office. For a scarily high proportion, the phone was never answered. So that was the immediate problem. But then we did some fake prospect things. So I started ringing some of their businesses pretending to be a prospect. And it was terrifying. It was literally like Hello! Yeah. Hi, now I was just looking at the website I'm interested in, you know, we're looking for new IT company. The reply was - Oh, you need to speak to Dave, he’s not in today. Right. Okay. What do you recommend? I do? Reply - Can you send us an email?
You know, I kid you not. I mean, that wasn't always the experience. But we had that exact experience.
And so it is worth if you're the owner, ring your own business, get someone else to bring the business when you're not there to see what happens. Get a fake prospect to call in and see does the message reach you in a timely manner? Do they ask the right kind of questions? If they don't, you have to systemize. There should be a standard operating procedure for someone to pull if someone calls up. This is what you ask them these two, three questions, these contact details. And then it goes through to you with urgency. As we all know with sales, it's about speed as much as anything. If someone calls up at 4 and you're on the phone back to them at 4:03. Bang, you're more likely to win the business because it starts that relationship off to a great start.
Absolutely. So something that I want to kind of shift gears for a second.
But I think it's important to address the mindset, particularly if making the sales calls is not your forte, and you're already doing something uncomfortable. We also know sales is numbers, and there's a lot of rejection within that.
So what would be your advice to people when they're in an emergency situation or not even but just doing this consistent work of picking up the phone, contacting those in their area that fit their niche, and they're just getting a lot of like nose and there's unpleasant things that none of us want to hear?
I think mindset is difficult and that's a particularly when you need the money. We've all experienced it - When you're not bothered whether you win the client or not, you win the client every time. It's like dating and I say as someone who actively dating right now. The more the more you want that person to like you, less chances there are of them actually liking you. It's exactly the same as sales. And I think you you have to not come across as desperate. You have to not come across as - if I don't get this, we're in real trouble. I think you just have to commit yourself to it and accept that it's going to be 99% of people saying no, get stuffed, why did you call me, how dare you or various other things. You're going to hear No, no, no, no, no a lot. You're going to get lots and lots of no. It's not about you.
You've almost got to gamify it for yourself. Gamification is the process of turning anything you've got to do that's not fun into a game and different people have different games. I don't like making phone calls. I love stuff like this. I love video calls. I hate the phone. I couldn't do what Dave does, which is pick up the phone to people all day every day. So when I have to make phone calls for whatever reason, I will turn it into a game. I'll either have a reward at the end. Or there's a cool little thing I do I have two glasses with paper clips in. So let's say I've got to make 30 calls, I'll have 30 paperclips in a glass. As I pick up the phone and dial a number, I move a paperclip over to the other glass.
So first, my brain can see how well I'm doing and how you know oh, I've only got another five paperclips and other five calls to do. Secondly, I've set up my brain that I've started a task. And our brains like to finish tasks. So if it sees there are only five paperclips left, my brain wants me to finish that task, even if I've got to go through the pain of picking up the phone five more times. So there are different games, different work for different people. But I think you've just got to throw yourself at it and know that you will succeed. If you phone enough people, eventually you will find someone who is genuinely happy that you've called because they've got a problem, like David was saying earlier, or there's some crisis.
If you sit and work LinkedIn for long enough, eventually you will, you will just find someone at that right moment. And it will seem to them like you just appeared at exactly that right moment.
“The hard thing is just keeping yourself mentally going. You've just got to keep going until you find them. So I think look, looking after yourself, making it a game and rewarding yourself as well.”
If you spend an hour on LinkedIn, or you do 30 or 40 dials, find some way of rewarding yourself. And it doesn't have to be a candy bar, it could be a walk, it could be anything that motivates you to do it.
It is hard, but that you just got to keep going with it.
You’ve definitely got to dust yourself off. You never know who you're speaking to, they might have had a bad day. There's so many things going on, especially in the world right now, that does make it pretty tough. If you set yourself that goal to start off with - of learning key pieces of information, if you structure your CRM in the right way, so you're capturing the data. So you can not only collect it in a useful way, but then have that data to do something with it once you've got it.
It's easy to put in things like gamification that Paul mentioned to - it's my objective on each phone call today to learn two or three things about each prospect that I call. Don't think we'll get a meeting, but I want to learn key things about them that I didn't know before. And then that's information you can use next time.
Perhaps naturally the stereotypical MSP person, a reserved more of a passive vibe individual that can actually work in your favor. You know, we don't hire people into our team that have been salespeople before, simply because the traditional sales industries, you know, if you've been in real estate, or recruitment, or something that's very hard nosed, very numbers driven, it's all sort of, to a degree, productized commoditized, a now or never sort of thing.
And that doesn't work for an MSP. You have a patch, a territory that you cover, there's only so many businesses in that patch, you know, it might be 500, it might be 5000. But there's still a finite number of the businesses that you can deal with. So you don't want to burn any of those bridges. So use your personality to your advantage.
“People are far more receptive to speaking to someone on the phone, that doesn't sound like a salesperson. You still want to be confident you want to be clear about what you want to get out of the call. But just use that to your advantage not sounding like a stereotypical salesperson because people don't want to be sold to.”
They want to talk about themselves and people love to moan so especially as Brits. So get somebody to open up about their business to expose their pain and have those objectives of learning key bits of information every time you you engage a prospect.
You have to ask questions. But then remember those details, take those notes. So when you do the follow up, you can connect with them on like, oh, yeah, I know last time that you didn't have an opportunity to talk, because you were prepping for your daughter's graduation, how did that go?
I think so many of the MSPs that I've met at events like yours, just such authentic genuine people that I actually know a lot about people's lives, because we keep it real. And we talk about our lives with each other. And so I think for many of you, that comes naturally, like show that interest in that person.
When we're talking about how to generate the 90 leads in 100 days we're talking about consistent and persistent marketing activities. And the reason being that you want to insert yourself into their timeline for when they are ready. Referrals feel easy because they actively know that there is an issue that is apparent that they now cannot ignore any longer, they cannot go around it any longer, its becoming painful and they need to find a solution. But it's the consistent and persistent marketing activities. Even to Paul's point, if a referral is evaluating you and another vendor - to make sure that you are a trusted expert, you know what you're talking about, and that they feel like you will reliably do a good job for them.
So we've talked about different ways to get those leads, whether it's lead acquisition through lists, maybe even just utilizing local registries of people who fit your niche, and smile and dial and call those people up. Building your audience, it can start small, it's painful, it takes time, but consistently sharing out that content, content as a gift, right, on social, email, and other like awareness vehicles.
To add to this, I've got a book to recommend on referrals. It's a book called Unstoppable Referrals: 10x Referrals Half the Effort by Steve Gordon. The crux of the book is - don't ask for referrals. Because there's a social risk in a referral. And this is why more people don't refer.
So what Steve Gordon recommends in his book is that you put together something called a referral kit. So that might be a book that you have or a buyer's guide or something that you can give to people. Those clients who want to refer you great, they're going to go and do it anyway. And you'll typically find most referrals come from small number of people. But for everyone else, you can give them you know, like 10 business cards, which say on the back, Hey, your friend uses us and think we're great. Go download our buyer's guide here and you have a gated piece of content where someone has to put in their name and their email address to get it and you know that's like a referral page.
So it has lots of tactics that book, go read it.
Awesome. Thank you. So briefly, I do want to remind you that Zomentum is putting on this webinar series with marketing and sales experts follow us on socials that you can keep up to date we probably did, I think close to a dozen last year in Q3 and Q4. We're gonna keep doing this series every two weeks for the rest of the year, lining up these experts to give you advice.
I did get feedback on my webinar series that I don't talk about Zomentum enough, interestingly enough, and I don't like to pitch guys, this is about content that's helping you. We are a revenue platform that includes sales acceleration, quoting, proposals, funnel management with a license reconciliation tool, and we'll be adding a marketplace to that where you can discover vendors. So a lot of exciting things happening. But feel free to go talk to the salespeople, I am sure they would love to talk to you a lot about a lot about Zomentum. And you can sign up for a demo on our site.
And then also from our speakers sharing the love with you, Paul Green's book that I mentioned to you earlier, you can go sign up to receive a physical copy, which he will mail to you.
Updating Servers Doesn’t Grow Your Business [Free eBook]
This book is aimed at the owners and managers of MSPs or IT support companies who want to grow turnover and net profit. And at the same time have a dramatically better work/life balance.
And Dave Sutton and Wingman Marketing is doing this fabulous survey kind of asking you guys, you know, how did 2021 go? What's the status right now? What are your plans for the future, and we'll be sending out all of those benchmarks to you so that you can compare yourself to others in the in the industry. More respondents equals more robust data for us to share. So please respond, share it out
So with that let’s move on to QnA.
Question: Any tips for getting past the gatekeeper?
Yeah, can be a tough one. That's where having the relationship and insider knowledge already helps. Sometimes there are cheap shot tactics that can work - They know who I am, they're expecting my call I'm following up. And that's where using content marketing gives you a good excuse for the phone call, you want an excuse to pick up the phone. And that's following up on something that you've shared. We've had a conversation of shared information on following up and re-engaging, insider information that you may have collected from a gatekeeper before.
Remember, when you pick up the phone, you don't know who a gatekeeper is. In our business, the two or three most senior people actually answer any inbound phone call. So you don't know if you could be speaking to a director or senior person in the business. So find out little nuggets of information that you can use. So when you call back and you get blocked by a gatekeeper, use those small bits of information. Be bold and confident that yes, I'm following up, we shared some information. They said, Yeah, let's have a catch up, they should be expecting to hear from me. And then you'll be surprised those small tactics that you use, especially setting the scene with information you've already got, it just plants the seed in their mind that they must have spoken before, because they know something about us.
Question: Should we opt for paid lists? What are your thoughts on ZoomInfo as a platform?
There's a lot of lists. Paul, and I share the same thoughts on data list out there. There are a lot of vendors over here in UK and Western Europe. With GDPR becoming such a thing, a lot of traditional data houses empty shelves, so you might still get quality data, but you won't get quantity. And you need a mixture of the two. A lot of these platforms that have appeared such as zoominfo are very expensive. So look for alternative sources. We do have slight plug, a very cheap solution for offering data into MSPs that can fit your target audience.
If you've got a particular industry focus, look at industry regulators, or membership bodies that are in certain sectors, even chambers of commerce, places like that will have credible up to date lists that are often free. You’ll have to become a member of the body. But it could be an easy way for you to get in with a captive audience.
But to get the wider businesses outside of a membership body like that, then speak to a good agency or speak to a data house, they're often a cheaper way of getting access to a list. Rather than a big hefty subscription to something like zoomInfo that is probably not relevant for an MSP because you don't have a 50-60 man sales team that is very data hungry.
Questions: Do you have any suggestions for how to change up content between different social media platforms? Or are you mass posting LinkedIn content to Facebook, Instagram while gaining the same lead response?
Great question. And the short answer is you customize your content for the platform. So it's never a good idea to just put the same content on all platforms. They all have different rules. So LinkedIn uses hashtags. If you put hashtags on LinkedIn that’s a very good thing to do. And in fact, one of the goals with LinkedIn is to create your own hashtag. And you own a hashtag. I am trying very hard to own MSP marketing as a hashtag on LinkedIn. You would definitely use hashtags on Twitter, but you wouldn't use them on Facebook. So you can use hashtags on Facebook. But who does that? People don't do that.
You've got to ask yourself who's reading this? In fact, this is for any marketing? who's reading this? And how do I make it appear to be more relevant to them. So someone who's reading something on LinkedIn is either looking for a new job, or they're just killing 10 minutes at lunch, or they're there to try and sell something, because that's why people pretty much use LinkedIn. But it is a B2B social media platform. So the stuff you put on there is different to what you would put on Facebook. Facebook is obviously used as much more personal thing. Everyone is on Facebook, it’s become the universal social media platform. Instagram is obviously different again.
You would benefit from from just tweaking it on each. My normal advice on social media platforms is you must do LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not optional. You have to do it. But all the rest of them you do it, if you enjoy them.
If someone asked me yesterday, should they be on TikTok? TikTok is what kids used to watch short videos. My short answer on that is no, don't be on TikTok because the chances of your target buyers using it is very less. So pick your social media platforms with care, but use the ones that you're passionate about. Twitter is the one I'm often asked about, should I be on Twitter? Only if you like Twitter. Personally, I don't like Twitter. So I don't use it. I find it's like Reddit, it's the Wild West. But if you like it, and you find you're on Twitter anyway, then you might as well use Twitter to try and generate business.
Maybe TikTok will be the recruitment platform for the Junior Techs of the future.
Maybe well, yes. But it's not something that decision makers in their 30s and 40s are using currently. Yeah, yeah. The 12 year olds, definitely.
Question: Is finding a hunter style salesperson to go door to door too old school thinking?
I don't think so. It depends on the industry. I think some people could be quite receptive to that. Others not so much. I think to pop by and share, like and leave behind. I think expecting people to have time there. And then to answer questions might be tough. So encompassing a strategy around that person, perhaps with some calling and with sharing some content.
So maybe before your drop, send a printed newsletter. Paul mentioned, putting stuff in the mail, maybe if that's hand delivered, that could be a nice touch. But if you've already had some engagement there first, you already know a bit about the business, you've already got a name or have a decision maker or influence, a contact that you would want to leave something for, might be the best advice rather than just walking in cold.
Question: What is your advice on joint venture as a lead gen strategy?
Joint Venture is where you and some other business that you share the same customers with, but they're not in competition with you, work together in some way. I think it's an exceptionally good idea if you can find the right people. And there are different ways of doing it.
You can do something where, for example, if you've got an email list and they've got an email list, then they send an email to their list promoting you, and you send an email to your list promoting them. That's one way of doing it.
Another way is just through direct referrals. I have some MSPs who work quite closely with website designers, for example, because you're in computers. I'm sure you've had your some of your clients say to you, you're in computers, could you build us a new website, please? Because they see a website is a computer thing rather than a marketing thing. So actually, if you've got a partnership with a web design company, you can send business to each other every single day. An MSP I work with actively, say to all of their clients during their strategic reviews or quarterly business reviews. They solicit work with a website, so they're constantly sending work over to the website company. They don’t get revenue back for this. But what they do get is that anytime someone tells the website company my computer's not working or we're having trouble with that, then there's a referral back the other way.
And the other thing that you can do is you can go work with associations that have members that you would like to have as clients. One of my UK MSPs is in a very specific vertical. And he’s dominating that vertical right now. He’s done it primarily through dominating the association. So he's worked very hard, done a lot of trade shows, a lot of meetings, and a lot of schmoozing, getting to know people, working his way into the key associations that exist in that marketplace. And now he appears under their banner. So it's like he's become the official MSP to that vertical. And that's taken some time to do but he's utterly dominant within that vertical and it's all through association. So those are great joint venture things.
What's in it for the associations, by the way, is that they have no technical ability whatsoever. So he's been able to advise them how to help their members completely free. And in return, he's essentially, without actually being endorsed, it looks like he's endorsed by the top associations in that vertical.
Just to chime in. I think ERP and CRM companies are also quite a good one. They might be very good at software dev, but infrastructure and cloud is often something that they don't want to touch. So being a good IT partner to a nice ERP consultant that has probably high value clients that can afford to pay them 1000s to be able to do custom development. So I've seen that work well in the past, as well.
If you're going to do this co-venture there might be a different price point with customers, which that overlap would be able to hit. And you're it's gonna take some time, probably a few different attempts at this to find one that works well for you. Whether it's working with another individual business or working with associations as a way to build a list. Maybe you can even pair with that association on a higher level, build that relationship really strong. And then you're the go to guy or gal for all things technical.
So again, it comes back down to relationships and building that trust.
So we're over at this point, it was so robust, we had a lot of people stick it out.
So thank you so much for joining us all. Thank you to Dave and Paul for dispensing all of this advice and knowledge.
Join us in two weeks on February 3, we will have another session. And again, just thank you so much everyone for being here. I really appreciate it.
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