Technology Partner’s Guide

Partners' Guide to Technology Sales, Marketing, and Pricing

The MSP industry is growing at a staggering pace. Research and Markets expects its value to reach a whopping $311.32 billion by 2027 from $161.37 billion in 2021. To stake your claim in this growing market, you need a comprehensive marketing strategy. As a technology partner, you must establish an approach to market your brand and business and to attract and retain customers. In essence, you must build trust in the market for your services through your MSP marketing plan.
As a technology partner, how do you make that first step? You want to offer customers the right value without compromising business performance. The way you package and price your offerings forms a bedrock for defining your company’s value proposition. It signifies the business goals of your managed services and the value you’re generating for your clients. But designing MSP packages and pricing tiers is tricky. Most technology partners make missteps that ultimately affect their sales and profitability.
This guide is for technology partners who are looking for new ways to stay competitive and acquire customers. It takes you through the key elements of building an effective MSP marketing strategy. By reading this guide, you’ll learn how to:

  • Develop ideal MSP packaging and pricing tiers that are right for your business
  • Create marketing strategies to grow your MSP business
  • Optimize your MSP sales pipeline to maximize revenue

By following this guide, you’ll be on your way to accurately planning and mapping your pricing and creating marketing strategies that generate quality leads. Let’s get started!

Define pricing that drives your marketing approach

Bundling services under a single plan might seem like the easiest way to manage them, but it doesn’t make sense for your diverse customers. Technology partners commonly address price bundling by standardizing offerings for easy selling, implementation, and service. Meanwhile, others swear by providing à la carte plans where the customer chooses the services that add the most value. Yet others mix approaches to come up with the right plan.

Setting the right pricing for service bundling doesn’t come with a formula. However, the following best practices prepare you to handle the key factors that influence MSP marketing and pricing.

1. Don’t charge too high or too low

With managed services packaging, the quality of your services drives how you set competitive pricing. Charging too high or too low for your technology and services leads to stunted profits and paltry business growth. If you don’t set pricing that makes sense, you can lose potential leads for the following reasons:

  • The cost doesn’t reflect the value.
  • Your pricing or packaging structure is confusing.
  • The value proposition is unappealing.
  • Your pricing models mirror competitor models.

The last point is particularly risky because your operating costs and overhead are different from your competitors. Also, you lose focus of the value you want to create by joining the crowd instead of standing out from it.

2. Watch for evolving market demands

Technology partners might gain customers through an uncompetitive pricing model, but this type of pricing significantly—and negatively—affects profitability. Adding more clients doesn’t mean having more business.

To help your MSP business grow, follow these practices for competitive pricing:

  • Set pricing that’s profitable and flexible to accommodate your client list as it grows.
  • Build a pricing framework that can weather any market cost increase and help scale your business.
  • Standardize the pricing of your core offerings, while being aware of regular costs and additional expenses.

A flexible and standardized approach makes selling a streamlined and repeatable process that significantly reduces the sales journey.

3. Identify client gaps where you can deliver value

Closely examine the evolving needs and requirements of the market to understand the action areas. Most small and medium businesses (SMBs) are motivated to adopt managed services to address security concerns and IT complexity, according to the MSP Day Report 2021. By modifying your MSP bundles with services, like endpoint monitoring and security, you can effectively reach your clients’ expectations.

4. Discover and sell innovative SaaS solutions

To stay ahead of the curve, be aware of technology evolutions. Interpreting the dynamic market landscape puts you at an advantage over your competitors. You can plan your marketing strategy for the future by determining and adding innovative SaaS solutions to your services bundle. Develop your managed service offerings by consulting SaaS marketplaces. You can build a stack of the most sought-after offerings on these platforms and position it as a unique proposition. When you connect with other service providers on these platforms, you can also integrate your services with theirs, leveraging opportunities by association. You also benefit from the marketing efforts of these marketplaces, which give you greater exposure.

5. Build a marketing funnel

MSP marketing is slightly different from traditional marketing. It entails building a marketing strategy according to the stages of the marketing funnel:

  • Awareness:  At this stage, you attract potential leads to your website. You pique their interest by creating various content pieces across your SaaS offerings. Then, you distribute them through blogs, social media, paid ads, and landing pages.
  • Consideration: After you capture your leads, nurture them through email marketing and social media retargeting. At this stage, invite your leads for a free trial or demo.
  • Conversion: After your leads become your clients, work to retain them as customers, reduce your churn rate, and improve the lifetime value of your clients. Ensure your customers’ loyalty to your company by educating and helping them use your services and capabilities to the fullest.

By understanding the marketing funnel, you can meet your customers where they are in their buyers’ journey.

6. Assemble your marketing kit

To launch your marketing plan, incorporate the following key elements in your marketing kit:

  • Buyer persona: Even before you begin your marketing plan, build an ideal customer profile with details like job responsibilities, pain points, and social media preferences. The buyer persona gives you direction to help you focus your messaging and target channels.
  • Keywords: Customers today do their own research before choosing a technology partner. Therefore, you must know the keywords they use to look for the services you provide. By selecting the right keywords, you can be where they’re looking in the form of blogs and search ads.
  • Lead nurture: How do you keep your leads engaged? It’s a million-dollar question. Having leads download your white paper, read your case study, or register for a free trial won’t guarantee their conversion. You need a plan of action with engagement at the right level of communication without being too pushy.
  • Reporting: The MSP marketing funnel is a complex setup. Potential leads don’t follow a straight line and can drop off at any stage. Therefore, you must monitor and measure key performance indicators (KPIs) efficiently at the various marketing funnel stages. You’ll increase your chances of converting clients by providing continuous learning and fine-tuning the client journey.

With these items in your marketing kit, you can begin to create specific strategies for your MSP business.

Create marketing strategies for your MSP business

The ideal marketing strategy is a continuous work in progress. You implement new tactics, monitor metrics, and analyze performance in an endless cycle. 

MSP marketing follows the same pattern. However, for technology partners, getting the right leads is a challenge given the current crowded ecosystem. According to the Pulse of MSP 2021 Report, about 73% of technology partners have fewer than 100 customers. Defining your unique market position and outlining your differentiators play a key role in your lead generation strategy. 

By creating an effective MSP marketing strategy, you can reach out to prospective MSP customers and help customers find you. As you create your marketing strategy, include the following elements in your plan.

1. Generate leads and manage your pipeline

You can employ various lead generation tactics to get potential clients. But you must be consistent in all your efforts and align them toward a common goal. 

Whether you do inbound or outbound marketing, you can choose from multiple channels where you can engage and capture leads. Refer to the following list of tips to get quality leads.

Lead with content…a lot of content

Content is a trump card that can transform your marketing philosophy. Through content, you establish your authority, relevance, and distinction. The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) reports that about 72% of businesses realize an increased number of leads with content marketing. Maintaining an active blog, an SEO-friendly website, and landing pages to gated content are essential parts of the MSP sales funnel. By having an effective blogging strategy, you engage website visitors and boost your online presence with genuine content. You can repurpose and distribute blog post content on social media and in a variety of formats such as graphics and videos. By centering your entire content strategy around SEO, you increase the reach of your content, enhancing your brand visibility.

Expand reach with paid ad campaigns

Digital marketing through pay-per-click (PPC) or ad campaigns is an effective, proven, and measurable strategy to generate leads. Ad networks for platforms like Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook offer a wide and suitable audience for you to target and advertise your MSP services.According to a 2022 report from SerpWatch disclosed organic and paid searches account for over 68% of website traffic. This same report stated that Google processes a mind-boggling 3.5 billion searches every day.An advantage of PPC campaigns over other marketing strategies is personalization. These campaigns enable you to segment and target your audience with customized ads. This approach gives you insights into how your audience perceives your services, packages, and pricing.

Build contacts through cold calling

Often considered an age-old marketing tactic in this era of targeted and digital campaigning, cold calling is effective when you use the right process and context. Further, cold calling isn’t just limited to telemarketing. You can reach out to potential leads through cold emails and LinkedIn outreach. In fact, a study by SiriusDecisions reported that businesses get one prospect every eight cold calls. That’s both inspirational and motivational.

Every cold marketing approach has its own set of challenges:

  • You must train personnel extensively on delivering your brand message and MSP business proposition to convince prospects to participate in a preliminary meeting.
  • You must build a database of email addresses for potential leads to plan and execute a holistic email marketing plan.
  • You must segment the potential leads in your sales cycle to make them sales-ready by using email and newsletters.

Use your existing client base

Referrals can be effective because they highlight your credibility and experience through testimonials and feedback forms. Although positive reviews can generate highly qualified leads, getting them from your existing clients depends on the service you offer.To generate leads through referrals, run referral or feedback campaigns that offer participants some form of compensation, such as a giveaway or discount.

2. Design professional quotes and proposals

Sending a quotation or a proposal is the most important activity in your sales strategy. It seals the fate of your deal in a moment-of-truth scenario, based on a culmination of weeks or months of painstaking follow-ups and reminders. Your proposal reveals the care you’ve taken in understanding a client’s business needs and goals. Sending the proposal to a prospect kick-starts a new phase. If everything goes favorably, you arrive at a mutually beneficial deal. However, you must weigh the following factors when preparing your quotation:

  • MSP branding: Flaunt your brand colors and logo in an appealing way to inspire prospective clients to associate with your MSP business.
  • Concise synopsis: Articulate your MSP offerings and value proposition in a brief overview, enabling prospects to peek at your capabilities.
  • Explicit scope of work: Clearly outline the services, schedules, expected outcomes, and other critical details to avoid any confusion or misinterpretation.
  • Regular touch bases: Mention periodic occasions to touch base and review the progress. Set timelines, milestones, and guidelines for progress reporting.
  • Pricing: Clearly discuss the deal’s monetary aspects like budget, payment terms, and costs associated with each service or capability. Use as much detail as necessary.

3. Automate tedious sales tasks

Automate repetitive and manual tasks so you can run the entire sales funnel in autopilot mode. Start from the beginning when you add new leads to the funnel and continue through the awareness, consideration, and conversion stages.

Employ sales software to help you automate such tasks as:

  • Sharing plans based on lead requirements
  • Executing email campaigns
  • Sending reminders and follow-up emails
  • Upselling or cross-selling

MSPs can also automate most administrative and sales activities such as:

  • Sending invoices or billing receipts
  • Issuing reminders
  • Keeping track of payments
  • Performing sales assessments
  • Generating detailed reports

Optimize your MSP sales pipeline

To create a scalable sales pipeline for your MSP business, follow these tips for maximum revenue.

1. Analyze the health of your sales pipeline

Technology partners often find it difficult to manage their sales team productivity and pipeline efficiently. The primary reason for gaps in their sales processes is technology—their own core competency. As a result, they end up missing crucial revenue growth.

To maintain the health of your MSP sales pipeline, continuously improve your sales process by analyzing data. For example, evaluate the time it takes for a lead to convert and determine the stage or essential communication that enables a client to move from one stage to another. 

Hone your sales journey and evaluate the health of your sales pipeline by analyzing the following factors:

  • Lead quality: Compare the volume of marketing qualified leads (lead generation) with sales qualified leads (assessment) and true opportunity (closing) to understand what prompts leads to move to the next stage.
  • Account quality: Identify your most valuable customers. Look at their IT budgets, monthly recurring revenues (MRRs), and referrals generated from them to understand, for example, where these opportunities were created and how long it took to close the deal.
  • Recurring revenue: Review the revenue you’re consistently generating at a periodic rate to determine stability. This rate also helps estimate how fast your MSP business is growing.
  • Lead velocity: Track the rate at which you receive leads to help you determine your marketing or sales budget.

In addition, analyze sales metrics for average deal size, upsell rate, and leads to close ratio.

2. Know which sales enablement and marketing efforts work for you

As a technology partner, you create volumes of content in various forms of sales enablement collateral to further your marketing efforts. This collateral might include websites, blog posts, e-books, white papers, infographics, case studies, social media posts, videos, webinars, and podcasts. You can’t know the true value and impact of your efforts unless you measure their effectiveness.

To optimize content generation, track user activity across distribution channels, such as email, websites, LinkedIn, and review sites. Note such metrics as the number of downloads for e-books and white papers, page views, social shares, and comments on blog and social media posts, registrations, and webinars registrations and views.

By measuring the performance of your marketing materials, you can assess their value to your prospective audience and whether you’re using your marketing and sales resources to achieve optimum impact.

3. Expand revenue streams with QBRs

A quarterly business review (QBR) is one of the most important meetings you can have with your clients. In these meetings, you review collaboration between you and your client and understand how your MSP services help achieve their business goals. When properly used, QBRs ensure the partnership extends beyond the existing scope. 

Technology providers can use QBRs to explore a client’s evolving needs to realize new business opportunities for new revenue streams. When you back your QBRs by data related to their success stories, performance metrics, and ticket metrics, you can build a strong case for further expansion and operational maturity in line with their business goals.

An easy way to create newer opportunities through your QBR is to include a risk analysis report that highlights existing gaps in a client’s IT infrastructure and operational processes. You can emphasize the cost they’ll potentially incur through negative customer experience due to outdated technology. By assuming the role of a virtual Chief Information Officer (vCIO), you can make intelligent recommendations to your clients to put them ahead of their competition.

4. Upsell and cross-sell your SaaS products

MRR is a primary revenue source for any technology provider. A major revenue channel that significantly enhances MRR is expanding your services to your already established client base. Acquiring new clients is expensive. Instead, cross-sell and upsell your SaaS products to your existing clients.

  • Cross-selling: Selling a secondary service to an existing client in addition to the primary service they subscribe to.
  • Upselling: Offering a higher-priced, premium upgrade to the service they currently use.

Although these sales tactics are two of the most profitable ones, technology partners often fail to get them right. Use the following best practices to guide you in upselling and cross-selling your SaaS products to maximize revenue from your clients.

Understand your client’s needs
Instead of approaching your existing clients and asking them to spend more money, do your due diligence. Identify the clients that can benefit from an add-on or complementary services. Cross-selling and upselling are ideal for clients with whom you have a relationship of trust and loyalty.

Identify the right opportunities
A QBR is the best occasion to identify MSP opportunities and propose services that add value to your clients. Because your QBR approach is backed by thorough research, you have a greater chance of your client accepting your proposal.

Offer free or discounted access
Offer free access to your MSP services under a trial period. This offer demonstrates your confidence in your software capabilities. As an alternative, give a discounted price or incentive for purchasing additional services.

Demonstrate use cases
Back your proposals for upselling or cross-selling with a strong use case. Use cases demonstrate successes other clients have achieved by purchasing your services. Build a set of collateral around case studies and customer reviews and keep adding to it as your products and customers evolve.

Gain attention passively
Entice your existing customer base passively by sharing service upgrades or new capabilities through monthly newsletters, blogs, and social media posts. This practice reminds them of the value that your services add to their business. It also helps them understand that choosing your services was the right strategic decision for their business.

Make your ideal MSP marketing packages

MSP marketing begins with how you bundle your services and define your pricing structure. Although creating ideal MSP packages is challenging, follow the tips in this guide to achieve optimal results. Regardless of your business size, generate leads that convert by driving a content-led strategy and building a wide network of connections. Build a comprehensive sales cycle by setting up essential processes, measuring performance metrics, and automating repetitive tasks. By closely following the best practices in this article, you’ll maximize your sales outcomes.

Refer to our comprehensive and data-vetted guides below to supercharge your marketing efforts. Vendors can also use the following content to enable their partners sell effectively.

MSP program plan proposal template.
Download Template
Marketing and business growth hacks for technology partners.
Watch On-demand webinar
How to get 100 leads in the next 90 days
Read Blog
Building a scalable sales pipeline for managed service providers.
Download Ebook