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:
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!
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.
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 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.
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:
A flexible and standardized approach makes selling a streamlined and repeatable process that significantly reduces the sales journey.
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.
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.
MSP marketing is slightly different from traditional marketing. It entails building a marketing strategy according to the stages of the marketing funnel:
By understanding the marketing funnel, you can meet your customers where they are in their buyers’ journey.
To launch your marketing plan, incorporate the following key elements in your marketing kit:
With these items in your marketing kit, you can begin to create specific 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.
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:
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.
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:
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:
MSPs can also automate most administrative and sales activities such as:
To create a scalable sales pipeline for your MSP business, follow these tips for maximum revenue.
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:
In addition, analyze sales metrics for average deal size, upsell rate, and leads to close ratio.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.