It's time to talk about the elephant in the cloud
by Rick Yates, on June 6, 2019
As more traditional product resellers dive into the MSP space armed with heaps of sales resources, it's time for smaller "technology first" MSPs to get serious about Business Development.
The MSP industry continues to grow, yet many MSPs cite challenges around sales, marketing, talent and time restraints as the biggest hindrances to their growth. As the mass exodus into the cloud continues in the end user market, the prospect of getting into the managed services sector for the larger, traditional solution resellers is hugely appealing. This move is already boosting the SaaS industry as a whole and is helping standardise the concept of IT managed services.
However, smaller technically driven MSPs are facing the additional challenge of competing with the slick sales style that those resellers have put to good use to win huge success in IT product sales in years gone by. All is not lost however.
80% of businesses in EMEA are SMB's and many will see the added value of a great relationship with an MSP as opposed to the less personal service they might get from a large product reseller with a service bolt on. Most MSPs have less than one full time person responsible for Business Development.
Usually, that person is the Managing Director or a member of the original management team and will often have a technical pedigree rather than a sales and marketing heritage. The acceleration of the number of businesses getting into managed services means that it's time for MSPs to get serious about business development, or risk being left behind in an increasingly saturated market.
Building a sales and marketing engine is hard. It’s even harder when you have limited time, budget and resources. However, there are number of steps you can take that will start the process, regardless of the size of your business.
However, there are plenty of benefits to engaging your entire organisation in creating content - not only does this process improve the quality of your content but it also helps your team feel more included in the business and its success.
The philosophy of Smarketing
Sales and Marketing are often regarded as two completely separate disciplines. This philosophy is changing, especially for companies with limited resources.
Sit down with your entire team and explore ways to use them as a sales and marketing resource. On many occasions, it is the people who have the highest amount of contact with your customers that have the best ideas for content or sales messaging. You may find that your service desk guy would be the perfect person to write a guide on why it is important for a business to refresh all their user passwords on a regular basis and how to administer the process.
It is important to introduce a marketing process into your business that is responsible for generating leads, but it does not have to be a dedicated marketing team. Match this with a sales function that is responsible for converting the leads into sales.
Identifying who you want to sell to is key
A great way to do this is to create a key buyer persona for your business to work with. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of the person who decides to use your service at your target customers company. The whole business should be involved in working out who this is and the persona should be based as many factors about your target individual as possible i.e. work role, daily tasks, age, gender, socio-economic status, education, experience, hobbies etc.
This will allow you to focus your sales and marketing efforts on a particular type of individual. Your sales function will understand more about who they are selling to, your content writer will know who they are writing for and your staff team will be in a position to deliver a more tailored customer experience.
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