Guest Column | January 12, 2023

The Revamped MSP Lead Generation Framework

By Derek Marin, Simple Selling

Conducting The Sales Presentation

We help MSPs add between 6 & 12 new managed services agreements per year by generating a warm pipeline consistently.

In the second article about problems with status quo MSP marketing, I cited the backbone issue as the evolved MSP buyer.

In other words, today's MSP buyer is not a first timer anymore. They have an MSP or decent Break/Fix already. But now they need a better MSP and may not even realize it yet.

Therefore, the reason customer acquisition continues to drive MSPs into a frenzy, year after year, in MSP survey after MSP survey, is that we haven't acknowledged the MSP Switcher in our marketing process.

We are still running lead generation with messaging and tactics that worked for the rookie MSP buyer from 10 years ago.

Is it any wonder that we are where we are with lead generation when we think of it this way?

And the consequences are dire. It's not just a few thousand bucks on marketing trash.

What this really means is that MSPs will continue to struggle with hiring and retention of great employees; they will keep struggling to deliver improved customer experiences; they will struggle to delegate and have a healthy work-life balance because sales are stagnant.

So how can MSPs catch a damn break?

Read on, the answer is a simple new framework for lead gen.

MSP Lead Generation Needs a New Look

Quick story first.

What comes to mind when you hear "cybersecurity framework?"

Maybe NIST?

What makes security frameworks great is how they help organize the thought process. They break down the job of stopping bad people into smaller jobs. It begins with the barriers we should build as far out as possible and then it works its way inward, to the point where the bad guys already breached.

MSP lead generation deserves a similar framework.

However, the key difference is that the goal is to hook the prospect as far out from their switching decision timeline as possible, and instead of adding barriers along the way, our challenge in each stage is to create bridges. Bridges that help prospects walk toward our MSP.

What is the New Framework for Lead Gen?

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Distinguish the Message

This is about putting your stake in the ground. Your MSP is in the NBA and the others are in division two. When you look around, you know very well that not all MSPs are as good as yours. You know that your operational maturity is advanced beyond that of a one-man band.

You deliver QBRs consistently, and during those you understand the problems that manufacturers, professional services, and other industry players are facing beyond "IT."

Therefore, the majority of your messaging should be about the difference that YOUR MSP can truly deliver on that other MSPs struggle to even understand.

This stage is about deciding your brand identity, it's the reason why a prospect will want to hand over the keys to the kingdom.

Once you decide on your distinguished message, it will permeate how your lead generation team will work on everything. From the website, the blogs, the case studies, the email templates, the direct mail, the cold call, the targeting, EVERYTHING that your team will create and use in the stages to follow is tied back to your unique message.

Talk to SQLs

Now it's all about identifying the sales-qualified leads in your target area that your distinguished message will resonate with.

Building the damn list! Get the important names. Get their contact information, at the company level and the contact level.

Then build a process that will enable you to have real conversations with decision makers.

Focus the conversation on the PROBLEMS they may be experiencing with the division two MSPs. Make the conversation about educating them on why the problem exists, how you solve this for your clients presently, and most importantly, the consequences for their bottom line if they don't fix this soon.

Do not talk about IT support! Do not emphasize most of your conversation on IT support and other basic managed IT stuff!

Instead, be a vCIO, not a vCO (virtual captain obvious). Know their problems better than they do. This is NOT the sales stage, man, this is stage 2, do NOT pitch.

Do not ask about their contract renewal date right away.

This is about lighting the flame, getting on their radar, and passing along your unique message.

Nurturing SQLs

Nurturing is just a way of keeping top-of-mind in a meaningful way. And so, it's about being consistent in execution, consistent in using different channels, and consistent in delivering your distinguished message.

This stage takes a lot of work. It's hard to execute, but just because something is hard doesn't mean we can avoid it.

It's necessary because this is where lots of SQLs fall through the cracks.

It takes a team to win here. It's harder to stand out nowadays. No doubt about it. But it is doable, and it is not rocket science, either.

To Finalize...

Today's MSP buyer is not on his or her first rodeo. They have a decent MSP right now. And so, to persuade the potential switcher that change is worthwhile, it takes more time and a different approach than it used to.

If you're interested in developing your MSP's unique differentiation path, then check our MSP Lead Generation Guide for 2023. It's got lots of tips, examples, and best practices you can start putting together right away.

About The Author

Derek Marin is the founder of Simple Selling, a sales and marketing agency for MSPs.