(Pictured above: Robin Robins outlines MSP marketing secrets for her audience at the Channel Partners Evolution pre-conference workshop.)
CHANNEL PARTNERS EVOLUTION — The global managed services market is largely saturated, but continued growth in demand is anticipated at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9% to 11.5%.
So it’s as good a time as ever to be in managed services. However, if you’re annual growth averages 10%, you’re standing still.
That’s according to Robin Robins, CEO and founder of Technology Marketing Toolkit. She led a pre-conference workshop titled “MSP Marketing Secrets to Double or Triple the Number of Quality Managed Services Clients You Have in the Next 12 Months” at this week’s Channel Partners Evolution in Washington, D.C.
Adam Binks, SysGroup‘s CEO, said the session gave “great exposure” to various methods and methodologies of implementing a marketing strategy for MSPs, and “some things we’re not doing as well.”
“It energized me,” he said. “We’re a U.K.-based managed services provider and we typically service customers between 50 and 500 seats, and we specialize in the insurance industry, charity and not-for-profits and education, and we grow rapidly by acquisition.”
One of the things MSPs struggle with is what marketing is and how it works, Robins said. Marketing is supposed to facilitate and accelerate the sales process by attracting right-fit prospects, pre-selling them and predisposing them to do business with you, she said.
“The two marketing plans I see in the channel are the vulture marketing plan, which is basically wait for something to die in front of you, and then go jump on the carcass and pick at it with all the other vultures, which is basically growing through referral or whatever kind of floats your way,” she said. “The other one is the Plinko game … it’s random acts and hope. And if they want to be successful at growing their organization, they have to have a strategic plan in place. They have to understand what marketing is from the beginning, they’ve got to get out of random acts and hopes, and get into marketing systems. And we call those marketing oil wells. ”
Lots of things get in the way of MSPs executing successful marketing campaigns, Robins said.
“Sometimes they just don’t know anything about marketing, they say ‘I’m a tech’ and they don’t know marketing,” she said. “There’s ego; they want to look bigger than they are, so it’s all based on who they are. Here’s who we want to look like — we want to look like IBM, we want to look like Microsoft. Or decisions are made on their personal preferences, not on their customers’ preferences. They just need an education about marketing.”
Good marketing requires thinking like an entrepreneur, Robins said. An entrepreneur is engineering who’s their customer, what kind of product or service they can put together that would be most attractive to that specific type of customer, then designing the marketing plan to acquire that customer profitably, grow and develop that customer, she said.
“It’s like anything else, it’s the 80-20 rule,” she said. “If you look at the channel, almost…