Cold calling for MSPs 101


Cold calling still works, if you do it right. Here's how to leverage cold calling to fuel your MSP marketing engine. A marketing lesson from Nate Freedman, the MSP marketing expert and the CEO of Tech Pro Marketing & Ulistic.

A few years ago, I was on the phone with a new prospect and we were talking about lead generation tactics that they could potentially explore in the new year. They were very clear about their goals–they wanted to start generating four new customers per month through outbound marketing, and they wanted to know what it would take to get there.

Having been in this business for more years than I care to admit, lead generation happens to be one of my primary focuses. Based on that, I asked them the next logical question: "how many new customers are you generating per month right now? What are you doing to get them?" The logic is simple–let's double down on what you're doing that's already working, then explore some new ways that we can potentially fill those gaps.

So when the response on the other end of the line was a resounding "zero and nothing." That's when I knew that the conversation needed to take a few steps back.

Setting goals to generate a specific number of new leads over a certain time requires intimate knowledge of the action required to generate those new leads. It's not as simple as saying "I want to do this." You need to finish the sentence: "I want to do this... and here's how I'm going to pull it off." You need an idea of the amount of effort you need to put in and how much time it's realistically going to take. In other words, you need to have a "marketing engine" that can drive you forward. You may start with the basics of generating leads and make it grow.

This particular prospect, sadly, didn't.

Truth is, you can build a genuine marketing engine around pretty much any marketing tactic. It's also a lot easier to do than you probably realize. For the sake of discussion, let's use a technique that has been used to great effect again and again over the years:

Cold calling.

Build your engine, build your business

Any car mechanic can tell you that in order to create a functioning, stable engine, the first thing you need is fuel. In the example of cold calling, the "fuel" you'll be using has to do with the number of dials you make every day.

Based on that total number, you can bet that you'll only actually get through to a small number of those you're attempting to reach. Let's say you'll have a 10% success rate with getting people to pick up the phone and listen to what you have to say. This may sound like a small number, but rest assured if you're able to hit it, that's definitely something to be celebrated.

From that 10%, you can also be fairly certain that an even smaller number of people are going to be interested in setting up a meeting and learning more about what you offer. Let's say that this, too, equates to about 10% of the 10% who picked up the phone.

Once people hear you out, you're naturally going to lose people who aren't a good fit for your products and services. In the best case scenario, that will be about 50% of the people you're dealing with.

At this point, I'll cut you a break and assume you're an excellent closer–meaning that out of everyone you have left, you've closed about half of your proposals.

Now, how much effort do you need to put in to get those four new leads per month? The math is already laid out in front of you–you just have to run the numbers in reverse.

If you need four deals and your close rate is 50%, that means eight proposals. Based on everything I just outlined above, that means you need at least 16 meetings. To get there, you need to get through to at least 160 decision makers on the phone. To get there, you need to dial at least 1,600 businesses.

If you have an average of 20 working days in a given month, and you make about 80 calls per day, you'll hit those numbers more often than not.

Again, this is just using the single tactic of cold calling as an example. In all likelihood, you'll be doing a lot more than that for your business. As a modern business, your marketing engine will likely be constructed around a lot of things–from blogging to email marketing to Google Ads and even good, old-fashioned search engine optimization.

Every time you run the numbers for another one of those techniques and add it to your arsenal, you take a bit of the burden off of each one as an individual. Meaning that the more you emphasize email marketing, the fewer cold calls you have to make. Once you perfect your SEO game, that will help relieve some of the pressure from email and cold calls–and so on.

But the most important thing to understand is that your engine is only as strong as the fuel you put in. If you load up the car and head out on a cross-country trip with only a half a tank of gas, you're not going to get very far. To get to your end result–no matter what that end result actually is–you need to know how much fuel to put in, and every step that your engine takes along the way.

Once you know that, you know everything you need to start generating all of the results you've been after.

It's your move. Use it to make the connection you've been missing

In terms of MSP marketing, it's natural to feel like something is missing from your current efforts–that one little thing that, if you could find it, would mean the difference between where you are now and precisely where you want to be.

Knowing where to start with lead generation is not always clear, and getting the engine up and running is only half the battle. If lead gen feels like you’re taking shots in the dark, I can help you put it all in perspective and get that engine working properly.

Dm me on LinkedIn to get started. 

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