MSP Lead Generation

In their early stages, Managed Service Providers (MSP) typically rely on providing top-notch services and referrals to boost business growth. However, for long-term sustainability, MSPs should have a marketing and growth strategy that allows them to expand their business and improve their services.

This is where MSP lead generation becomes integral to the success of the organization. Not only does it offer proven benefits for the company in the long run, but a well-executed lead generation strategy provides massive opportunities for businesses to upscale their offerings. Hence, this is a concept that deserves attention.

The difficulty, however, lies in effectively generating leads for MSPs, which takes dedicated effort and commitment to push a positive brand image and secure customer trust and loyalty.

Just as well, we have outlined a start-to-finish plan and compiled some creative MSP lead generation ideas to keep your business thriving in the current norm.

What is MSP lead generation?

The term refers to tactics through which qualified leads can be generated for managed service providers. So, it is not just about targeting anyone and everyone possible in the market. It is about targeting specific clientele who can be associated with your business. Businesses should target and cater their marketing efforts to:

  1. Clientele who will become customers
  2. Businesses that are likely to align with the MSP

Generating leads for an MSP can be a strenuous as well as challenging task. Organizations seeking to be successful in this industry need to be committed to working hard. Regardless of whether the operation costs $25M or $50M, the effort and dedication has to remain the same.

While there are many MSP lead generation techniques, it is imperative to find a technique that aligns with the business' goals and ambitions. This way, the organization will be able to create the noise they need to generate business for themselves. Effective lead generation can:

  1. Improve the return on investment(ROI) for the marketing done.
  2. Create a steady stream of new customers who are likely to provide repeat business opportunities.

Qualified leads for a managed service provider

There are two types of qualified leads that can be generated for MSPs. They are:

1. Sales Qualified Lead

A sales qualified lead, commonly referred to as SQL, is a customer that has previously expressed interest in what the organization can offer, either through current marketing efforts or through another point of contact with the organization.

2. Marketing Qualified Lead

An MQL, or marketing qualified lead, is a prospect who has been recognised as a good fit. This is a potential client that has been carefully investigated and has been considered "ready" to be marketed to, although having exhibited no specific interest in the brand or the organization.

Difference between MQL and SQL

The major difference between these two qualified leads lies in how ready they will be to buy the organization’s services. MQLs have already indicated that they wish to do business with the organization in the future.

As for SQLs, they are already convinced that they need the services that were marketed to them. The organization needs to ensure that they are chosen as leads.

Inbound Lead Generation and Outbound Lead Generation

Lead generation does not have to be limited to cold calling alone. In fact, there are many ways to generate leads and all of them fall into either of these categories:

1. Inbound Lead Generation

When organizations create campaigns with enticing content to attract visitors, it is termed as inbound lead generation. High-value content is utilized to develop trust, attract attention, and build a connection. Examples of inbound marketing techniques can be advertising, SEO, content marketing, lead nurturing, and blogging.

2. Outbound Lead Generation

Outbound marketing, sometimes known as "interruption marketing," is the practice of distributing or pushing communications to a target audience regardless of whether they have requested it or indicated an interest. The bulk of outbound techniques need a paid delivery method, which raises the overall cost of any campaign.

At this point, it's only natural to wonder how the inbound and outbound engines work in tandem to make for a great digital marketing engine. Well, don't worry! We've got you covered.

Michael Breeze, Visual Marketing Director of Marketing Breeze, shares a few digital marketing SuperHacks that will prove valuable for managed service providers in the long run.

Generation and Implementation of MSP Lead Generation Plans

While generating MSP leads is one thing, implementation is an entirely different ballgame. Businesses need to have efficiently optimized systems in place to ensure a smoothly functioning process. Here are the factors to consider in the implementation process:

1. What is the MSP's location?

MSPs need to identify how far they can deliver their services. Once they have identified that, they need to learn about all the organizations in that delivery radius and approach them. Another approach is locating prospective customers across the country and providing them remote services.

2. How big/small are they?

MSPs can target specific organizations based on how big they are. This can be determined by assessing their annual revenue, the number of employees in the organization and the number of office locations. Marketing efforts need to be optimized for each client accordingly.

3. Which industries do they cater to?

Some MSPs only work with clients in specific industries. However, MSPs who can provide remote services can target different organizations in different industries and further their business operations.

Outbound vs Inbound marketing graphic

Implementation of outbound leads

Organizations need to formulate an outbound strategy once they have identified their prospective customers. They can do this by:

1. Building personal contacts

There are various ways for organizations to build contacts. These include:

  • Purchasing a leads list: Organizations can purchase contact lists from internet research firms and data vendors. They just need to make sure that they are doing business with a reputable vendor with the latest information. Otherwise, this could severely harm the reputation of the managed service provider. Make sure to only use lists that have been opted in by the recipients.
  • Exploring online networks: Online platforms such as LinkedIn are a great way to build contact lists. Here, MSP employees will need to use their personal pages to connect with prospective customers as company pages are not allowed to do so. These platforms are great for networking purposes as well as creating brand awareness.
  • Focusing on local organizations: MSP businesses can also start by targeting local businesses in the area. For example, if they are situated in an office park with many other businesses around, then they can start by catering IT services to them.

2. Generating leads

MSPs must then leverage these contacts to convert them into leads. They can do this by:

  • Sending a personalized email to each potential client.
  • Cold emailing or cold calling.

For effective results, it is recommended that MSPs carry out each of these lead generation tactics so as to connect with the maximum number of prospective clients.

Generating leads through an outbound system is not just about asking prospective clients to provide business. Services of the MSP need to be value-driven according to the requirements of their prospects. They need to be convinced that the services will help them reduce costs and manpower and generate more revenue.

At the same time, MSPs should not be pushy as this will affect them negatively. While the main motive remains to close a deal with the prospective client, it should be done subtly. For example, network with them and arrange several meetings to have a personal touch.

Implementation of inbound leads

The difference in implementing outbound and inbound leads is letting the prospective clients find the MSP instead of the MSP searching for them. There are a few ways to achieve this:

1. Highlight the website

The website is surely going to be the centre of focus if the MSP utilizes SEO efficiently. The aim should be to have their company pop-up when someone does a search for anything related to IT services in their area. It is also a good idea to have a contact form ready for them to fill up when they make an approach. The website must:

  • Connect with an audience and offer them solutions to their problems. They may not care to see the brochure of services being provided.
  • Explain the services to the prospective clients in simple terms. It is a good idea to avoid technical jargon at that point.
  • Have a precise call to action for the clients to know where to get in touch.
  • Pay adequate attention to on-site SEO to gain an edge over the competition.

2. High-quality keywords

MSPs need to create high-quality content with the right keywords to create a positive impact. Without this, they will fail to generate the leads they need to attract business. SEO, top-ranking keywords, and consistency in the quality of content help to improve Google rankings. This can be done by:

  • Researching the keywords: MSPs need to research the keywords customers are looking for and write content around the same.
  • Give proper focus: Each content needs to have its own goal, whether it is a blog post or a website page.
  • Publish regularly: MSPs need to publish content regularly to maintain an active online presence. For example, articles with SEO focused on IT support. Google algorithms will grant the articles higher rankings.

3. Paid ads

MSPs usually invest in paid advertisements at the end when they should do it from the beginning, instead. Investing in paid advertisements assists in generating leads much faster than organic marketing.

Waiting for long-term organic growth is not an option for many MSPs. This is when advertising through paid channels can be viable for them. Popular advertising channels include Google Ads, Facebook, LinkedIn and search engines such as Yahoo.

Most Efficient MSP Lead Generation Ideas

1. Telemarketing

Telemarketing i.e., making cold calls is not for everyone. It can often be awkward as it is still a primitive marketing strategy in these times. However, by hiring talented employees, cold-calling can still be done efficiently. It is one of the most useful ways for small businesses to generate leads when they have no other resources.

Cold calling can also be productive in smaller townships where people are unlikely to come across advertisements and referrals. MSPs can begin with developing their own calling scripts from scratch for telemarketing purposes. If done properly, it can assist in building contacts and also save a lot of money and time as it keeps expenses low.

2. MSP lead referrals

Referrals and reviews from existing clients are and will always remain the best method to gain highly valuable leads in B2B marketing. Prospects who hear about your company through happy customers would have a favorable first impression and are more likely to want to work with you.

The negative aspect of referrals is that they are also the toughest to receive. Customers cannot be forced to give a positive review. However, MSPs can maintain an active presence on the Internet where customers can leave nice comments about the business.

3. PPC campaigns

While PPC campaigns may seem primitive, it is still one of the most efficient ways to target prospective customers. MSPs get the exposure their business requires at different cost solutions. Since MSP businesses are all about working online, PPC campaigns are a no-brainer.

PPC advertising can be extremely expensive. You may be tempted to remain with lower-cost PPC solutions in the hopes of placing more advertisements and reaching more potential clients, but PPC advertisements that cost less may have a lesser reach and are unlikely to get noticed.

4. Campaigns on social media and blogging websites

Social media and blogging activities are essential components of MSP lead generation. The main motive for businesses here should be to create an online presence for their brand. Converting readers into potential customers is secondary. Mind sharing among potential customers should be the main focus here.

A good social media strategy first involves identifying the audience the MSP wants to cater to. The next step is to create a steady flow of posts on a regular basis. These posts will specifically cater to what that audience requires. Being specific is key here.

Using SEO in an efficient manner allows posts to rank better than other posts in that category thus inviting more potential business in the future. Using social media for MSP lead generation is beneficial as it incurs less expense and posts may go viral.

Final Words

When MSPs generate leads, they should do so keeping the big picture in mind. It requires patience and time to convert potential customers into permanent customers. This is because they often need to be convinced that they need an MSP more than the MSP needs them. When prospects become customers, the word goes around. Hence, it is necessary to generate leads and follow-up in a positive manner.

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