Baby Your List
As MSPs, we are always telling our clients that the most important aspect of their company is their data. We tell them how taking care of their data is paramount to their business continuity and operational efficiency. Ironically, many of us don’t even take our own advice. Go ahead. Take a look at some of your data (let’s say your prospect list) and ask yourself if it’s getting the attention it deserves.
If you are looking to increase revenue by taking on new clients, you are going to need to introduce (or reintroduce) yourself to businesses other than your existing clients. There’s no way around it. When the time comes, you should be able to dust off that old list from almost a decade ago and start kicking email campaigns out, right? Unfortunately, using a list that you compiled before smartphones existed is going to be a waste of time and money. Not to mention, you may end up looking foolish.
The trouble that many MSPs run into is that they haven’t been taking good care of their prospect lists. Then, when they go to spend those marketing dollars, they don’t get anywhere near the return they hope for. Considering the fact that 80 percent of businesses fail within 18 months of when they were founded, it stands to reason that one might not want to assume that their list is still full of hot leads, even 10 years later. Try these strategies before you think about running your next campaign:
Practice What You Preach
It’s just like how you pitch to your clients; it’s all about proactive maintenance. You need to baby your prospect list. Schedule yourself time to reach out to each and every person on your list, even when you aren’t currently doing anything to market to them. This means doing some Google-stalking to continuously qualify the lead, and even a yearly phone call just to check in to make sure that they are still breathing. If you are sending out a monthly newsletter, this is the perfect ice breaker. Just call them up to make sure they are getting it, and while you have them on the phone, ask them if there’s anything you can do for them or anything you can do to make your newsletter more valuable for them.
Don’t Miss a Single Detail
Let’s just pretend for a moment that you have a flawless photographic memory. Eventually, you’re going to want to grow to the point where you aren’t the one making all the soft calls. Having detailed notes about each prospect gives your marketing team ammo. It gives your sales person something to chat about. It changes the name of the game from a cold sales pitch to a more personalized relationship. It makes the prospect feel like they already matter to your business. Keep track of every call and note every detail, no matter what direction the conversation goes in: Did they mention they have kids? How about any pain points with their existing technology? When is their birthday? What football team are they rooting for? The information you collect from those rare opportunities to talk to the prospect needs to be carefully documented.
Nurture Your Leads
Keep in mind that B2B decision makers aren’t generally impulse buyers. They might not be ready to move forward this month, this quarter, or this year. Use your charisma to let them know you’ll subscribe them to your newsletter and keep in touch throughout the year. Encourage them to follow you on Facebook or Twitter, and be sure to follow their page back. Make them feel like you are excited at the prospect of working with them, even if it’s a little ways out. It’s not all about the the potential for recurring revenue; it’s about the relationship.
Make it Personal
There’s no shame in wanting to “wine and dine” a great prospect. Afterall, you probably have a lot in common with them. You are both business owners or decision makers that deal with a lot of the same issues. People are much more willing to work with someone they like and trust. If you aren’t ready to go that far, at least send them holiday or birthday cards. Small gestures make a big impact over time, and you can automate your processes so you can get things done without eating up your marketing budget. Keep in mind that it makes a difference knowing that you are personally reaching out, and not the company. Sure, it’s nice getting a branded Christmas card, but when it’s signed by the person they’ve been interacting with, it means a lot more.
Track the Journey
When documenting your interactions with prospects, be sure to keep a timeline of how you were introduced. Was it a website lead from Google, someone from a purchased list, or a handshake at a chamber event? What marketing efforts have they been receptive to? Did they come to a webinar? Do they interact with your company on social media? The more insights you can take note of, the more you can hone in your efforts. You might find that running webinars don’t get you in front of the right people, but chamber mixers do, or vice versa.
Use Marketing Groups
If you use ConnectWise, take advantage of marketing groups. This will save you a ton of time and head-scratching when it comes time to kick off an additional email to prospects (or even existing clients) when trying to fill the last couple of seats at a “lunch and learn.” Drop contacts into groups based on the services they have, the services you feel they should have, their pain points, etc. Got a handful of break-fix clients that truly need to see the light of managed services? You’ll be able to snag them all and pop them into your next campaign that explores the benefits of being proactive rather than reactive.
Your Prospects are Gold
Until you are 100 percent certain that the prospect isn’t a fit, treat them just as you would a paying customer. Build a relationship with them, spend money on them, and take great notes, making sure to hold your sales team to these standards. In other words, baby your list. Don’t wait until you have the time, money, or a desperate need to run a campaign. Be organized and plan ahead.