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Is Your MSP Business Making These Common Sales and Marketing Mistakes when Pitching to SMBs?

By Special Guest
Alex Milshtein, Atera

Sales and Marketing isn’t usually an MSPs biggest strength. Many of us have created businesses out of technical skills and hands-on abilities, and when it comes to selling ourselves and getting the word out, it’s word of mouth we often rely on. However, to get your business from where you are to where you want to be, you need to be willing to do more. Here are some of the biggest mistakes a growing MSP can make when targeting SMBs, and what you should be doing instead.

Looking for Instant Gratification

When a business is starting out, it is often overly focused on profits. The truth is, until you’re up and running, it’s much more important to have a steady cash flow. One-off projects that give you a cash boost might be necessary from time to time, but they aren’t helping your company in the long run.

Creating a marketing plan that gives you sales targets and is in line with your business strategy is far more valuable than an unstructured ‘quick wins’ method. A long-term view that includes channel referrals and lead generation helps you build a solid foundation that pays your expenses consistently, not only at the end of this calendar month.

If you’re unsure of how to build the right marketing and sales plan for your business, reach out to a trusted sales advisor, or join a community of IT professionals, online or off, who can give you their own best practices.

Finding Transactional Upsell Opportunities

Upselling is an important part of being an MSP, but it’s more about the value you can bring, and less about the problems you can fix. Most businesses are looking to build a partnership with their managed service provider and are looking to create a relationship that they can trust. Transactional sales strategies fail to do this and leave your customer unable to turn to you until they have a recognizable issue that they need fixing, or can identify a competitively-priced, pre-packaged managed service solution that you already offer. 

In contrast, a consultative approach allows a customer to pick up the phone and ask you to troubleshoot or problem solve, with issues like “We’re looking to scale, how can we best manage this process?” or “Should we be moving over the cloud, and if so – how?” Once you’re answering these questions, the natural next step is to support the customer in deployment and ongoing maintenance, regardless of the price point or what the competition are offering.

Focusing on the Price Points, and Forgetting the Pain Points

As an MSP, you need to be aligned with the problems that your customers are facing, and yet too many businesses are worried about keeping their pricing low so that they don’t become unaffordable for SMBs. The truth is, that showing your value is far more important than worrying about your monthly invoice. Becoming indispensable to your customers means they view you as a cost that is non-negotiable, and well worth the money.

One great sales and marketing method is to show your value upfront, before an SMB needs to take budget into consideration. Give your customer a trial period, anywhere from 30 to 90 days for example, proving to them the value that you can bring, and the confidence you have in your service as a product. Identify the pain points that are specifically plaguing them as a company, and put all of your efforts into taking those issues of their hands.

By the end of the trial, you should be able to point to areas where you have been indispensable. You can also present them with an informed report of the changes or support you would provide next, especially those that directly tackle their weaknesses, such as digital transformation, de-mystifying IT expansion, or cloud adoption. Especially for SMBs who need to think about the value of every IT and business choice, and may need trusted third-party support far more than an enterprise who has vast in-house IT, this is a winning method for conversions.

Bringing it all Together for SMBs

Your goal when marketing your MSP to SMBs is simple. Find the companies who fit your own solid sales and marketing plan, and become the trusted IT department that they never had. Identify the pain points they are looking to address for their own business, and take those problems off of their hands altogether. Most of all, focus hard on the value that you can bring, and make sure that you’re representing this to them, first and foremost.




Edited by Maurice Nagle
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