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Why your MSP is failing to generate leads – and how to change that 

Lead-generation is a powerful and long-term strategy for MSPs, one that plants seeds that can yield the ripe fruit of new prospective customers when it is done well. However, for many MSPs their lead generation is failing to bear fruit. In this article, we explain why these efforts are failing for many MSPs, and how to turn this situation around, so that you can take your MSP business to the next level.  

How MSPs’ lead generation strategies fail

The beginning and end of a lead generation strategy, that fails to deliver a return on investment are all too familiar to us. Does this situation sound familiar to you?  

  • Your sales team are pushing on, making calls, sending emails, and following up for the nth time with your prospects, but aren’t getting any appointments booked.  
  • Your lead generation content is failing to trigger conversions across the board – emails aren’t being opened, tumbleweeds drift through your campaign blogs, and website traffic just doesn’t seem to be increasing.
  • You have a clear strategy in place, regular meetings and oversight over your lead generation campaign data, but they all can’t seem to shift the needle.  

So, here’s what happens next … is this also familiar?  

  • Doubt creeps in, so the conversation turns towards revising the approach; ‘if it ain’t working, fix it’ becomes the name of the game.  
  • You start tweaking your campaigns, contact frequency and methods, your campaign message, and how you approach prospects. But results don’t change.  
  • You start tweaking your strategy at increasingly fundamental levels, changing up your list acquisition, campaign strategy, and trying to encourage results by using paid methods such as PPC and even outsourcing your appointment setters … But still there’s no dice.  

What has gone wrong in this process? What can be done to change the game so that your MSP enjoys a steady stream of leads that drive its growth?  

Here’s our perspective in a nutshell:  

  • It takes time to see results from your lead generation campaigns, which bears fruit gradually, and then suddenly. By changing their lead generation strategy prematurely, many MSPs are effectively resetting the timer to seeing results from their lead generation strategy.  
  • Not only this, a value-driven, flexible, and patient approach to your lead generation strategy can add game-changing value to your lead generation and conversion efforts.  

Here’s why all of this is the case for MSPs and why an alternative approach can offer better chances of success.  

The missing key to successful lead generation for MSPs 

Most MSPs are used to gaining business via referrals. A satisfied client gives a timely recommendation to another organisation who are either investing into MSP services for the first time, or more likely, are looking for a new provider. These leads are as warm as fresh-baked cookies and form the main source of new clientele for MSPs.  

“In contrast, about 90% of businesses within an MSP’s target market will already have a provider, and it often takes a lot for these prospects to move to another one, even if they are not totally satisfied with their service.”  

When the time comes, these prospects will either consult with MSPs that they are aware of and have a relationship with, or they’ll use Google to find a new IT partner.  

Let’s be honest, the menu of potential providers in the hands of these businesses is huge, but your business could be at the top of it, sticking out with colourful and defined features that make starting a conversation easy and culminate in a new partnership.  

This is the opportunity that lead generation can offer to MSPs seeking to get ahead. So, where is the problem?  

It goes against the habits and expectations of MSPs. Most are used to seeing the results of their work almost instantly in their daily activities, and moreover, when referral leads arise, they often convert quickly, partly due to already having a high level of trust.  

“Lead generation however, is like planting seeds, it takes time to cultivate converting relationships with your target market, most of whom already have a provider and will need to get to know your business better first so that they can build up a similar level of trust to your referral prospects.  

This process can take weeks to months to come into fruition.” 

Partly for these reasons MSPs can doubt their approach to generating leads and whether it’s worth the investment. Given that most businesses already have an MSP, they will also tend to be less moved by inbound marketing into actively considering your business. This is a long game that takes time to create results.  

In many cases, the game is about raising awareness and building relationships that create a foundation for consideration when the right time comes. To do this, lead generation and engagement can play a pivotal role, forming a steady (albeit slower) pipeline of prospects that convert into new clients, driving enhanced growth.  

In essence, a patient and data-driven approach can help MSPs to get the best from their lead generation activities. With this said, we will look at how your MSP business can create and implement a lead generation strategy that makes a measurable impact.  

Keys to Lead Generation Success for MSPs 

So, with this in mind here are some of our top tips for cultivating an approach to lead generation that yields profitable results:  

  • Map where you are 

Survey your marketing channels to build a data-driven picture of the status quo – find out how many leads you’re generating and converting each month, your social media following, website traffic, emailing list, and any other measurable points that form a picture of the market exposure and relationships that your business currently has. This will serve as a foundation for measuring the progress of your lead generation strategy as it plays out across time.  

  • Get clear on measurements and goals:  

Establish measurable variables across your lead generation pipeline for categorising and measuring the results of your lead generation efforts. Attribution is also important, so ensure that the sources of prospects are clear and linkable to lead generation activities. Create goals which will serve as data-driven north-stars for measuring the effects of your lead generation efforts.  

  • Give it time  

A lead generation strategy usually takes 6-12 months to generate sustained and profitable results for a business. During this time, it can be tempting to dig up your seeds and to plant them elsewhere, but this can be very counterproductive. Naturally, it is helpful to make tweaks and adjustments based on the insights and best practices that emerge in the process, but if you reset your strategy, you’ll likely be resetting the timer for seeing results too.  

  • Start value-driven conversations 

Adapt your sales approach to drive value – develop marketing collateral and offerings that warm up leads by showcasing and giving value to them. Listen closely for pain points, respond to them, and align your activities to the needs that have been identified. In the end, a ‘spoken for’ business will leave their MSP supplier because their needs are not being met. By that point, the stars will be bright and aligned with your business, making you the most obvious option to approach.  

Value leads to trust, trust leads to conversations, and conversations lead to partnerships. This takes time, but with the help of a value-focused approach, you can make the case for your business more effectively.  

  • Be persistent and use multiple channels 

Be persistent in your contact and engagement efforts and try to stay in touch regularly to keep raising awareness and familiarity, gradually warming up prospects. There will be ebbs and flows in their interest; one moment they may be having an IT problem and be more engaging, afterwards, they may be more focused on business-as-usual activities. At this point, it’s worth remembering that the steps so far have cultivated a better relationship that can lead to a sale further down the line. In the meantime, keep at it and engage prospects regularly.  

Use multiple channels to approach prospects; enabling a more holistic approach that can engage prospects via channels that work for them. Alongside calling, leverage social media platforms such as LinkedIn, emails, and mutual events such as conferences to continue building a warm relationship from multiple angles.  

Win clients by starting to build relationships NOW! 

Lead generation in the MSP space takes a patient, tailored and nurturing approach with a focus on value and relationships. Without this approach, getting measurable results will be difficult and lead to counterproductive results. Get ahead of Google results pages and other MSPs by taking the steps to cultivate trusting relationships now, making your business the go-to partner of choice later on when your leads are ready to buy. In a nutshell, this is the magic that lead generation can give to MSPs seeking to grow more quickly. All it takes is some planning, investment, and patience! 

We’re in the business of starting conversations, so if you’d like some help with this in your lead generation efforts, get in touch with Wingman today and we’ll be glad to help you.  

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