I run a marketing agency specializing in B2B tech, so I talk to many Managed Service Providers (MSPs) about their marketing. I’m constantly amazed that, for many of them, marketing doesn’t exist. They often refer to cold calling as marketing, but using b2b inbound marketing to encourage customers to find them is a foreign concept.
What is an MSP?
For those who don’t know, MSPs are the backbone of the technology market. They provide services such as installing, configuring, and supporting the technologies businesses rely on. They are an extension of most IT teams. ChannelE2E estimates there are over 20,000 healthy and profitable MSPs in North America.
Although MSPs are known for supporting IT, they almost all started as sales organizations. They are the technology industry’s channel to market, and in North America, they sell over $200 billion in software and services per year. The job of installing, configuring, and supporting the technology is created by selling it, which plays a significant role in how they view marketing.
The Makeup of an MSP Leader
If you’ve ever been around a top-flight salesperson, you know they don’t need help bringing in business. They are networking machines that single-handedly drive millions in sales per year. Their self-confidence lends itself to a leadership role, and they build out the delivery side first because their promise means everything.
Who the Founder/CEO is has everything to do with how they see sales and marketing. When the business demands more growth than the CEO can produce, they hire more salespeople. Marketing, if it exists, role is to provide sales support (brochures, sell sheets, a website).
MSP Sales Expansion
It doesn’t take long before the MSP realizes the new salespeople aren’t the same as the founder. They need marketing support to succeed. They express this need by saying, “we need leads.” The new salespeople aren’t rainmakers like the founder; they can’t create something out of nothing.
The MSP leader will likely churn through several salespeople before they realize a different approach is needed. This need for a different approach drives them to look for marketing. The MSP leader still sees b2b inbound marketing, or a prospect finding them, as like chasing a unicorn. They always found their own opportunities. When times got tough, they would knock on new doors, so what they need is someone to cold call. They see it as marketing and frequently find us at Sizyl.
The Importance of B2B Inbound Marketing for MSPs
Our first conversation is about where leads should originate for a b2b organization. If all your leads come from referrals, you have to work twice as hard as your competitor that has invested in marketing. Half of an MSP’s leads should come from referrals, and the other half should come from the website and email marketing.
In today’s digital age, businesses must have a strong online presence to succeed. The need for an online presence is especially true for MSPs (Managed Service Providers) who rely on their ability to market themselves effectively to attract new clients. However, even with a strong online presence, many other inbound marketing tactics still exist to master.
At its core, b2b inbound marketing is all about creating valuable content that appeals to potential clients and draws them to your website. This content can include blog posts, videos, infographics, and more designed to educate and inform your target audience. By providing value in this way, you build trust and establish yourself as an authority in your field, which can lead to more leads, conversions, and, ultimately, revenue.
The buyer’s journey today is online. Ninety percent of the time, it starts with a search. If your business isn’t found in search, you’re out of the game before you even knew there was one. SEO’s role in the equation is to make you findable.
The next step is to develop the prospect’s interest. The prospect will land on your website, and in six to nine seconds, they’ll decide if your business is one they should consider. You’re out if you don’t communicate who you are and why the prospect should stick around.
Between 40% and 70% of the prospect’s evaluation of vendors will occur before they ever talk to a salesperson. If you don’t have inbound marketing, you ignore everyone looking for your solution.
So why do so many MSPs ignore B2B Inbound Marketing?
The answer isn’t as simple as I made it out to be above. It isn’t just because the CEO/Founder thinks everyone can sell without marketing. There are several other reasons, including:
Lack of Understanding – One of the most common reasons MSPs ignore inbound marketing is that they need help understanding it. They may have heard the term but need to know what it entails or how to get started.
B2B inbound marketing can be a complex and multifaceted strategy. Still, MSPS need to take the time to educate themselves on the subject if they want to succeed in today’s digital landscape.
Time and Resource Constraints – Another common barrier to entry for MSPs is the time and resources required to create and maintain a successful b2b inbound marketing campaign.
Developing high-quality content can be time-consuming and costly, especially for smaller MSPs with limited staff and budgets.
However, while it may require some upfront investment, the long-term benefits of inbound marketing can make it well worth the effort.
Fear of Failure – Finally, some MSPs may hesitate to embrace inbound marketing simply because they fear it won’t work for them. They may have tried other marketing strategies in the past that yielded different results than they were hoping for, and as a result, they’re skeptical of trying something new.
In conclusion, while there may be several reasons why MSPs ignore b2b inbound marketing, it’s important to remember that inbound marketing has proven to be one of the most effective strategies for B2B companies of all sizes and industries. With the right approach, b2b inbound marketing can also work for MSPs.