sales and marketing for msps

Sales and Marketing for MSPS

Sales and marketing for MSPs should be complimentary initiatives, but often these two business units end up working against each other while frustrated MSP business owners wonder who’s telling the truth.

“Marketing is sending us garbage leads!”

“Sales reps want everything handed to them, they won’t do any work to get things across the finish line!”

How can you create cohesive sales and marketing for MSPs when you have two teams who both want credit for the same wins?

The short answer is, you can’t create harmony in your business without changing your sales and marketing processes.

Marketing Goals

Marketing metrics can be seen by many as vanity scores.  After all, likes and shares don’t pay the bills, so it’s hard to determine their value.   Your marketing team is responsible for making sure your story is being told – as many times as possible, in as many ways as possible, to the people that will be most responsive to the message.

The business owner goals should always be considered when marketing strategies are created, and marketing doesn’t get fast results for managed services providers. If you aren’t clearly articulating your strategic goals to your marketing team, your results will be muddy!  Often sales and marketing for MSPs gets abandoned when results aren’t produced as quickly as the business owner would like to see them, and many marketing teams or marketing firms are hesitant to stand up to the person who pays the bills.  Expectations aren’t clearly conveyed, so they can’t be met.  Or expectations were unrealistic to begin with, but no one would speak truth to power.  Marketing takes a long time to produce consistent results.  The old saying “I know half of my marketing is working, I just don’t know which half!” need not be true – there are ways to measure the results of your marketing initiatives, they just usually don’t have a dollar figure attached to them for several years.  Left untracked and unmeasured, you may never know which of your investments paid off.

Sales Goals

Sales produces the revenue, and revenue is something that is simple to measure.  If you are setting reasonable sales goals based on historical data, it’s easy to tell when your sales team succeeds – they hit the number.  However, sales didn’t hit that number in a vaccuum.  It’s pretty rare that sales and marketing for MSPs exist one without the other, so if your sales team is winning, it’s easy to forget that marketing likely helped them get there.

Sales teams get frustrated when they’re given poor leads.  And rightly so – bad leads waste their valuable time and prevent them from focusing on generating their own leads or meeting with good prospects!

Creating Balanced Sales and Marketing for MSPs

How do you create a strategy that allows your sales team and your marketing team to work in harmony for the greater goals of the business?  Finger pointing and blaming doesn’t close deals – and ultimately that’s what the MSP business needs to survive.

Here are some things for business leaders, sales leaders and marketing leaders to consider when the performance of both sales and marketing is under review:

  1. How can you incentivize your teams on metrics that matter to everyone?  If your marketing team is incentivized only on getting new email addresses, business cards or landing page form fills, that’s what they’re going to focus on doing.  If there is no counter metric in place to determine quality, your marketing team has no reason to make sure the leads are “good”, and they are doing their job as outlined.  If your sales team is incentivized only on closed deals, they’ll want the fastest, easiest deals and they’ll cherry pick the leads they believe will help them hit their numbers the fastest.  Neither of these strategies creates long term business stability – but both teams are technically doing their jobs.  It’s your job as the business leader to tell marketing what to bring to the sales team, and it’s your job as the business leader to tell sales how to manage the leads that marketing brings them.  Left on their own, business units perform in silos, when they should be cooperatives.  Consider alternative metrics for variable compensation that reward people for collaborating instead of competing.  Everyone wants the team to win, it doesn’t matter who gets the touchdown.
  2. If you’re partnered with third party agencies for one part of your sales and marketing process, does your internal team understand the role of the third party vendor?  For example, if you have hired a marketing firm that specializes in producing MQLs (marketing qualified leads) but your sales team is expecting SQLs (sales qualified leads) have you set both teams up to fail by not clearly sharing the role of the vendor with everyone that vendor interacts with?
  3. Does everyone speak the same language?  If you’ve hired outside of the I.T. industry, do your new hires understand how the managed services space differs from the industries they worked in previously?  Does “lead” mean the same thing to your sales leader as it does to your marketing coodinator?  Does everyone undertand your definition of qualified, or are people communicating poorly from day one, making assumptions about the role of the other departments?

Communication is Key

Everyone wants the same thing, everyone is using the same language, everyone understands what success looks like. Right?

That’s the promised land.

You can get there if your team is communicating intentionally and respectfully.

Changing process, bringing in new talent or agencies, implementing new compensation plans or adding new sales and marketing tools and services can lead to more problems than they solve when the team isn’t kept in the loop.  Don’t make sales and marketing decisions in a vaccuum.  Communicate your goals to your sales and marketing teams.  Create your plans with the input of both groups.  Find creative ways to put each team in the others’ shoes from time to time.

One great way to do this is to have any new hire in any department shadow the employees in other areas.  Your marketing team may not be so quick to judge your sales team once they’ve seen how challenging it is to call on lukewarm barely qualified leads all day.  Your sale team may be more understanding of your marketing department challenges after they have spent a day watching how much work goes in to something as seemingly simple as an email sequence.

Looking to Add New Sales or Marketing headcount in 2022?

Now is the time to start preparing.

You start with the process you want followed – don’t build a job around a person, find a person to do the job you need done – but first define that job well.  If you’re hiring, make sure the person you’re hiring understands their day to day role well – nothing is worse than finding the perfect employee for a job they don’t want to do.  “Hire attitude, train skill” is great advice – unless you’ve never hired for the role before and haven’t defined the role.  Bringing a new person in to an ill-defined role is a recipe for wasting a lot of money and ulitimately ending up worse off than you are today. ( Learn how one MSP grew from one part time lead generator to a full time sales team of eight in under five years!)

Build your process first.

Then hire the people you will need to execute the plan.

Profit will follow.

We’d be happy to help you figure it out!  Our team can help you create your sales and marketing process.  We can help you find the people you’ll need.   We’ve been working with MSPs for over 7 years now, and having passed the 1000 MSP client mark, we’ve seen it all.   We know what to avoid.  We know when to double down.  And we know when you should wait for a more opportune time to hire or engage a third party.  We’re happy to share what we’ve learned.  If you’d like to chat with Carrie about your sales and marketing goals for 2022, you  can grab some time on her calendar here:  www.calendly.com/coldcallcarrie

You can also fill out the form below to chat with anyone on our team about sales appointment setting for your MSP:

Quick Contact

To find out more about our services, fill out the form below.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.