In the new normal of work from anywhere, MSPs are an essential part of most business operations, with 75 percent of SMBs already outsourcing some of their IT to a managed service provider. And it’s easy to see why when you look at the numbers—it’s estimated that managed services reduce IT costs by 25-45 percent and increase operational efficiency by 45-65 percent.
With service in such high demand, competition is stiff as more providers flood the market, and MSPs looking to gain an edge are focusing on marketing and messaging that speaks to the unique needs of their target audience. And a more personalized approach to marketing your MSP can be powerful—in 2020, customer experience beat out product and price as the key brand differentiator.
But what’s the ideal experience for your unique customers? We put together an MSP Marketing Guide to break down how to make your MSP stand out from the competition and help you build a marketing plan that covers the buyer journey from prospect through post-sale.
- Part One: Finding Your Niche and Defining Your Value
- Part Two: Know Your Buyer Journey
- Part Three: The Importance of Data and Analytics
Check out a preview of Part One below. You can download the full guide here.
Step One: Defining Yourself
Before you start creating a marketing plan, you need to define the ultimate business goals of your MSP. What are you good at? What will your service offerings be? Will you be focusing on specific industry verticals? Without addressing some basic questions about your business, it’s impossible to create marketing messaging that speaks to your value or proves your expertise to potential customers. Ask these questions about your MSP to help focus and define how you want to present your company to your target customers.
Whose needs do you address better: SMBs or Enterprise organizations?
The needs of small and medium-sized businesses can be much different than those of larger organizations in terms of pain points and value proposition. Marketing messaging that works for small and mid-size businesses without a current IT department might miss the mark with larger organizations that have a full tech staff. That’s why it’s important to first identify the type of organization your will target.
Do you plan to service a metro area, state, region, country or go international?
The move to work from anywhere means MSPs can expand their market are more easily than ever. More organizations are making mostly- or fully-remote permanent for employees, which means an MSP in Chicago can have customers from New York to Australia. You market area will influence both how you attract prospects and what you say to them.
Verticals and Specialties
Does your MSP have compliance or other specialty certifications?
Specializing in an industry can help an MSP better understand what tech stack they need to know—medical and other nice industries often have vastly different support, technology and compliance needs.
Step Two: Defining Your Customer
When you’re developing a marketing strategy, it’s important to identify the type of customer you want to attract. Are you going after SMBs or enterprise organizations? Will you be focusing on industry verticals? This target buyer is known as your ideal customer profile (ICP). Think of your ICP as your customer wish list—in a perfect world all of your customers would be a perfect fit for your solution, and that’s what your ICP represents. Defining your ideal customer allows you to be laser-focused on marketing and selling to targeted accounts that are a great fit for your MSP.
Here are a few things to consider when defining your ICP:
- Company size
- Company budget or revenue
- Technology stack
- Geography or location
Build Your Buyer Personas
Buyer personas are representations, or stories, you create based on the goals, motivations, and challenges each persona is facing. Your buyer personas should be based on the types of buyers you will encounter in the sales cycle.
Make sure to include these essential elements in your buyer personas:
- Job Title
- Pain Points/Major Concern
- How Your MSP is a Solution
- 1-Sentence Value Statement
- Customer Example/Success Story
Step Three: Defining Your Value
When it comes to defining your value, and then showing that value to your customers, it all comes down to product marketing. Product marketing has four main components:
- Understanding the market, your customers and your product
- Taking a product to market
- Enabling internal teams
- Optimizing product adoption
As an MSP, you need to figure out what your customers’ needs are (pain points, compliance requirements, etc.), and then marry that with your service offerings to create solutions that solve for those pain points. You figured out pain points in Step Two, now you need to identify the right service offerings for each buyer persona.
“You should be viewing things from your customer’s lens, always. If you tell them that you understand their frustration with setting up the right IT access for onboarding new employees, for instance, and then explain how your services solve that problem, you have a much better chance of them really understanding the value your MSP brings to the table.”
– Devaney Devoe, Product Marketing Manager, Liongard
Power Your Marketing Plan with Liongard Data
MSP marketing starts with understanding your customers and their needs. Liongard helps you gather insights about your clients you can use to demonstrate your value and differentiate yourself from competitors at every stage of the buyer journey. A personalized customer experience, from prospect to onboarding and beyond, is crucial to developing a partnership with your customers that enables you to go from vendor to strategic partner.
Discover how Liongard can support your MSP marketing strategy. Schedule a demo today for a custom walk-through of our platform.