MSP Marketing Series: Channel Marketing 101

Managed and other IT services providers who want to differentiate themselves from an increasingly crowded field need to find new ways to engage and entice prospective buyers.

For MSPs looking to up their marketing game, Liongard is here to help. We’ve got an amazing team of marketing experts in-house with decades of experience they love sharing with MSPs to help them grow. We’ve put together a special 8-part Marketing Series to help you navigate MSP marketing from soup to nuts. Today’s focus will be channel and distribution marketing with Liongard Senior Marketing Manager, Sara Manuel.

In the MSP space, what is channel, or distribution, marketing?

MSPs looking to grow their business beyond, maybe, their traditional marketing and sales efforts, will reach out to their channel or distribution partners. There’s only so many leads that direct marketing will produce, so how do you get to a broader audience? Find someone else with a bigger audience and become their partner so you can talk to their customers—and that’s essentially the goal behind channel marketing for MSPs.

Why is channel marketing so effective for MSPs?

It’s so effective because we’re living in a digital world and that’s more important than ever now that we’re heading into a post-Covid business world. We all know that Covid massively accelerated the move to the cloud and the use of online communications tools, and a lot of businesses are now struggling to manage all of these new applications. This is especially relevant in the MSP space because, to stay competitive and be agile, you have to partner with your distributors in order to build a solution package that meets the needs of today’s businesses. Today’s businesses have been forced to do digital transformation, but how do they support that? They need an MSP. And how do they find an MSP? Through a distributor. So, by marketing through a channel or distribution partner, an MSP has a chance to reach these businesses and position their MSP has having the right tools, and the right solution, to help meet their goals.

For instance, if your MSP has a specialty serving dental offices, you’re able to market specifically to that audience through a distributor, to really differentiate yourself from your competitors, and provide solutions that speak to them and help you attract those quality, high-value customers. Really, your channel is a strategic partnership that helps you get in front of more of the right customers to close more deals.

How can MSPs get started with channel marketing?

The best way to get started is identify your customer and then reach out to those distribution partners who work in those spaces to build a solution and use it to market to those new audiences. Create marketing materials that feature the names of your channel partner—this will give your MSP some extra credibility when you’re talking to people unfamiliar with your business. Also, be sure to keep up with the latest solution stack to make sure your solutions stay relevant to your target audience.

How do MSPs form those channel or distributor relationships?

You have to do some work to get in the channel partner game, and that means reaching out to those distributors that you think will add value to your offering. They are your subject matter experts, and they can work with you to build out a solution stack that helps you run your business and attract new customers.

Any last advice on channel marketing?

Don’t be afraid of it! I would view a distribution partner as an ally. They are there to help you be successful, whether you’re just starting out or are established and want to launch new services. It is very helpful to have a partner you can rely on to give you the toolset, resources and education you need for your business—and your end customers—to be successful. Really lean into them for support for that initial help, and then leverage their powerful platform and brand to market yourself to their audience.

Turn distributors into partners

If you’re an MSP that doesn’t have a lot of marketing budget (or one at all!) then you should definitely lean into channel marketing and leverage their resources and experience as you build out a customer marketing program. Learn how Liongard can become a powerful part of your solution set with automated discovery, Actionable Alerts and customizable reporting. Schedule your demo today.

Liongard, MSPs

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