Webinar: What Should Vendors Know About Marketing to MSPs?

Vendors wishing to utilize MSPs to market their products or services at scale need to understand the distinct set of challenges they’ll be facing. Join Devin for 5 practical tips you can apply to your channel marketing programs.

Webinar Transcription

Devin: Okay, well, let’s get started today. So, thanks so much for joining me for the presentation I have for you today called “What should Vendors know about Marketing to MSPs?”. And I must say I had quite a lot of fun putting this presentation together. One of my favorite things about marketing is shaming other marketers who are doing bad marketing. So, we’re going to do a little bit of that today and this discusses what some frequent missteps that vendors take. And I want to bring them to your attention so that you can avoid them if you’re doing your own marketing and sales to MSPs.

eBridge Marketing Solutions

Devin: So, before we really get into the presentation today, I just wanted to give you a little bit of an overview of myself and of my employer, eBridge Marketing Solutions. So, my name is Devin Rose. I’m the VP of Digital Marketing for eBridge. We’re a boutique marketing agency. We specialize in working with IT service providers like MSPs and vendors and other IT service firms. We’re located in beautiful Vancouver, Canada, established in 2001. So, we’ve been doing this over 20 years, and we offer a full range of marketing services. You may also be familiar with our sister company, our sister brand, rather than The Host Broker, which is operated by my boss, Hartland Ross, and he does M&A with The Host Broker to a similar group of companies, MSPs and web hosting companies and vendors.

How vendors see MSPs

Devin: So, with that, the way let’s discuss the topic for today. So, on the screen here, I have a screenshot of a Tupperware party. And this is really how I think, that vendors tend to see, MSP. So, in this analogy, the host of the Tupperware party is the MSP and all the ladies on the left of her who are, looking fine in their pastel colors, are the clients of the MSP. And I want to show this slide because, I do think sometimes vendors view marketing to MSPs as a little bit of an oversimplified process but like, it’s just a matter of finding these Tupperware party hosts, sending them a couple of brochures, offering them a contract and then you’re going to have Tupperware parties for your products and services. It’s not that easy. It’s very easy to conceptualize how channel marketing, and marketing through MSPs allows you to achieve a greater reach.  Rather than just selling to one individual end-user, you sell to the Tupperware host so she can then sell on to her network. It’s very much the same as MSPs, and vendors that sort of relationship. But the thing I wanted to highlight on this slide is that it is not as simple as a Tupperware party. MSPs are a complicated group to market to.

So, let’s start getting into the different tips I wanted to leave you with today. And there are five main tips I want to leave you with today.

Avoid high pressure techniques

Devin: The first is when you’re doing marketing or sales to MSPs, you must avoid high-pressure sales, tactics, and marketing tactics. I once heard that MSPs are allergic to marketing. I think that is quite a wise way to look at it and they are particularly allergic to high-pressure techniques. So, when it comes to reaching out to MSPs, here’s some do’s and don’ts. 

  • Don’t…
    • Do a full court press via multiple channels.
    • Expect a quick sale.
    • Sell in online communities.
    • Give the MSP a reason to gossip about you.
  • Do…
    • Take a nurturing approach.
    • Answer questions quickly and thoroughly.
    • Participate in online communities.
    • Give the MSP a reason to gossip about you.

On the don’t side of the aisle there, I don’t do a full court press with multiple channels. So, you know, don’t be reaching out, with every variety of, that you can.  Don’t be calling every day and emailing every day and messaging on different online portals. Keep it more reasonable. You don’t want me to do in a full court press.  Don’t also expect a quick sale. We’ll touch on this a little bit further in the presentation, but MSPs have a longer sales cycle. It’s a more complicated sales cycle. And if you’re pressuring them to try to turn over a quick sale, it’s going to backfire for you. They don’t like that sort of pressure. Don’t sell in online communities. So obviously, some sales is needed and when you’re doing online advertising in online communities, but if you’re participating in online communities, the focus shouldn’t be on selling, it needs to be on adding value. If you are focused on selling in online communities, you’re just going to get ignored by MSPs. They are inundated with messaging from vendors all the time. It’s the last thing they want to see when they’re interacting with their peers in these online communities as well. And also, don’t give the MSP a reason to gossip about you. This is something that I’ve learned about MSPs and caught on to is they gossip a lot amongst each other. It’s a very tight-knit community MSPs. And if you, rub one the wrong way, you can almost be guaranteed that other MSPs are going to find out about it. So, you don’t want to be on the wrong side of that. Then on the, in terms of Dos, you know, do take a nurturing approach. So, this was reflective of a longer sales cycle, you know, for longer sales cycle, you want to take a nurturing approach, and also not be as high-pressure jury and that while you’re nurturing and while you’re doing things like sending emails, nurturing emails, and, you want to be focusing on adding value, explaining the product, and the benefits of it, the technical specifications, you can drip all that out through a nurturing campaign, and it will ultimately achieve better results for you than if you were to try to go for that sort of a full-court press. Another thing is answering questions quickly and thoroughly. So, you know, I think vendors tend to expect the quick sale, but then they don’t actually that quick about answering questions. MSPs being technical people generally, they want communication where if they ask a specific question that the specific question has is answered, not in generalities or, not kind of in an indirect manner, but pay attention to the exact question and answer thoroughly.  Do participate in online communities. So, this goes back to just not selling, to answer answering questions, and trying to add value to online discussions. That’s how you do networking with MSPs online. If you add value to them and solve their problems, they will reach out to you asking for your help. You don’t need to be too forthright with it by adding value, they will reach out to you. And then just Do give MSPs a reason to gossip about you. You know, conversely with the don’t call them, if you give MSPs a good customer experience, they’re also going to tell other the other MSPs about it. And you know, that’s how you start getting good brand awareness and a good reputation in the community is by taking advantage of the MSPs, tendency to gossip amongst each other.

How to participate in online communities

Devin: So, how do you actually participate in online communities where MSPs are.  There’s the biggest one and the one I have a screenshot of, on the slide here is, the MSP subreddit on Reddit. This has been a great source of market research and lead generation for us at eBridge. We participate in this subreddit and chime in, on marketing-related questions. And what I really wanted to focus in on was if you look at under the about community, there’s 117,000 members of this community. I mean, that is huge. That is a massive community of MSPs and from a vendor’s perspective, it really presents a great opportunity for market research. You know, like when do you actually get to like, listen in, on conversations that MSPs are having about your type of product or service, or maybe even your brand, that sort of like candid market research is really hard to come by and in a lot of places. So, if you’re selling to MSPs, you should feel thankful that there is this subreddit you can go to, which is just a great resource to try to not only understand what people are saying about your products and services but just to get a better understanding about who MSPs are, who are these owners, who are the managers, you know, the decision makers that you’re going to be interacting with. You can start to paint a pretty good picture by listening in, on the conversations on the subreddit there. And in addition to the MSP subreddit, there are also MSP communities on slack. I’m in IT pool party, there are some others, there are MSP communities on discord as well. And there’s some of these are actually linked to from the sidebar on the MSP subreddit. So, if I was, my advice to a vendor would be started off on the MSP subreddit, take a look at some of the sidebar, check out some of those communities. And when you’re starting out tread lightly, you know, answer questions when you can to add value, but just kind of observed don’t get in there too much. And, in the screenshot at the top there it’s, at the bottom of the screenshot, it says, weekly promo and webinars thread, that’s the safe space within that sub-Reddit community to go and, promote your stuff. Rather than making a sales-oriented posts, which is not going to be well-received, you’re more than welcome to go into that, a weekly promo and webinars thread. And it’s a, there’s a little bit more leniency in terms of expectations around being salesy. And also added the, IFTTT logo at the bottom there, it’s a little hard to see in the black ink, but why I wanted to mention that, is IFTTTT lets you set up, kind of automated loops. So, in this instance, what we do at eBridge is we use it. So, whenever somebody search, sorry, whenever somebody types anything to do with marketing or sales or various other keywords and our branded keywords, on this, MSP subreddit, we’ve used, a loop from IFTTT, to automatically post that in our slack channel, our internal slack channel. So, that way we get notified and it’s easy to keep track of marketing discussions on the subreddit and you know, easier to respond to them as well. So, I would suggest that for vendors as well, use IFTTT, you can monitor keywords to do with your product and services and also your branded keywords to see when people are talking about you, on the subreddit.

Never misrepresent yourself

Devin: So, you know, whether you’re in these online communities or, you know, in face-to-face interactions, another thing that you never want to do with MSPs is you never want to misrepresent yourself. You’re not Superman, you’re Clark Kent, stick with your Clark Kent vibes, and that’s gonna suit you better than if you are trying to be so on your not.

  • Don’t…
    • Operate shill accounts.
    • Create fake reviews.
    • Buy fans or followers.
    • Lie.
  • Do…
    • Use your real name online.
    • Have video testimonials from other MSPs.
    • Acknowledge if you’re not technically-inclined.
    • Set clear expectations for deliverables and timelines.

So specifically, you know, don’t operate shill accounts, you know, shill account is when you are pretending to be either a customer, or lead, or really anyone, who isn’t within the, your internal company. So, it’s an employee from a company pretending to be somebody else.  MSPs when it comes to sniffing out these shill accounts, they’re like, pigs and truffles. I mean, they just get on it. It is unbelievable. If you shill, you’re going to get caught, it’s MSPs are just unbelievable picking us up. So, don’t bother with that. It’s not gonna do you any favors also don’t create fake reviews. Those are so transparent these days. And again, people can just, you know, it’s easy to tell when there’s fake reviews, because they all have some sort of commonality, whether it’s the date they were added is clustered to, maybe a couple of days or the positive words that are used in the review are similar reviewed to review. Like, these things are so easy to find, you want fake, or you don’t, you want to have testimonials and you want to have reviews and things like that for social proof, but if you fake it, it’s just going to backfire.  Similarly, if you’re buying fans or followers on your social media channels, you know, I had, I was talking to one MSP who is paying to get additional views on their YouTube account. And, you know, it just doesn’t really have any benefit. Like, if you have a managed service provider video that has like a hundred thousand views on YouTube, it looks suspicious because no other views in this community get that many views. It’s very uncommon and just generally just don’t lie. I would sum it all up the saying, don’t lie, just be forthright. And then in terms of the DOs, use your real name online. You’ll see, in some of the screenshots I have from the MSP subreddit today that, I go by my real name on there. I even sign off on post using my, my real last name because I want to, you know, I want to represent who I actually am, even in online communities. I don’t want to hide behind a username. And I also want people to be able to look me up on things like LinkedIn and see, oh, this is a real person. Another do is to have video testimonials from other MSPs. This would be really great social proof. you know, for them to describe the type of relationship that they’ve developed with you as a vendor, and kind of, you know, how that’s felt and the results that have come from it, all that can be communicated quite credibly through video testimonials, more so than a lot of other methods. Another do, and this is a big one, acknowledge if you’re not technically inclined, if you’re selling and doing marketing to people who are technically inclined, there’s no point in trying to pretend like you’re something you’re not, and this is what I’ve heard from MSPs myself has complaints about, you know, salespeople who are kind of, over-represent how, you know, how technically inclined they are to try to be like more smooth and act like they’re more of a, you know, a source of, of knowledge, I suppose. I’ve experienced this myself too, where like we’ve done email marketing campaigns and, you know, helping MSPs with those. And there’s some setup required some technical setup. And I mean, I don’t understand how email works. The MSP understands it better than I do. So even though I’m the one who’s supposed to be, you know, telling you instructions about how to set up your email, I’ll usually just make a joke about it and call myself a ludite or something like that. And, you know, just acknowledged that, you know, technical ability is not my strong suit and, you know, MSP has never have a problem with that.  So, that’s what I would recommend the vendors do too. It’s okay. If you don’t know the answer, it’s okay. If you have to go ask a more technical member on your team, just tell the MSP, you’ll get back to them with the answer and try to transcribe the MSP’s question as by as verbatim as you can. So, you’re not getting anything lost in translation. And then another do is just set clear expectations for deliverables and timelines. Like don’t misrepresent how quickly you can get things done. It’s important to remember the MSPs are really busy people. They could be, you know, you could be out on a job, you know, at a client site, you could be in the office, you know, they could be doing sales and marketing themselves. There’s just a lot going on. So, you know, recognizing that you want to be reliable and make it easy for them in terms of, you know, having consistent deliverables and timelines for them.

How to misrepresent yourself

Devin: So, let’s take a look at an example of how to misrepresent yourself and how this went for this particular company. this is an example from literally two days ago, or maybe three days ago, three days ago. I saw it and I thought it would be quite timely to include in today’s presentation. So, I don’t know how easy that is to read on the screen for you there. So I’ll just quickly read it. It says, to post from a guy named Alexthenutman, and he says, looking for referral for SharpSpring, we are looking into using SharpSpring for sales and marketing and, and wanting to hear from, from some MSPs who, who possess used it and what their experiences were with it. So share with our CEO, thank you in advance. It’s hard to read that as the English isn’t very good. Some grammatical mistakes there, but that’s not uncommon for, from Reddit and the sort of our posts wouldn’t be uncommon on the MSP subreddit. but then looked at the top of the, the comment there from, at the bottom, it says, looks familiar and it links to another, Reddit link and it says, must be a rough sales month for you. Okay. So let’s click through to this other link and sure enough, it says, it’s a post from a year ago, identical title from a different guy. The new guy, the old guy was called a tinydots 16. The new one is Alexthenutman, and let’s read it. We are looking into using the SharpSpring for sales and marketing are wanting to hear from some, from some MSPs have used it and what their experiences were with it, so share with her a CEO thank you in advance. So it’s the same grammatical mistakes, the almost the exact same post a year apart, and from different accounts. So this is so obviously a show first from SharpSpring going in and trying to do some SEO, or just trying to get some, you know, some discussion going about SharpSpring. And what I thought was so funny, I was laughing so hard because you can see thenutman posted it. And then within half an hour, that guy figured out that it was, identical to a thread from a year prior. This is how good MSPs are at, fishing out the shills. Like I could not believe how quickly this guy got exposed for being a shill. And it was from a year ago, it’s like remarkable memory to know that, you know, and you know, so, and I would also just say that I almost feel a little bit bad for sharpspring here. I’ve had conversations with SharpSpring, they’re a marketing automation tool, and they compete with HubSpot and I actually have had good discussions with them. And from my perspective, although I haven’t used their product, it does seem like a good product. So I don’t want to like, you know, say too many bad things about sharpspring, but, this is definitely not a good look for them. and if they want to make good inroads into the MSP community, this is the way to do it. So, I wanted to share that example with, with you guys today.

Respect MSPs’ client relationships

Devin: So, the second tip I want to emphasize, for vendors is, to respect MSPs client relationships. You should know your role in a channel marketing and rage arrangement, your role is to interact with the MSP. And when it comes to the MSPs clients, you should shut your mouth. So that’s why I have the rock. There’s no your role and to your mouth, respect to MSPs clients relationships.

  • Don’t…
    • Sell to your channel partner’s clients directly.
  • Do…
    • Provide sales collateral to help your channel partners
    • Provide Co-o & MDF funds.
    • Participate in your channel partner’s webinars and other promotions.

So, you know, in terms of don’ts, I underline this wine and I, it’s amazing, I even need to say this, but like, don’t sell to your channel partners, clients directly. That’s the entire point that they’re doing business with you is, you know, it’s to sell your services to their clients. And if you go around that sacred relationship, I mean, it’s just the best way to get them to gossip about you. It is the Cardinal sin with MSPs to go around the MSP and to not respect that relationship they have with their client. I didn’t even bother putting in any other points under don’t, just because that one is the point a bullet. So under DO you know, do you provide sales collateral to help your channel partners?  So, you know, like you have to remember that MSPs are, received so much in the way of sales and marketing pressure. Like all the time from a whole bunch of different vendors, they kind of have the pick the litter in some respects. So, you know, help them sell your products and services, make it easy for them, and stand out from the crowd a little bit by providing good sales collateral, whether it’s white papers or case studies, checklists, whatever it is that pertains to your particular product or service, maybe technical setup information, you know, provide all that to your channel partners to make it easy for them. And, you know, not with that way respects the clients, the client slash MSP relationship as well. You’re helping the MSP to garner that relationship with their client. You’re not reaching out to the end user it’s, directly. Also provide co-op and MDF funds a lot of mark or sorry, a lot of MSPs don’t have large marketing budgets. So, you know, if you are really interested in making a bit of a buzz and getting seen by, by the MSPs end users, then, you know, offering them some funding for marketing programs, is a good way to do that. And, certainly appreciated from the MSPs I’ve talked to. I guess one note on that is sometimes the, the funds that are offered to MSPs come with a lot of restrictions and understandably so as a vendor, you don’t want to be just giving out money willy-nilly, but the extent to which there’s restrictions on them also makes it harder for the, for the MSP to capitalize on it. So a little bit of a balancing act there to be aware of, and also participating in your channel partners, webinars, and other promotions. I mean, co-branded webinars again, it’s a great way, to respect the relationship that the MSP has with their clients, because you’re working with them and you’re, you know, you’re doing marketing with them to their client. but because you’re doing it in conjunction with them, you have a, you know, you maintain that sacred relationship and you’re not, and you’re not bypassing it to market directly.

How not to respect MSP’s client relationships

Devin: So how not to respect MSP’s client’s relationships. So, this is another thread from MSP subreddit. And, this is among the most discussed and most upvoted of the threads ever in that subreddit it’s right up there with like the big ransomware attacks and stuff like that. And this is, to do with Microsoft who told an MSP that they are reaching out to the MSPs end users directly to sell cloud services. And I won’t read the whole thing, but the gist is that they reached out directly, but just look how much attention this got it, got, three awards on Reddit, which is a good indication of how much, you know, people care about it. 339 upvotes, which is a lot and 255 comments. You know, Microsoft obviously is a big company. They will, you know, weather the storm. Okay. But for other vendors, maybe if you’re trying to make inroads, this would be the end of your MSP, you know, campaigns, like you wouldn’t be able to do channel marketing. If you started off of like, on a foot like this, this could be the death of the entire tactics. So, yeah, you don’t want to be gossiped about gossip about to this extent online, it’s just a really bad look and, and you know, it, it will happen, no doubt about it.

Use proper channels to reach out

  • Don’t…
    • File a support ticket
    • Call their personal cell number
    • Contact on personal social media
  • Do…
    • Email
    • Call their office number
    • Reach out via LinkedIn
    • Generally, respect how MSPs tell you they want to be contacted (and how often)

Devin: So, the next tip here is to use proper channels to reach out. And we touched on this a little bit already in terms of the avoiding the full court press, but to get into it into a little bit more detail.  The don’t is you don’t want to file a support ticket. I can’t believe I have to say this one as well. but, you know, support tickets for MSPs relate to their day-to-day operations. And if, if you’re falling support ticket to try to reach them for sales and marketing purposes, the MSP is going to view that as you obstructing their business and you’re supposed to be helping them with their business, and you’re going to be instead obstructing it never file a support ticket. Also, don’t call their personal cell phone number. I don’t know why you would do that, you know, it’s just way too intrusive, it’s inappropriate for not only for MSPs, but businesses in general, and similarly don’t contact on personal social media, just inappropriate in terms of do you know, email is probably the preferred method of communication for most MSPs still. Email is not great, always when you’re trying to do sales, cause you never really know, you know, when people are going to follow up and, you know, maybe you get lost in the shuffle with the other, emails in the person’s inbox, but you have to take a, a consumer or customer oriented perspective on this. You can’t take a myopic perspective, which is, you know, the myopic perspective is email isn’t great. The customer perspective is I want to be contacted by an email, so that’s what you should do. And yes, there are some challenges to do with that, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. And yeah, rather than calling their personal cell number, call their office number, you know, this is what they expect. don’t call it all the time, but you know, that’s the appropriate avenue to reach out to them.  But you know, yeah, if you’re gonna follow up by phone, call their office number. Reaching out on LinkedIn, you know, that’s still appropriate. Yeah. Contrast with the, you know, reaching out by personal social media. You’re, you’re much better off to reach out on LinkedIn than you are on anything else, like Instagram or Facebook or anything. So, yeah, that’s, that’s an appropriate way to follow up as well, but just generally respect how MSPs tell you they want to be contacted and how often, and, and generally speaking, you know, there’s probably gonna be a, it’s probably going to be mostly email and how often it’s probably going to be like, you know, don’t follow up with me more than once every three or four days or something like that. So, you know, taking that soft approach is what a MSPs really want.

How not to se proper channels to reach out

Devin: Now let’s take a look at an example of how not to use proper channels to reach out. So this is another thread from Reddit. And this one is a couple of months old and it’s about line guard. So I’ll just quickly read this here. It’s kind of funny. It’s the title is be aware LionGard and their aggressive sales team at some point online, I think it was during a scout event, LionGard got my contact info. On June 14th, Tector from LionGard called me on both. both my numbers emailed me, try to add me on LinkedIn and messaged me on LinkedIn. I immediately told him I was now completely uninterested in whatever line guard was selling to remove me from their marketing list and do not call me again. On July 7th, Luke from lion guard tried calling and emailing me.  I forwarded my response to Hector reiterated my desire to never be contacted again and told them that future marketing messages would be forwarded to the FTC for violation of canned spam. Today, I received a LinkedIn invite from Luke with another sales message enabled, be aware of letting LionGard get your information. I’d rather have my details with the Microsoft support line that calls my grandma at this point. So again, this is a relatively a bloated, like this was a popular thread. It was probably the most popular one on the day. It was posted in the subreddit, and just presents line guard in the worst light. So, you know, you know, don’t do the full court press like Hector and Luke did here, or else you’re going to get gossiped about pretty simple.

Understand MSPs have high switching costs

  • Don’t…
    • Expect MSPs to move quickly
    • Overstate ease of migration or adoption.
    • Procastinate to a phone call.
  • Do…
    • Anticipate a longer sales cycle and nurture leads.
    • Address concerns about products/services replacing employees
    • Make good information easy to obtain

Devin: All right. So, the next thing to understand about MSPs is to understand MSPs have a high switching cost, and I’m not talking just about the literal switches that, you know, they, they might’ve operated more in the past in terms of, you know, having servers and stuff on premise. I did like that photo in the background there of all those switches, but, you know, I’m not only talking about that, but I’m talking about, the other, switching costs to do with the processes for actually running their business. and I don’t think vendors always have an appreciation for that. So don’t ex expect MSPs to move quickly. you know, in my own experience, selling marketing to MSPs, like the sales cycle can be anywhere from about a, all the way up to like maybe six to eight months. Like it is quite a long sales cycle. It takes MSP is quite a long time to make, to make the decision to move, or to adopt new service providers. Also, don’t overstate, ease of migration or adoption. you know, it seems like ease of migration is almost like a buzzword for, for a lot of vendors, you know, but the reality is that, it, no MSPs, it’s not easy for them to migrate to new products and services. It requires them developing new processes, formalizing those processes into like, you know, procedural documents, training new employees, and really like changing the way the business operates. you know, it’s not just at like a high, high level it’s it’s right at like the kind of the fundamental day-to-day of the business changes when they, when they adopt new products or services. So, yeah, don’t overstate that reality is that the migration or adoption of your products and services is going to be more complicated for the MSP than you probably imagine.  Another don’t is to procrastinate to a phone call. So, what I mean by this is if, if an MSP asks you a question, try to answer the question, by reciprocating, by email don’t, don’t say to them, or her say like, no, I’ll get back to you. or can we have a phone call next week? And we can, we can discuss this. Like, don’t try to procrastinate it to like a later phone call because that just gets interpreted as kind of a sleazy sales tactic. and that’s one that, I know the MSPs are really don’t like. In terms of the DOs, you know, do anticipate a longer sales cycle and nurture those leads. because of all the switching costs, we, you know, we’ve talked about, you know, it’s, it is important to anticipate a longer sales cycle and with a longer sales cycle, you want to be nurturing those nurturing leads or else you’re gonna lose leads. Do address concerns about, products and services replacing employees. So, you know, a stereotypical example of this would be with the adoption of cloud services. It renders some roles within an MSP obsolete to a degree, you know, you don’t have to have people monitoring, and maintaining servers and fixing, the actual racks and things like that. So, you know, adopting cloud kind of made that role within the MSP a little bit redundant.  Addressing those concerns is gonna do you well, because some of the people who might be made redundant might be involved in the decision-making process as well, in terms of purchasing. So, you know, by addressing those concerns and focusing on things like how you can retrain or, how people with the existing skillset could learn your product or service, helps to ease those concerns. And also just making good information, easy to obtain. We talked a little bit about providing good sales collateral, and that ties in here as well, but also having a website that’s logically laid out, you know, one thing in particular, the MSPs don’t like is when pricing information is hard to find. So, you know, even if the pricing information, it know, even if it’s slightly negotiable, even if you have a different rates for larger enterprise and stuff like that, you still want to try to get your basic pricing on the website. So the MSPs can get like a basic idea and also for technical details in terms of like, you know, going back to the switching costs and, the difficulty of migration, having technical documents about how the migration is going to occur, or, how to the setup and the maintenance for your products or services, having all that easily available on your website and with the sales collateral is going to be, it’s going to help you in terms of getting MSPs to switch quicker.

What to expect from MSPs considering switching

Devin: And so what can you expect from MSPs who are considering switching? I noticed this was a thread it’s from a few years ago, but it suited my purpose, so I had to include it. So, it’s a question from a vendor on the subreddit, and it says, how do you hire new vendors? Hi, there I work as a vendor and I’m struggling a bit to get more MSP slash MSSP integrate our solution, what’s your typical hiring process. Thanks. so a little bit of a typo there, but, you know, I think we get to the gist and there was one answer here that I thought was quite thorough and illustrates the complexity of the sales cycle, and how, you know, the switching cost is higher for MSPs and a lot of other businesses. So the top response to this thread was, it was a seven step process for that, how this MSP brings a board new vendors.

Step one is determine a need, step two, a preliminary technical review, narrowing down to three candidates, step three, to demo the top two and validate they fulfill the need from step one, step four, review costs, step five, review how to integrate it and if proper profitability covers the work it takes to sell and reconcile the sales. Step six, review if we can sell it for a profit what’s costs and integration expenses goes to switching costs, integration expenses, number seven, sell it, or don’t sell it based on six. So, you know, I hope this illustrates like, look how many times she says the word review, step four, step five, step six. we also do an, a demo we’re doing the step two has review in it. There is a lot of consideration on behalf of the MSP before he gets to that step seven. So, if you’re trying to fast forward those steps, I mean, these are very delineated, delineated, steps. You know, these are sequential things that have to be followed, and if you’re trying to fast forward, between, you know, number one and to number seven, it’s just not going to work that the MSP has to go through it. And the extent that you can nurture them through this process is going to benefit you. and the other thing that I wanted to highlight here too, is number one is determined a need. I think a lot of times vendors think that they can kind of do this step and like almost induced need. it’s, it’s from marketing. It’s really hard to convince like an MSP that they have a need that they’re not cognizant of themselves. They kind of need to come to that conclusion themselves. Instead I think marketers can start focusing in more on the, on number two, there the preliminary technical review. And that goes back to having good information available on your website. That’s where the preliminary review is probably going to be because, you know, they’re probably not going to reach out to you at this point. They’re going to reach out to you in, in, once they’ve done the preliminary review and gone to a website and to determine that they, they like what they see and that you’re one of the top three candidates.

Conclusion

  • Avoid high pressure sales techniques.
  • Never misrepresent yourself.
  • Respect MSP’s client relationships.
  • Use proper channels to reach out.
  • Understand MSPs have high switching costs.

Devin: So that was really the last one I want to touch on today. So, I’ll leave you with these, five high-level tips to conclude. Number one is to avoid high-pressure sales techniques. Number two, never misrepresent yourself, especially in online communities. Number three, respect, MSPs – client relationships. I mean, that’s the big one, that’s the golden one. Number four would be, use proper channels to reach out. Number five is to understand MSPs have high switching costs way higher, than most businesses. So, you know, those are the five things I really wanted vendors to understand about, about marketing and doing sales towards, MSPs. And, yeah, I know. Thank you very much for joining today. I hope that, there was some good wisdom and tidbits in here for you. And if you have any questions, you can feel free to reach out to me. My contact information is on the slide there, both phone and email feel free to reach out. I’d be happy to discuss further, with you about how you could utilize MSPs as part of your channel marketing efforts and how to strategize so that you get off to the right start and get them, gossiping about you in, in the appropriate way. So, thanks so much for joining us today. And, and I look forward to speaking to you in the future.

About the Author:

As eBridge’s VP of Operations, Devin Rose brings marketing expertise and an entrepreneurial knack to the eBridge team. Devin holds a Bachelor of Commerce Degree from Royal Roads University and a Marketing Management Diploma from the British Columbia Institute of Technology.

Posted November 23, 2021
Categories: Advertising and Marketing General, Webinar
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