How MSPs can Strategically Engage Buyers and Prospects

The market for managed technology services has never been hotter. By way of illustration, search volume for “IT services” has nearly doubled in the last five years, mirroring the growth in market size forecast by analysts like Grandview.

But as buyer interest in MSP services has increased, so has your competition. New players are entering the market all the time, and established players are acquiring smaller ones right-and-left.

How can your business stand out from competitors and take an outsize share of this growing market? Here are five ways to better engage your prospects.

Identify Your Customers’ Most Important Buying Criteria

The best way to sell new customers on your offerings is to ask your current customers why they chose you. What particular offerings caught their attention first – or got you in the door for your first meeting or demo? What questions did they ask as they went through the sales (and onboarding) process with you? If they were deciding between you and a competitor, what tipped the scales in your favor?

Once you’ve figured out what drives the purchase decisions of your current customers, you can properly position your offerings to future customers.

Differentiate Your Offering

Dozens or hundreds of competitors likely offer similar products and service bundles to yours, if not the exact same offering. While there are certain components of your offering that are necessarily going to be identical (such as a particular productivity suite, disaster recovery solution, etc.) those components aren’t likely to have driven your customers’ decisions to choose you in a vacuum.

What do you do that’s unique, versus your competitors.

  1. Do you offer 100% custom bundles based on client need, size, and sophistication?
  2. Do you offer extended hours support that smaller or less diligent competitors do not?
  3. Do you offer 1:1 or small group training for new customer team members as they come on board?
  4. Are you specialized in a particular vertical or industry, with deep expertise that a horizontal competitor might not have?
  5. Is your pricing model unique in some way that makes you a more economical fit or one that scales better for a certain type of customer?

These are just some of the criteria on which you might differentiate yourself. Once you’ve aligned those differentiators with your customers’ buying criteria, you’re in great shape. The next step is to consistently message those differentiators to buyers to your prospective customers in every piece of sales and marketing collateral you engage them with.

Speak TO Your Buyers, Not AT Them

In an age of relentless marketing and advertising (thanks, Facebook and email spammers), people are overwhelmed by sales messages on a daily basis.

Which makes it even more important to put yourself in the shoes of your potential buyers and think about what it’s like to be them. What are they interested in? What do you know about their typical day-to-day struggles – even if they’re not directly related to software or technology services? Continuing to drive prospects to demos or case studies will ultimately turn your prospects off, unless those assets relate to a problem they’re personally trying to solve.

Speak TO Your Buyers, Not AT Them

Only 3% of technology decision makers are truly ready to make a decision at any given point in time. So, what do you do with a prospect who’s in the much larger 97%?

This is where a strong buyer’s journey can come into play.

Think about the materials you use to nurture prospects into the buying phase. What story are you telling with those materials?

Place the prospect in the role of the hero of your story:

  1. Come up with a timeline on how you can guide them through overcoming obstacles
  2. The relatable high point of their success, and eventually,
  3. Helping them defeat their need

If there’s one simple idea to keep at the top of your mind as you’re pitching a new prospect, it’s this: identify the customer or customers in your current portfolio who are most similar to the prospect your pitching. Think back to the conversations and materials that moved them along the buyer journey. Re-use the features of those conversations and materials that resonated particularly well, adapting them to the differences between your target prospect and that existing customer.

The result of this process will be a self-fulfilling flywheel of sorts—more conversations with more similar prospects will give you a wider base of experiences on which to draw to make your positioning and execution of your next buyer’s journey even more resonant.