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How to Become a Successful Managed Service Provider

Today, the lines between agencies, consultants, outsourcers and staffing firms have completely blurred.  In particular, the nomenclature for the marketing service industry has failed to evolve and it’s increasingly difficult to put a name on the important expertise-based relationships that many brands have come to rely upon.  At TopRight, we tend to think of ourselves as “managing marketing services” and “building marketing capabilities” on behalf of and in service of our client’s growth agenda.  A marketing managed service provider (MSP) delivers services to a wide range of brands across many different industries. In effect, an MSP becomes an extension of the client’s marketing team and takes accountability for certain activities and deliverables that are on the critical path for the brand’s success.

When you are deep in this type of high impact delivery with existing clients, filling the pipeline of prospective clients can quickly become an afterthought.  However, at some point, the pipeline runs dry and you find yourself racing to find new clients.  There is also the ongoing challenge of retaining your existing clients to sustain your growth.  For an MSP, this endless “sell-deliver-sell” flywheel is a obstacle that must be overcome to assure business continuity.

The art of acquiring, developing and retaining clients requires clear strategies, like customizing your services to fit your client’s needs. However, before you focus too much on the delivery side of your business, it’s essential that you first learn to extend your brand story to make sure you have clients to begin with.  Whether you’re a newly-established business or already a seasoned one, it won’t hurt to learn new strategies and tactics to keep the company moving forward, up and to the “top right” in the markets where you compete.  Here are a few tips and tricks for your firm to acquire, develop and retain clients moving forward:

Revisit Your Lead Generation Tactics

Lead generation is how you attract potential clients by initiating their interest in your services or products. That said, it plays an essential role in acquiring new clients for your MSP business. You may think that you already know enough about lead generation for managed service providers, but it’s also worth noting that times change, and so are the different tactics to make it more effective.

It’s best to know the latest trends in generating leads so you can try them and see what works for your firm. One strategy you can try is to utilize social media, content creation, and email marketing. Keep in mind that to get more leads, it’s crucial that you know first where they are. Since most clients are found online, it’s recommended to focus a big chunk of your lead generation efforts on digital channels and platforms so you can engage better with online audiences.

Moreover, it’s not enough to know where the leads are situated in the Customer BuyWay. You should also follow up with a strategy to nurture their interest and ensure you don’t lose their curiosity. You have to know the right way to buildup that curiosity so it eventually turns into new contracts and more revenues.

Ask for Client Feedback Consistently

Acquiring new MSP clients doesn’t mean you should stop your marketing and client engagement efforts. Keeping clients happy should be your next goal to boost retention and loyalty. One way to do so is to ask for feedback through surveying. This strategy can efficiently help you get the information you need from your existing clients. What’s more, they’ll feel valued knowing you’re not ignoring their views and opinions as clients. It’s ideal to survey clients at least annually so you can identify the need for improvement in terms of how you offer and provide your services. You can also immediately spot any red flags that might drive your MSP clients away.

Automate But Don’t Overdo It

Automation may be convenient and less expensive in some ways, but don’t forget that clients still prefer personalized communication. Remote assistance and services may be inevitable in a digital marketplace, but it doesn’t mean you won’t exert effort to increase face-to-face engagement with your audience. Remember that strong relationships are often rooted in human experiences and physical interactions.

For example, if you’ve already automated your email marketing tactics, you can try to give other strategies a more humanized approach. Handling your social media channels is one technique you can consider to get more actual conversations with your potential and existing clients. Listen to what they say and always take the time to reply to their queries and concerns, no matter how simple they may be.

Utilize Online And Offline Platforms

It’s easy to get excited about online marketing strategies, especially when most clients have switched to smartphones and other gadgets. However, this doesn’t mean you won’t exert any effort utilizing offline platforms to acquire and retain MSP clients. An optimized website is a good start, but you can always back it up with conventional advertising methods, such as posting ads on local newspapers and catalogs. This method can help target localized leads and engage your current pool of MSP clients.

The Takeaway

Some MSPs tend to focus on acquiring new clients. Others are more invested in keeping their current clients happy that they’re already forgetting the essence of attracting new ones. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on just one technique and neglecting the other. Remember that acquisition and retention are equally critical to keep your MSP business running and growing. It’s possible to acquire and retain clients at the same time. To start, revisit your lead generation tactics. Take the time to get feedback from clients. Know the limit when it comes to automation, and don’t forget to equip your digital efforts with conventional advertising methods to target a localized audience.

If you want to go deep on transforming your marketing to win more clients and retain more of the ones you have, subscribe to the TopRight blog! Or connect with me on Twitter and on LinkedIn. You can learn more about how to bring simplicity, clarity, and alignment to your brand’s story, strategy, and systems in our best selling book: Marketing, Interrupted.

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