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Even as the world rebounds from disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, managed service providers (MSPs) are finding it’s more challenging than ever to ensure their existing clients’ businesses run smoothly while also courting potential new customers. There’s a growing need for MSPs to rethink their approach to customer acquisition in a bid to accelerate growth. One way of doing this is by leveraging new and effective marketing techniques.

There’s no denying that marketing plays a massive role in helping businesses scale quickly. In fact, it’s an even more significant part of your overarching strategy for referrals, customer services, and of course, sales.

If you’re ready to take a different approach to prospecting, here are some best practices for crafting an effective sales and marketing strategy that supports customer acquisition in these unprecedented times.
 

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Implement empathy marketing

Marketing messages need to align with what your customers are experiencing out there in the world. In the tech industry we sometimes fall short of this, with marketing messages that are more abstract and crafted with a robust technical standpoint.

An empathy deficit can cost brands over $300 million in lost revenue every year. So, the first thing you need to do is make your marketing more empathetic to customers’ problems while adapting to the new normal. Put yourself in your clients’ shoes to better understand their problems and create marketing messages that highlight how your solutions and services can solve those problems.

With growing uncertainty in the wake of the pandemic, people tend to take fewer risks when shifting to new technologies or changing their communication processes. Assess how your services and solutions can help your clients gain more control over their data or other business areas. Then, craft a marketing message that positions your technology as a method of obtaining that control.
 
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Focus on building trust

Technology is being scrutinized as a threat to security and data privacy. With growing distrust in technology, businesses are reluctant to hand over their critical data or sensitive information, both during and after the pandemic.

Trust is an important factor for successful customer acquisition in an already uncertain world. To build that trust, you need to leverage the mediums that your customers rely on the most.
 

Invest in social proof

Leverage the power of case studies, testimonials, and other praise from existing customers about your solutions and services. Research shows that 86% of prospective customers pay attention to reviews written over the last three months. Gathering reviews and testimonials should therefore be a regular part of your customer acquisition strategy.
 

Build your brand

Breathe personality into your company by talking about who you are. This can be a simple video that gives an office tour or introduces your team to increase your credibility.

You can also use the About Us on your website to introduce ideas and causes your company stands for. Make it easy for your customers and prospects to explore your values and ideals!
 

Position yourself as a trusted IT advisor

To gain customer trust, you need to display your relevant knowledge and expertise. This means notifying your clients about the latest trends in the managed services industry while offering timely answers and advice to their queries, among other activities.
 

Develop strong cybersecurity policies

Lack of cybersecurity policies not only puts your customers’ data at risk but damages your brand reputation as well. Prioritize cybersecurity concerns, design a security practice plan and communicate it to your customers to show you’re positioned to offer adequate protection.
 

Consider expanding your reach

With the increase in specialized services and remote capabilities of MSPs, you can now expand your reach to target customers outside your local geographic zone. Especially if you offer specific skills, you can target customers from other marketplaces and still cater to their needs. To do this, however, you need to devise an appropriate strategy.

Expanding means your business will be up against more competitors, so you need to clearly define your core competencies and what sets you apart from others.
 

Adapt to changing sales processes

In a traditional sales cycle, you identify a lead and nurture them through the sales cycle by highlighting your business’s unique selling points or by giving a demo of your products. Eventually, you offer an estimate and close the deal successfully.

Now, your prospective leads and customers no longer wait for you to identify and approach them. Instead, they reach out to you after researching your solutions and all possible options available to them.

Before getting in touch with you, prospects have already made their decision about hiring your services. As a result, it’s essential to invest in ways that enable them to find your business and get in touch with you. Instead of merely communicating what your business does and its years of experience, you need to craft a marketing message that resonates with your customer. Highlight how your solutions and services solve customers’ problems while allowing them to get the information they want, when they want it. This way, you’ll find prospects more open to your suggestions when you make them.

Making it effortless for prospects to flow through the buying cycle will help to accelerate sales efforts and enhance your new customer acquisition strategy. Recognize that marketing isn’t only for lead generation, but a tactic that assists the buyer’s journey and improves the sales cycle as well. This is how you’ll end up driving value for your client businesses—saving money, time, and resources for all parties involved.
 

Thrive in the new normal

Rethinking how your MSP business carries out customer acquisition post-pandemic will be essential to your future success. If you’re looking for expert guidance on how to accomplish this, Sherweb can help. Our MBA for MSPs program offers an understanding of how new and existing clients play a role in maximizing your business’s revenue. You can also join our partner program to take advantage of even more expert services.

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This material was originally presented at Accelerate 2020 by Neural Impact

Written by The Sherweb Team Collaborators @ Sherweb

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