When it comes to building a successful MSP business, you don’t have to go at it alone. Referral partners are a great way for an MSP to spread the word about their business through word-of-mouth marketing or over social media. The referral partner would leverage their pre-existing relationships — whether they are professional or personal — to recommend the MSP business and hopefully secure them new clients. These referrals can take place in community events, via email, over the phone or even via social media.
When compared to broader digital or traditional marketing, referrals can help provide higher-quality leads that are backed by the credibility of the partner. According to a survey of B2B marketers, 78 percent said that referral programs generated good or excellent leads for their business. On top of that, referrals tend to have the highest conversion rates of any marketing channel. With these kinds of results, an MSP can help to ensure that more of their marketing efforts turn into revenue and potential long-term client relationships.
Further reading MSP Marketing: a Beginner's Guide
Who can be a referral partner?
Referral partners can take many forms. In some cases, it could be a family friend or neighbor. But, more likely, it is someone that the business works with professionally or that has a similar network that could benefit from the MSP’s services. These businesses may be related to technology, such as a technology vendor, but they could also be businesses in the community that are complementary to an MSP’s services.
Some examples of potential referral partners for an MSP include accounting businesses, office parks, insurance companies, commercial realtors or movers, cabling companies, auditors, web developers, security, and business coaches or consultants in the area. Each of these businesses interacts with clients that likely need some sort of technology or ongoing services support, which makes them great potential new customers for an MSP.
There are also likely to be business networks in an MSP’s area that can help arrange referral partners inside a local community. For instance, many local communities have a chamber of commerce or business-specific groups like Business Network International (BNI) that can connect potential referral partners.
Finally, MSPs should make sure to look at their own client base for potential referral partners. There is really no better referral than one that comes from an existing or long-term client that can speak directly of their positive experiences with an MSP’s services and support.
Further reading How to Get Managed Services Client Referrals
Creating referral incentives
While some businesses may be kind enough to refer new potential business out of the kindness of their hearts, oftentimes putting an incentive in place can help grease the wheels for referrals. While this may be an initial cost, ultimately both parties win out, with a referral partner receiving a reward and the MSP some new business.
These incentives can take many forms. For local business partners, it may include a formal arrangement that each business will refer a certain number of potential new clients in a specified time period. Or, it could include a small (or large) cash reward for any referral that turns into a new paying client. Meanwhile, for current clients, an MSP may offer a discount on their package or even a free month of service if they refer a friend or business peer that needs technology services.
Further reading MSP Referral Program Guide
Referral partners are a great marketing tool for MSPs to grow their business quickly through word of mouth. That said, the success of a referral ultimately lies in the MSP’s delivery of strong services and technology support to their customers.
About the author
Alexander is the head of marketing department at MSP360. He is an expert in IT marketing and has extensive knowledge of cloud storage services. He cooperates with cloud vendors, MSPs, VARs and communicates the market needs and trends to our team.
More articles by Alexander