No one was quite prepared for the current crisis. A lot of businesses have moved their workloads from offices to homes; many have simply shut down. Neither the overall consequences nor the end of the pandemic can be predicted at this point. As an owner of a managed IT business, you need to focus on both strategy and processes in order to stay on track. In this article, we will overview two key areas that might help you.
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Reaching the Audience Effectively
Before the COVID-19 outbreak, the most difficult thing for many managed IT professionals was meeting their prospects in person, and presenting and pitching them the services. Nowadays, meeting in person is next to impossible. However, the managed IT business is 80% about communication and 20% about technology, and this ratio does not change during your customer’s journey.
With all that in mind, you need to rethink your approach to communication at all levels. Pushy marketing and sales pitches won’t work out; you need to be more sincere. Here are a few key points that should help you.
Social Media Is the Old-New King
Many MSPs have obtained new clients via their social media presence, such as LinkedIn or Facebook groups, by sharing knowledge and presenting themselves as IT professionals. With the lockdown, the usage of social media has increased by up to 87%. So, if you haven't built your presence there yet, now is the best time. Join MSP peer groups to share experience; your potential customers might seek advice there. Join your local business groups to share up-to-date materials, advice and content there. Be open and willing to help, and soon you will meet new prospects.
This is also a good time to leverage social media advertisements. However, if you haven't yet worked with ads on Facebook or LinkedIn, it might not be advisable to try to work it out by yourself, as you will most probably waste both time and money.
In this package, you will get five guides helping to create your marketing strategy, including the guide to social media marketing
Help, Rather Than Sell
These are hard and demanding times and most people are stressed; some of them are panicking. It's not the best time to pitch prospects blindly or try to upsell your clients with more services. Show that you want to help them, and that you can and will solve their problems and bring expertise to help them stay afloat. For sure, you don't need to help for free, but you do want to refocus your sales message.
Further reading Your MSP Goodwill Is The Key to Business Survival
Your Audience Be Able to Reach You Easily
You should be both present and active across all the channels that you have ever been on. Your Facebook and LinkedIn pages should be updated. The overall message should be clear for anyone seeking professional IT advice: you are easy to reach out to, and always online.
Further reading Sell Your Managed Services Effectively with LinkedIn
If you are posting educational content, whether written, video or audio, it should be highly relevant and up-to-date. However, do not try to create more panic; stay focused and professional, and advise according to the current needs of your clientele. One good idea might be to share real-life examples of how you have solved your customers’ problems. People with similar issues might want to contact you and learn more about your services.
While you are delivering content or sharing advice, try to keep your messaging short and clear. Don't put in too many technical details if there is no need for it.
Further reading Content Marketing Tips from a Seasoned MSP
How Can MSPs Boost Sales Now?
Adapt Your Bundle
Of course, the pandemic will pass and, sooner or later, businesses will be up and running. However, the business landscape will be changed. First of all, more businesses will be working on a hybrid office/home model, meaning a higher demand for remote-work solutions, including software and services, such as VPNs, remote desktop software, and conferencing solutions.
There is going to be an additional need for hardware, too, such as laptops, webcams, microphones, and other devices for a good home-office. Also, you will have to carry out a security audit for the remote workforce. It might be a good idea to create a separate bundle for the work-from-home scenario and discuss it with your clients.
Further reading MSP Packages: How to Build Your Offer
Also, don’t forget that your clients and prospects have different pain points and need different solutions, so you shouldn’t push the same stack of services for everyone.
Prospects Are Moving Home, So Help Them
Find businesses that are moving from offices to home, or have moved but are struggling with inefficient solutions, and offer them your services. Reach out to your local chamber of commerce or any local business groups and offer your help. A lot of managed IT professionals have already found new clients this way.
Reach a New Audience via Education
As we've previously mentioned, social media are booming right now. People are meeting through those channels, seeking help, and trying to help each other. Help your audience by leveraging your social media channels. Create a series of educational articles or videos on how to transition the workload during the pandemic, host a webinar, or take part in one.
When the pandemic is over, you will meet the new business realm, where only the most efficient and focused companies will stay afloat. The upcoming year will be tough and challenging, though. Stay in contact with your peers, do the best you can for your clients, be active on social media. You need to be proactive and constantly search for businesses who need your help and advice, and for new solutions that will help them.