Is Your Business Consistently Filling Its Sales Pipe?
There are many facets to marketing, some are effective, some are not. What can a small business, or an MSP with thousands of competitors do to stand out? I have created a list of what we have done over the past 20 years and what has worked on generating new business every month. I first want to preface that I was not mentored by some marketing genius or coached by a firm/individual. I did a lot of research, trial & error, attended webinars that focused on PPC and SEM marketing strategies. I was blessed to have a CEO who believes in me and has always encouraged innovation. Now, let’s go down memory lane for just a bit.
2001 – Cold calling was the only method my firm could afford to generate new business. I personally made an average of 300 calls a week and booked 2-3 appointments a week. 1200 calls a month, 8-12 appointments would be booked on average. The close rate floated around 15% and the average contract ranged from 15-50k a year. The sales cycle was between 60-120 days. This is in no way a scalable model. And for the record, so happy we do not rely on cold calling.
2003 – This is the year we started to make some decent growth. We attended networking events. Partnered with firms that complimented their solution. SaaS, Movers, ISPs, Hardware Manufactures, Consultants, Colos, and Telecom firms. I have a large pool of network connections and I leveraged those contacts to generate new business. This takes time and your network must find you credible, trustworthy and I cannot stress enough…you must be “likable”. You can be the smartest person in the room, but if no one likes you, no one will want to be your partner. Be humble, be a good listener, and know your business inside and out.
2008 – Email and mailers. Raise your hand if you love solicitation emails? Keep your hand up if you love SPAM? We sent out thousands of emails over 3 years, we converted about 4 new clients. Not a great conversion rate. I am not saying that an email strategy won’t work. If you plan to use email, make sure you offer value in your messaging. You need a well thought out plan with messaging, a target audience, and your plan to keep them engaged. We have a monthly newsletter and a drip that goes out every month. It only includes educational information…no solicitation. We have built credibility with our audience and they turn to us for answers to their questions. Mailers, ugh, that’s all I can say. We sent out thousands of expensive mailers for about two years, cost us thousands of dollars…We landed two clients. Again, not a great conversion rate.
2012 – This is the year we implemented PPC and organic SEO best practices. PPC is a pay per click strategy that is offered by several firms. Google, LinkedIn, and Facebook. Which one is the right fit for your firm? Only you can answer that question. We are a B2B firm. The Google platform changed our business. PPC is not a magic bullet, it’s not something you turn on and it starts to generate leads the next day. This takes time, tweaking to your messaging, selecting the right keywords, and dedicating time to optimize the tool every week. LinkedIn is another platform that is ideal if you plan to target a specific geography, industry, size of firm, and more importantly, the decision-maker for your solution. I am not a believer in FB ads, but I welcome anyone to change my mind. Organic SEO is another method that will drive relevant traffic to your site. However, you must follow SEO best practices and be religious about adding new content to your site. You need a web development expert to ensure you have best practices in place. As for PPC, you need an expert. Do not do it yourself, get a reputable firm that is experienced working with MSPs.
2019 – We began a digital outreach program that generates appointments every month. This solution has been ideal when it comes to qualifying an opportunity. We work closely with a firm that delivers a value proposition to our targeted audience. They deliver the message, nurture warm opportunities until they become hot and pass on the hot leads to us. They do an awesome job qualifying opportunities and getting us in front of the right person. These ops are a bit larger than the PPC ops, but the downside is the sales cycle. The sales cycle will range between 60-120 days.
2021 – We plan to double our marketing budget in 2021. We have had tremendous growth and we cannot ignore the numbers. Online marketing is a cost-effective solution that can help most businesses grow at an exponential pace.
I have learned quite a bit during this 19-year journey. If you plan to make cold calls, you must embrace rejection, be fearless, persistent, and religious about following up.
There is nothing wrong with working hard, but working smart is a concept every business should embrace. PPC changed our business, and I am confident it can have the same impact on your business.
If you have any questions about our strategies, email me at [email protected].