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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.


333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
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April 12, 2013 |

Attendees Go Deep on Managed Service Sales and Marketing at SMB Forum

Experienced MSP peers and consultants offered actionable advice on producing more leads, revenue, and profit.

Audience members received a slew of concrete, actionable tips during a session on managed service sales and marketing at the ChannelPro SMB Forum, held April 10th in Long Beach, Calif.

Panelists opened the discussion by emphasizing the importance of being thorough and consistent about marketing. “If you can be consistently good, you’ll be great,” said panelist Ed Correia, president and self-described “chief rainmaker” at managed service provider Sagacent Technologies, of San Jose, Calif. “I see too many of our brethren doing things sporadically.”

In particular, Correia and others asserted that MSPs should post regularly on social media outlets like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. “Make it systematic. Make it prescriptive. Put it in your plan,” said panel participant Keith Lubner, managing partner of Channel Consulting Corp., a partner advisory firm headquartered in Philadelphia, Pa. It won’t be long before social media is a hugely powerful marketing tool, he continued. “Build the platform now, build the numbers now, so you can start taking advantage of that in the future,” Lubner said.

Luis Alvarez, a panel member who is also president and CEO of Alvarez Technology Group Inc., a Salinas, Calif.-based MSP, endorsed that statement. Already, he noted, publicizing his company’s participation in local American Cancer Society fundraising events via social media has borne valuable fruit. “It’s generated a ton of traffic and a ton of good will,” he said.

According to Alvarez, search engine optimization has raised traffic on his company’s website too. Due in part to services from MSP marketing firm Ulistic, of Calgary, Alberta, the Alvarez Technology Group’s name now sorts significantly higher in relevant searches on Google, Yahoo, and Bing. “SEO can be a really critical component of your business,” said Alvarez, who cited press releases as another vital marketing tactic.

“It’s the best way to get referrals,” Alvarez stated, adding that creative channel pros should have no trouble coming up with news to report. He, in fact, plans to issue a press release shortly on Earth Day, highlighting his firm’s green IT expertise. “Press releases are free. You should be sending out at least a couple every month,” Alvarez said.

Correia, for his part, encouraged attendees to market themselves to vendors as well as customers. His company, for example, regularly sends his vendor partners “win wires” promoting its latest deals. “Nothing makes a vendor want to support you and give you more money than when you tell them about your wins selling their products,” Correia remarked.

Turning from marketing to sales, Lubner advised attendees to utilize a “velocity” sales process when pursuing opportunities involving 25 users or less, especially if the solution they’re selling is cloud-based. On average, channel pros must close six to seven times as many cloud deals to generate the same revenue as a typical on-premises solution, he said, yet he’s met partners who were investing the same amount of labor in 10-seat opportunities as in 100-seat solutions.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out they weren’t making more money,” he observed. Handling all meetings by phone, limiting salespeople to two or three calls tops, and offering only standard product bundles with non-negotiable prices all help cloud resellers make more money and command higher margins by winning more business in less time.

Lubner also stressed the importance of diligently cross-selling and upselling your services. Most partners, he contended, fail to take advantage of natural synergies between their product offerings, such as selling spam filtering services to buyers of email solutions. “If you continue to do that you will continue to lose market share,” Lubner said.

Alvarez seconded that view. Most of his clients initially use just one of his company’s services, he noted. “The job of our inside salespeople is to get our clients to have all of those,” Alvarez stated.

That’s the kind of ambitious sales goal everyone left the SMB Forum better equipped to achieve, thanks to the wise counsel provided by Alvarez and his fellow panelists.

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