Compliance, advanced security, and co-managed IT are key growth opportunities ahead for MSPs, but new customer acquisition will be a challenge, according to Robin Robins, CEO of sales and marketing membership organization TMT, who announced new and upcoming offerings for members in those areas at TMT’s annual IT Sales and Marketing Boot Camp, held in Nashville April 11-14.
“You’ve got to get ready for compliance. You’ve got start offering advanced security, and start maybe looking at co-managed,” Robins told attendees.
During the sold-out “Indiana Jones” themed event with more than 1,200 MSPs in attendance plus a virtual audience, Robins introduced a new “turbo dial” program to support members’ sales development representatives (SDR) that is available now, plus revealed that TMT is planning a “mini boot camp” for new SDRs. To support advanced security sales, TMT now has a new pen test campaign for members who are Galactic Advisor resellers. And in beta is a co-managed IT campaign that will be available at no charge for members using the 2.0 version of the MAP marketing automation platform. Also coming soon is a go-to-market toolkit on how to package, price, and sell compliance. It will be available at no cost for all members.
Finally, TMT has revamped its Celebrity-Authority-Trust program to Trust-Based Marketing, an annual program that includes a quarterly custom local magazine, speaker and podcast training, professionally written content, media landing page, project manager, and more.
TMT also announced its new spokesperson for 2023 is Adam Spencer, CEO of 911 IT, an MSP based in Salt Lake City. As the Better Your Best winner, Spencer also received a brand-new Mercedes-Benz convertible. Spencer was one of five finalists who competed to win the annual Better Your Best contest. All five presented on the sales, marketing, and business strategies they used to grow revenue, profits, and MRR. This year, however, in addtion to the audience, they presented to three of the “sharks” from ABC’s Shark Tank, Robert Herjavec, Daymond John, and Kevin O’Leary; and guest “shark” Fred Voccola, CEO of Kaseya. After the presentations, attendees voted for the winner.
Spencer has grown his MSP business from six employees working in his basement in 2018, when he joined TMT, to 21 employees. Last year 911 IT increased net profits 76% and grew gross revenue $452,000. Spencer has been laser focused on growing his list of prospects and customers.
“Towards the end of the year, we were sending out 250 campaigns/letters per week, and then we’ll make three follow-up phone calls on each one of those letters,” he says. “And this year, we’re doubling down on that and sending out 500 per week. … and so we’ve been working on growing that list.”
To support that, Spencer has two full time SDRs/appointment setters as well as list cleaners.
He says he’s also focused on offering clients more business value as they face an uncertain economy. “I think there’s a lot that we can offer our clients that, one, will help us to keep that relationship alive, but two, especially as they’re going through uncertainty, it’s a good time for us to step up and really be that business partner and the technology business partner for them.”
Compliance is also driving customer spend on security, he says. “Companies don’t want to just go and say, ‘oh sure, I’ll go spend a lot of money on something that I hope I never need. Compliance kind of makes them do that … and so I think that helps our industry. … And at the same time, they’re seeing a big need for it because there’s so much going on in the security side of things where they see companies getting breached all the time.”
The other four contestants were: Jay Hill, owner of Network Providers, Draper, Utah; Konrad Martin, president and CEO of Tech Advisors, Medfield, Mass.; Stephen Taylor, CEO of LeadingIT, Chicago; and Tommy Thornton, CEO of Automates, National City, Calif.
On average last year, the finalists as a group increased gross revenue $1.14 million, increased net profit $300,000, increased MRR $104,000, and added 29 new MRR clients.
During opening night, Robins highlighted both opportunities and challenges based on data collected from TMT members, MSP Success magazine subscribers, the Service Leadership organization of ConnectWise, and other industry organizations.
In general, Robins noted, “Sales are up, MRR’s up, profitability’s up, but [customer] leads are down.”
Adding to the challenge of lead generation, Robins noted, is that “customer acquisition cost has gone up exponentially across the board.”
She offered some tips for combatting the cost of customer acquisition: leverage referrals, client testimonials, and joint venture marketing partnerships; drive leads to a landing page, not your home page; leverage retargeting with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google; capture every lead and consistently follow up; and upsell and cross-sell to existing clients.
Finally, she encouraged MSPs to go after higher-value clients. “Getting a client that’ll spend $5,000 a month isn’t 10 times harder than someone’s spending $500. In a lot of ways it’s easier because the bigger companies have it in their budget.”
Robins noted that the top growth drivers based on the collective data are compliance and advanced security, and “security assessment is the number one lead generation offer right now for MSPs that is getting people in the door.”
She concluded, “There’s tons of opportunity for all of you, but if you’re not looking to build your security and compliance services, you’re going to be left behind.”
Despite an uncertain economy, she encouraged MSPs to double down and think bigger. “My challenge to all of you is really think about, are you playing small?”
Keynote speaker Nicholas Vujicic, author of “Life Without Limbs,” told ChannelPro in a backstage interview that he had a similar message for MSPs. “We really should be reframing barriers and challenges, not as a negative aspect, but as an embracing moment to understand that you don’t build resilience without resistance.”