Here are some tried-and-true methods for identifying, qualifying and nurturing potential customers.
Lead generation is the marketing process of stimulating and capturing interest in a product or service to develop a sales pipeline. Many managed service providers (MSPs) struggle with lead generation because they lack the time and resources to dedicate to sales and marketing efforts.
However, without a steady flow of prospective customers entering the sales pipeline, your business will not thrive. This article outlines various tried-and-true methods from IT service professionals and marketing experts for identifying, qualifying and nurturing potential customers.
- Create a lead generation plan
The purpose of a lead generation plan is to create a list of potential customers with contact information. In the end, the goal of a lead generation plan is for you to have a solid idea of how many potential customers (a.k.a. leads) you will need to generate to meet your monthly recurring revenue (MRR) goals.
- Inbound marketing
Inbound marketing (primarily popularized by the Boston-based marketing software vendor Hubspot) is an excellent strategy for generating quality leads. This tactic involves offering gated content or online materials–such as e-books, webinars or videos–that require users to fill out a form with their contact information to access them. For inbound marketing to be effective, you need to offer relevant and informative content that builds a meaningful relationship with your audience. For example, a small craft brewery owner probably doesn’t care about the tech specs of a cool new firewall appliance. That is likely a bit too technical for that sort of business owner. However, they may respond to an article about another small business that avoided a security breach with the excellent technology you provided.
- Outbound marketing
Outbound marketing refers to the traditional use of external, paid channels to deliver a business message and content to an audience, rather than making your content available on your properties. Some examples of outbound marketing tactics include email blasts to purchased lead lists, tradeshow sponsorships, radio ads and television commercials. While inbound marketing is all about luring an audience to you with content customized to said group’s interests and pain points, outbound marketing is all about pushing content/messaging out to a broader audience.
- Email Marketing
Email is still a very effective tactic that companies use to engage with clients and prospects and drive conversions. If a recipient clicks on the email link and visits your website, that is a great example of a conversion. The ultimate conversion is if a customer or prospect visits your website from an email campaign and buys your product and/or services. Be sure your emails offer valuable information and are personalized for your audience.
- Social media marketing
Like email, social media is a highly effective tool for engaging with current and potential customers. Sharing your content on popular social media platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can drive readers to your website, boost traffic and bring in new and quality leads. Look for opportunities within social media platforms to direct readers to your content.
- Optimize your website with SEO
Search engine optimization (SEO) can be a game-changer for your company. Your company can have the best product, service and price, but if prospects can’t find you when they’re searching online, they’ll never know about you. SEO uses both technical and creative elements to improve a website’s rankings in search engine results, which drives site traffic and increases brand awareness. Several online research tools can help you create a list of keywords to target, including Moz Keyword Explorer, Google Adwords Keyword Planner, Keywordtool.io and the SEMrush Keyword Research Tool.
- Qualifying leads
Not all leads are created equal. So, it would help if you learned more about the lead to determine whether a prospect could become a paying customer. This process is known as “qualifying” leads or deciding whether investing time and effort into selling to a given prospect makes commercial sense. If you’re not qualifying your leads, you will waste a lot of time following up on leads that aren’t a good fit for your company.
Yes, lead generation is a challenge, but starting with this variety of time-tested strategies from fellow MSPs should help you along your way. If you are serious about growing your business, you need to dedicate time to lead generation. Download our Lead Generation Made MSPeasy eBook for more insights on all of the above.
Michael DePalma is Channel Development Manager, Datto.
This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.