How to Host a Managed Services "Lunch-and-Learn" Event

Be Different. Deliver Excellence.

Jun 20, 2017

Educate Your Prospects & Customers on Best Practices in IT

Technology is a broad industry. Customers want to stay current in IT, but don’t know what they don’t know. They primarily just want to stay focused on their core business and not have to worry about technology. This is why they hired you and rely on you as a trusted technology advisor to inform them on what they need to know for their IT needs. This includes IT information to stay current, and keep their business running. You don’t have to get detailed and technical, but thorough enough to educate them. This will build your credibility and add to the value you can provide. In the end it can be a win for both you, and your customer.

Many successful MSPs hosts lunch and learns to educate and attract prospects which result in closing more sales. It’s still a format where attendees can ask questions they are curious about, but not pressured on a one-on-one call. For your prospects who may not know where to start, it gives them an opportunity to get an overview. For you, it means dedicated and undivided time with the prospect to deliver your message.

Here are some steps to help you setup your next lunch and learn event:

  • Identify your target audience prospects and their pain points

  • Set your goals

    • How many people do you want to attend? How many attendees do you need to flip in order to make the event worth the investment?
  • Set your budget

    • Based on how many people you want to attend, what can you provide them? Can you do a meal AND a networking activity? Can you provide a giveaway? Do you want to sponsor a third-party to also speak on the topic?
  • Secure date/time/venue

    • Be creative on finding a venue. Identify a place that is attractive and where people would want to attend and enjoy.
    • Be mindful of your attendee’s time. Based on your prospect list, do they have to travel far? How long do you want them to be at the event? Are you allowing time for follow-up and questions outside of the presentation?
  • Create agenda

    (See below for an example 1-hour, managed services lunch and learn presentation)
    • Welcome & Introductions (5 minutes)
    • Opening and Supporting Statistics: Implications of not using managed services (15 minutes)
      • [Problem] Security: External threats
      • [Solution] Backup: Why is this important?
      • [Educational Takeaways] Tips and things to watch out for: Knowing the sender before opening email, be mindful of email attachments
    • Case Study/Success Story: Example of customer you helped and the results (10 minutes)
    • Your Pitch: How can your managed services offering help? How is managed services different than break-fix models? (15 minutes)
    • Call-to-action: Contact us to implement managed services in your business (5 minutes)
    • Questions and Closing Remarks (10 minutes)
  • Create collateral

    • Landing page with event information and registration on your website
    • Press release to share with community
    • Email Campaign
    • Direct mailers
    • Handouts/Giveaways for event (can be as simple as pens and notepads)
    • Presentation
    • Confirmation for attendees
      • Email confirmation
      • Email reminder
      • Call-to-action: share with others and refer others
    • Other: Signage, Banner Stands, Displays
  • Develop a prospecting and recruitment plan

    • Emails: Keep them short and engaging to drive them to your landing page for more information
    • Phone Calls: Have talk tracks ready to attract your prospects interest
    • Mailers: Get creative and have something standout to get their attention
    • Social Media (i.e. show interest in your prospects by connecting with others, joining group discussions, endorsing others)
    • External Media Outlets: Event Calendars, Media Distribution/Coverage
  • Assess your leads

    • Whether at registration or a post-event survey, make sure to ask your attendees questions from your qualifier to determine how you should prioritize your leads
  • Follow-up and thank yous

    • Always be sure to thank your prospects and customers for their time and interest – you’re in the service industry!

Lunch and learns can be for prospects, but also current customers. It’s important to keep them educated as well so they can be mindful of best practices that help both you and them.

If you haven’t done a lunch and learn, they are worth trying to create publicity with your company and managed services offering. Events are great, if they are done well. If your prospect and/or customer takes time to attend one of your events, be sure to invest in making it a good experience for them to do business with you.

If you are already doing lunch and learns, keep up the good work and we hope they continue to be successful!

Category: Sales

About The Author

Brittney Stepanek

Brittney Stepanek, Strategic Marketing Director for Collabrance, is responsible for helping build relationships and brand awareness through strategic marketing initiatives. Before working at Collabrance, Brittney joined GreatAmerica in 2012 doing marketing for the Office Equipment Group. She received her Bachelor of Science in Psychology at the University of Iowa.