DattoCon2018 Notes: Sales and Marketing Track

Be Different. Deliver Excellence.

Jun 26, 2018

Sales and Marketing Reminders to Standout and Get in Front of Your TCP


Last week I had an awesome opportunity to participate at DattoCon18 in good ol’ Austin, TX where being weird is encouraged and I fit right in.

And speaking of fitting in... Or blending in rather... In a banquet hall at DattoCon18 with over 1,500+ MSP’s (let that sink in) it can be slightly difficult to distinguish yourself amongst the rest. Especially if you’ve yet to sit down and really examine your value prop.

Networking with other DattoCon18 attendees, it’s evident – we all care about our customers. We all believe we do a better job than the other IT guy down the street. And let’s face it; we do the basics pretty well. The truth is, you have to! So in an industry of 300,000+ MSP’s all roughly playing the same game…how do you set yourself apart? What’s that one thing that makes you special? (If you believe that sort of thing.)

Standing out as an MSP

In a crowd of MSPs at DattoCon18, I questioned everyone’s differentiators… “You’re not special. And neither are we.” But how are MSP’s cutting through the noise then? How do some MSPs rise to the top and dominate the physical and virtual marketplace? Top-performing MSPs are out in front of the people! They go where the money is. Where the people are. They’re getting their name and face known. People can’t learn to trust you if they don’t know you.

If you’re scratching your head; well you’re not alone. At DattoCon18, they shared the statistic that

Over 53% of MSP’s surveyed ranked marketing as the #1 area of their business they’ve got zero expertise in.

I’m not talking about a dedicated resource or a fancy department, nor the investment that comes with it... I’m talking about the bare essentials.

Marketing to Get Qualified Leads

DattoCon18 had an entire track for MSPs dedicated to sales and marketing best practices. After attending some of these sessions, here are my marketing fundamental tips I came home with from DattoCon18:

  • Who are you and what makes you different as an MSP? Remember there’s over 300,000 of you MSPs, so what’s truly the one unique thing you can share about your business? Your story! The art of selling by means of storytelling starts here. And it’s the first step in any prospective customer ‘getting to know you.’
  • What’s your current target customer profile (TCP) aka “persona”? Name, role, users, pain points, IT staff, location, industry, customer base, revenue, budget, age… just to name a few! Narrow this down. Where do you play well?
  • Where do you want to play? Who do you want more customers of? What’s this year’s primary focus? Determine your lead goal. Are we fixin’ (Texas) to break into a new market? Are we expanding our existing base? Both can be an answer but doubling down on one is always preferred. That way everyone’s on the same page and there’s some consistency.
  • Where do we find leads? What about the internet? (whoa) If you’re not doing it, you should. Super easy. Let’s explore some incredibly cost effective means of jumping into online advertising with minimal up front work.
    • Google AdWords – a step by step (you can do it!)
      • https://adwords.google.com/home/
      • Call to action? Goal of your ad? – CALL MY BUSINESS
      • Location – geographical footprint
      • Define product/service
      • Create your ad!
      • Set your budget – slide the bar (spend more – get more)
    • LinkedIn Targeting – a step by step (and just as easy!)
      • Name your campaign – a great way to promote white label content
      • What do you want to accomplish?
      • Description – this is important so spend some time here
      • Split test these – do it once… do it twice…
      • “Done.” – Gordon Ramsey
    • LinkedIn Mining – you’ll need a personal account for this
      • Check out a prospect
      • Right hand column “people also viewed”
      • Check out a customer
      • Right hand column “people also viewed”
      • Ask for an introduction.
      • This one is so simple – every rep should be doing this.
  • Events are good if you’ve got a budget and enter with the right mindset! If you’re just getting started then don’t be afraid to start small. Go local and take a few business cards. You can still smile and shake hands without burning through $30k for an hour of booth time. You can also host your own events for your managed services prospects. If you have no clue where to start then ask a few of your customers – where do they go? IF that’s your TCP and you want more of them. Meetups.com is on fire especially in your larger populated areas. And your local Chamber of Commerce is a safe bet.
  • Purchase leads lists? Question mark. Marketing isn’t so much a numbers game as it is a conversion rate’s game. If you don’t understand the difference – it’s about efficiently talking to the right persona and filling your sales and marketing funnel. Some tips if you’re entertaining the purchase of a leads list:
    • Consider an exclusions list - you don’t want to buy a list and find current customers/prospects already listed. You want new leads. New. So you’ll want to get an NDA signed prior to handing over your current list of customers. Enter at your own risk.
    • Bad leads come through? Send them back! You are the customer don’t let them forget.
    • Target “look a likes” – spend time with your outsourced prospectors on who you play well with and what that TCP looks like.
    • Set your expectations low. Typically, 5-10% of that list is going to speak with you and less than 1% is going to do business with you.
  • Interns are your friend. Train them on your TCP. Nothing like a good ol’ data base scrub and a few thousand cold calls over the summer! They get some experience – you get a brand new list!
  • 3rd party telemarketing – feels dirty just typing it. This is pretty much “see #6”. It can work. But it has to be heavily managed. Focus on the upfront training. Focus on ongoing training. Set monthly goals and hold them accountable. If they miss the mark, be sure your contract allows for some proration. Bad leads? Send them back. Good leads? Tell them why. You’ll spend as much, if not more time managing this than doing the work yourself or grooming internal reps.
  • Marketing Development Funds – “MDF” – Use them! Huge ROI here. These are set aside funds that can be used to help you! If you don’t use it, you lost it. Here are some tips to help you secure those MDFs:
    • Select an event and draft a plan.
    • Present your proposal to your vendor at minimum 60 days in advance (avoid the last day of the month/quarter).
    • Everyone loves breakfast, or they should. You get commitment for such an event and it’s hosted before their inboxes fill up, or emergencies usually hit.
    • Don’t get a speaker to directly promote you! Everyone already knows you’ve got something to sell. Make sure the speaker is bringing value to them. You’ll get your chance.
    • Speaking of value…pick a problem your customer’s have and solve it.
    • Once the above is finalized – shout this event from the rooftops. Everyone in your organization, plus family and friends, should be promoting this event.
    • Practice makes perfect – polish this up start to finish.
    • Bring your A game because it’s show time. Brand different items. Provide nametags, packets, maybe some lanyards if you’re feeling crazy! If you execute the event well, this group will tell the next and the events only get larger and more cozy.
    • Network. Whether you’re the owner or a sales rep… everyone on your team should be cleaned up and well versed on how to introduce themselves. Warm and welcoming. We’re not closing deals today, we’re getting to know our prospects and vice versa.
    • Perhaps the most critical step of all – the follow up. Ensure your MSP event had a call to action such as a follow up webinar, a downtime calculator, or a risk assessment. Set the expectation that you’ll be reaching out to thank each of them for their attendance and ask for feedback.

MSPs ARE Special!


I’ll retract my statement above. You are special. And so are we. But none of that matters if people don’t know us.

DattoCon18 reminded us that the MSPs who are winning are out in front of the prospects not talking about how grand their services are, but rather getting to know their prospects and soon to be customers.

People can’t learn to trust you until they get to know you. Take action on the steps above to get your foot in the door and capture more leads.

Growing Your Existing MSP Business with a Master MSP

Tags: marketing
Category: Sales

About The Author

Jake Wagner

Jake Wagner, an Account Manager for Collabrance, is responsible for sharing, coaching, and training partners on Managed Services best practices. Jake is a great resource providing value to help partners achieve greater success in their business. Jake graduated from the University of Dubuque with a bachelor’s degree in Business Marketing.