NEWS: Global Mentoring Solutions is now part of the Sherweb family. Click here to read more about the acquisition.

As the year comes to a close, it affords us time to sit back and take stock of the lessons we have learned. Each day I am very fortunate to work with some of the best managed services providers around the globe. We learn from each other and I don’t have all the answers for every challenge that presents itself, but through collaboration we achieve our eventual goals.

This year was not short on lessons learned. Here are some of the lessons I learned alongside my MSP coaching and business development clients.


1. Take Chances

Leading managed services providers take chances and they are aware that not all campaigns or efforts will yield the desired results. Some outright fail in spectacular fashion. Those managed services providers who learn to take calculated risks and find ways to do business differently will ultimately win over their competition who fail to do anything. What made these MSPs great in 2012 was that they learned from their failures, regrouped and went at it again. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and try something new.


There is a buzzword going around HTG for the past few years, a terminology that I introduced many years ago that I learned from Dawson Lane during my tenure with the IAMCP. SWIPE stands for “Steal with Integrity, Pride and Excellence”. “A good artist creates; a great artist steals.” There is nothing wrong with borrowing a successful marketing idea from another company (or competitor) and making it your own. This is something that we do everyday in the managed services business. Let’s face it, few ideas are created from scratch. Great companies steal or borrow and then make it their own, you just have to be smart about it. Everyone does webinars. Everyone exhibits at the local trade shows. Everyone advertises on their MSP website. Everyone attempts to give away iPads for lead registrations. Look around, take notes and have a great marketing/business development coach in your corner.

3. Old and New

Marketing is all about balance. New marketing strategies and approaches, such as social media and community interaction, work well when done correctly– as do others that have been around for decades. When it comes to marketing, the best idea is mixing proven traditional MSP marketing techniques with new marketing ideas and programs. The risk of adopting a new strategy is offset by the proven viability of tried-and-true marketing strategies.


The worst mistake a managed services provider looking to market their business can make is not committing to marketing. With effective MSP marketing you need to be ALL IN, ALL THE TIME. Jeremy Epstein coined the phrase, NEVER STOP MARKETING, and with your MSP you need to adopt this mindset. YOU ARE ALWAYS MARKETING. There is no such thing as a successful part-time marketing strategy. In order to be effective your MSP must be completely committed to marketing.

5.  Treat your marketing like shampoo

What is the last instruction on the shampoo bottle? Wash, Rinse, Repeat.  The same must occur in your MSP marketing. Do it once, learn and do it again. Marketing is a commitment to a repeatable process that generates results and when it doesn’t, you tweak it and try it again.

There does come a time when you need to abandon marketing that doesn’t work. What I learned from former Synnex Canada CEO Jim Estill is to fail often, fail fast and fail cheap. Without failing, we never learn how to be better