Sales prospecting is never quite as easy as you’d hope, is it?
I’m sure you’ve tried plenty of different ways to identify potential customers for your MSP, but the truth is, the best sales prospecting methods are never quite as obvious as you want them to be.
Look, of course finding the right source for prospects definitely takes creativity and resourcefulness.
But you don’t need to rack your brains for the right strategies, because I’ll show them to you in this post.
Read on and you’ll discover 5 prospecting techniques to help you fill your pipeline with potential leads.
But First, Let’s Establish What We Mean By “Prospecting”
I’ll admit, it’s an easy mistake to make, but there’s a big difference between a prospect and a qualified prospect (otherwise known as a lead).
And maybe the easiest way to tell the difference is to take a look at your average sales funnel.
Here’s one courtesy of Intelliverse:
Notice how the process starts with first defining your ideal customer profile.
After all, it’s going to be impossible to attract prospects if you don’t know the types of people or businesses you’re targeting.
Of course, as an MSP, it’s safe to assume your target customer profile is a business (maybe of a certain size or in a particular industry) that has specific IT issues you’re able to help solve.
Now, you might have an idea of some potential prospects (that’s the “Suspects” piece of the funnel).
But it’s not until you actually confirm those suspects have the IT issues your MSP can solve that they become prospects.
And that’s what I’m helping you find in this post: a list of contacts that may convert to leads down the line, depending on how well they meet the B.A.N.T. criteria:
Ready to see how you can find more prospects? Let’s dive in.
5 Ways You Can Identify New Prospects for Your MSP
#1. Attend Trade Shows and Conferences
With the internet and all the information it provides right at our fingertips, attending trade shows might seem so “old school,” right?
But the data doesn’t lie:
77 percent of executive decision makers that attended a trade show walked away with at least one new vendor partner.
And while it’s important to continuously measure the ROI of trade show attendance, there’s a couple big reasons your attendance can be a huge success:
- You’re swimming in a pool of potential customers.
Let’s be honest – no one’s attending a tech trade show just for the fun of it.
So if you make the investment to become a vendor, it’s fairly safe to assume that the majority of people walking past your booth are potential prospects.
That means with the right tactics to attract people to you, getting a list of contacts should be pretty easy.
But as Kevin Welch explains on the MSP Alliance blog that as with most things, preparation is important:
“When you know your goal [for attending a trade show], you can take steps to ensure you meet it. For example, if your goal is to acquire new leads, then you need to learn what your customers are looking for. If there are unanswered questions about your product or service, take the answers. This can be regarding speaking with potential customers, or handing out the necessary literature. In any case, this will help ensure the event is successful, rather than being a waste of your time and energy.”
- It’s a great opportunity to learn about new trends in the industry.
How often do you get the chance to peek in on what your competitors are doing?
Chances are, rarely if ever.
But learning is a key component of trade show attendance.
Robert Naragon explains it perfectly on the MSP Tech Blog:
“During low traffic times, you are free to take some time to see what your competition is up to. See what is working for your competition. Tradeshows are a great way to read the winds and make the necessary business changes early.”
And the good news is, there are a lot of MSP trade shows.
Ninja has a continuously-updated list of the most current trade shows and conferences for MSPs to attend, including the MSPWorld 2018 Conference in New Orleans:
#2. Be Active on Social Media
Our most recent post on the blog shared 5 easy tips to help MSPs get started on social media.
There are plenty of reasons outside business development to make sure you engage with your target audience via social channels (customer service is a big one as is keeping a pulse on demand for services or products).
But there’s no question social media offers a fast, easy way to find potential leads for your MSP.
Here are a few ideas on how you can get started:
- Follow Your Competitors’ Followers on Twitter
I’m sure you know your competitors are in the industry.
Well, building a prospect list off your competitors’ followers is an easy way to get the maximum value out of a platform like Twitter.
It’s really as simple as finding your competitors on Twitter, and then clicking the “Followers” button.
And from there, going through and following and engaging with relevant potential leads.
- Post an Ad on Facebook
“If you have the budget and can justify the costs, I would highly recommend using Facebook’s advertising options. The opportunity to increase your reach is just too high. The fact that there are so many different businesses and people on Facebook allows you to receive more recognition than any other social network. There is nothing else like it. Facebook advertising is a great way to expand your audience and potential customers.”
With 2 billion monthly active users and many different ways to target your core audience, there’s no doubt it’s a great way to reach your target customer.
- Run a Search on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the professional social network and with over 500 million members, there’s no doubt it’s a powerful resource for your MSP.
And while LinkedIn does offer some paid ad solutions, you can get huge value from the network for free, too.
You can search through the 500 million people on LinkedIn with a number of useful filters for identifying prospects:
#3. Write Blog Posts on LinkedIn
Speaking of LinkedIn, why not try putting yourself out there as a thought leader as a means of attracting prospects?
Anyone can publish posts on LinkedIn with the ability to share them with your network (and hope they go viral).
Pulling prospects out of your posts can be really simple:
As people like, comment on or share your post, reach out with a little personal note to see if they want to arrange time to connect.
You can do something similar on Quora, too:
#4. Answer Questions on Quora
While most people just think of Quora as a site for getting questions answered, it’s actually a great growth hacking business development tool.
That’s because people often turn to Quora with questions that indicate they may be an idea customer for your MSP.
And in your answer, you might subtly plug your MSP to try and build some awareness (both for the person who asked the question and anyone who reads it in the future).
#5. Build a Referral Alliance with Non-Competing Companies
Finally, think about ways you might be able to build a referral partnership with companies who target the same-sized businesses in the same industry, but for entirely different purposes.
For an MSP, that might be facility services providers or business supply companies.
Offer to promote their services to your client base in exchange for them doing the same with theirs.
And Don’t Forget…
Sales prospecting is just the first step.
You need to be creating content to nurture leads through the sales funnel, too.
But now that you have the strategies in place to actually find the right prospects, you can rest easy knowing you won’t need to stress about how to identify qualified prospects anymore.
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