Recently my team reached out to over 500 Managed Service Providers (MSPs) in the Northeast US to invite them to attend our MSP Rescue Workshop in Princeton, NJ. We targeted New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.
Attendee Recruitment Methodology
Our approach was very simple. Searching on simple terms like “MSP” with a geographic reference such as “New York City” or “Philadelphia” we were able to quickly compile the list of targets mentioned above. Next, we completed the “Contact Us” form on the MSP’s website to establish communication. Here is what we found:
- 60% of MSPs had a “Contact Us” form. 40% did not even have a form.
- Of the 60% with forms, about ten percent of the forms failed to load with an error message or something related like a broken URL. This lowered the overall aggregate number to 50% of the MSPs having a functional form.
- Over the 50% baseline the form field varied from basic contact information such as Name, Title, E-mail and Telephone number. Other forms allowed a Comment field where you could indicate the nature of your inquiry. When such was the case, we typed in an invitation to attend the one-day MSP Rescue workshop. Otherwise, the MSP would correctly assume we were a “real” customer seeking MSP services (fair enough).
- Of the forms that were properly completed by the team, we basically enjoyed a 25% response rate such as a telephone call or email reply. Honestly – viewed on a macro-basis, the is a very low response rate and a bit surprising.
Finally – the surprising part is that real world customers that would be completing these MSP forms are trying to engage with the MSP and hopefully do “good business” and ultimately give the MSP money! So again, it is shocking at how inefficient MSPs are in recruiting new customers.
MSP Andy Higgins in Central Texas and his team
Frank Raimondi, VP, Channel Alliances & Partnerships at Nodeware, offered these observations:
- It appears that many MSPs count on their referral business more heavily than one would expect.
- As we all know, the majority of MSPs under 10 employees don’t have any marketing or true sales development teams or assignments, so it’s probably not surprising that there isn’t a top-to-bottom approach to new lead generation, such as web contact forms. There are some other outbound efforts available, such as Glasshive, 7Figure MSP and Zomentum, that do provide excellent resources and tools to aid in this, but most of the issues come back to time limitations of the MSP staff and in particular the owner/manager.
- Maybe what the MSPs need is something similar to what they’ve offered in the past, a “break/fix” service. Maybe it’s a retainer-based service, or by the hour, but imagine Upwork for MSPs to do the little things that are identified, but they don’t have the easy resource to use – and don’t want to sign up for a monthly service that they don’t know how much they’ll actually use.
We then asked Sarah Tooma for input! Here is her contribution and it emphasizes an important concept called “Speed-to-Lead” which is all about timing in replying to a lead.
I am coming in from a different perspective. I work with a software company called SherpaDesk and we are able to see who fills out the contact forms on our website and then follow up accordingly.
We have a mix of leads filling out our contact us form as well as spammers and or solicitations. This could possibly explain why some MSPs dont reply back or they don't check often. If they do look at it, they may think that a lead is a spammer or fake and not reply or the other possibility as you mentioned is that they do not check or designate a person to check this regularly.
What is also interesting is when calling MSPs sometimes it is hit or miss. It depends how they are set up. I have called MSPs of various sizes and they would have a voicemail set up and then others where they have a person answering the phones in a timely manner. Of course, if they are busy, then it would be another reason why a call goes into voicemail.
What could assist MSPs would be to create a SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) in addition to creating Service-Level Agreement (SLA) internally. It could be as simple as assigning a person or persons (Tier 1 tech or it could be a customer service representative or receptionist) to answer calls and then input the info to their ticketing system. The person answering can distinguish who they would need to speak with based on the needs, if it is a potential customer, it would go to sales. If it is a current customer it would go to their tech support rep. If it is a call for the business owner or executive team, then the call would go to them.
The lead or customer would get a call back or email back in a timely matter. Ideally in less than an hour during work hours at the most within 24 hours during work business/hours