The vast majority of MSPs I talk to about up leveling their IT prospecting to social selling marketing systems tell me that their number one source of new leads is through existing customers, aka referrals.
Let me apologize in advance, because this might pinch a bit. If referrals are your main source of leads, you don’t have a lead gen system. Further, and you probably already know this, your business is at risk, because you are always going to live or die by how satisfied your last few clients were with you. One bad customer experience creates months of havoc in your cash flow.
Maybe you don’t agree that relationship-based selling is inherently risky. OK, no problem. We can still agree that you definitely need an ongoing, proven lead gen system. Without this, it’s very difficult to grow your business, take your income to the next level, or even consider any kind of exit strategy that includes selling your company.
You need to build an ongoing lead gen system — it’s one of the single most important assets your business can have. And, this system must operate independent of you — there’s no such thing as “cult of personality” in a successful business, because you can’t scale out your time.
I’ll talk about specific lead gen systems in a future article, but for now, consider this shopping list. You need a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool. It doesn’t have to be a huge system like Salesforce, but you need some way to capture, track and manage prospects. Bluntly, and again sorry about this, but the several dozen / hundred business cards you’ve got wrapped in a rubber band and stuck in the back of your desk drawer is not a lead gen system.
Next, you need a funnel — some automated way to deliver your marketing messages, warm up a prospective customer, and convert a suspect into a prospect. In today’s market, you simply cannot afford to take the time to do this by hand. You must (repeat must) have a system in place that does this for you, like an automated email sequence, which could be part of your CRM, and a way for prospects to schedule themselves into your calendar (Calendly and TimeTrade are great examples).
Start now — grab a sheet of paper, or a Google Doc, and your calendar. Put together an “action list” of tasks you’ve been putting off to get this started. Schedule a two hour block of time to research and select a CRM (try Zoho, SugarCRM, or Microsoft Dynamics 365). Pick one, buy it, and then schedule a four-hour block of time to implement it.
Want help? No problem. Get one of your top IT marketing sales people to sit with you to talk through the steps as you implement it. Call this the “CRM Club meeting” and make it a habit. In four weeks of doing this consistently, you’ll have built out a solid lead gen funnel. Now you can go back to creating relationships — just remember to add everyone into this system to nurture and convert them to customers.
Six months from now, let me know how you’re doing. I suspect you’ll be very, very happy.