5 Marketing Tips for SMB-Focused MSPs

PSM as “essential workers”

It’s fair to say that MSPs serving small and medium-sized businesses have had to think hard over the past two years as their clients’ businesses have pivoted – in some cases literally overnight – to hybrid working or to distance and they had to find whole new ways to take care of their end customers.

The SME ecosystem is made up of approximately 400 million businesses and a total of 65% of all global jobs. The opportunity? A $610 billion IT spend, according to Michelle Ragusa-McBain, global community manager and channel evangelist for MSP and XaaS for Cisco Systems.

In front of an audience of MSPs at CRN’s parent company The Channel Company’s XChange 2022 event, Ragusa-McBain shared five tips that MSPs targeting SMBs should keep in mind when developing and implementing their marketing strategies, build their corporate culture and implement sales awareness efforts. between the hybrid work demands of their employees and the new buying behaviors of their end customers.

Here’s what Ragusa-McBain had to say.

Find “Blue Ocean” opportunities

The majority (75%) of SMBs want to embrace new technologies, but often don’t have an IT team to help them. That’s where MSPs, or “essential workers,” come in, Ragusa-McBain said.

MSP activity before 2021 is expected to grow by around 10%. But 2021 ended with a forecast of 23% year-over-year business growth expected, with no signs of slowing down, she said.

McKinsey reported that executives spent more on digitalization in 2020 than at any other time in history. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, 55% of companies did not allow their employees to work from home, a statistic that was quickly reversed when employees were sent home overnight. Seventy-six percent of global CEOs say their company will be unrecognizable in the next five years.

“When I talk about the perfect storm, we all know the pandemic disruption has happened. There’s immense growth happening in our ecosystem, and we really want to understand how we can seize those opportunities together,” she said.

Establish your professional brand

This may sound like something every MSP has done before, but rather than focusing on how they would like to be perceived, MSPs should be more concerned with what their customers actually think of them and what customers people say about them when they’re not in the bedroom, says Ragusa-McBain.

Building a brand starts on social media where, ironically, many MSPs lose their brand. Many companies are “lazy likers” or “voyeurs” on Twitter and LinkedIn, according to Ragusa-McBain. “They look around. They don’t touch anything. They don’t like anything. They don’t comment. Well, it’s not good for you and it’s not good for your customers. You don’t get an edge,” she said.

It is essential that PSM present themselves the way they want to be seen by the audience they approach. “If you want to be a visionary, thought leader, technology expert, and trusted advisor, you need to provide people with the content and the example they seek, that they crave,” Ragusa-McBain said. said, adding that MSPs should also use LinkedIn to find the right demographics they’re trying to target and start sharing.

The future of work

MSPs cannot only look outward at their own customers or partners. They must also look to their own employees and work culture in 2022.

Via Technology, an IoT-focused solutions provider, has seen its business take off with clients in construction, federal, state and local government, and educational institutions.

The company offers Office 365, hosted email, storage, help desk and technical support, and physical security solutions. On the IoT construction side, Via employees have been deemed essential workers. Anyone can work remotely, said Manuel Villa, president of Via Technology.

It’s one of the big changes the company has made in the past two years, Villa said. “It’s a totally hybrid situation now,” he added.

Eighty-three percent of employees said they don’t think they need to be in an office to be productive. A large majority (89%) of workers believe their jobs should be flexible, and 54% said they would change jobs just to get the flexibility they want.

“It turns out it’s not just about the customer experience. It’s also about the experience of your employees,” Ragusa-McBain reminded attendees.

Double the security

Cyberattacks have occurred once every 39 seconds during the pandemic, and 94% of all malware was delivered via email, according to Ragusa-McBain.

“It was a field day for cybercriminals. They took their oldest tricks from the book and they targeted those who were susceptible because it was a time of panic and insecurity,” he said. she declared.

Indeed, before the pandemic, the majority of people did not work from home and therefore used secure devices. “I think now more than ever we have this unique opportunity to look at what’s happening in the world around you and the cost. Each cyberattack can be valued at over a million dollars or so. And every 14 seconds , a company falls victim to a ransomware attack,” she said. Only 50% of MSPs have cybersecurity insurance, she added.

MSPs need to define their incident response plan because an attack or breach is no longer a matter of “if,” Ragusa-McBain said.

The community

Cisco has always been a vendor of choice for partners and the pandemic and changing market dynamics have only reinforced the company’s commitment to the channel and MSPs in particular, Ragusa-McBain said.

Cisco wants to create an inclusive community that brings partners together to share experiences and feedback. The company is hosting virtual and in-person meetings to talk about topics that are at the heart of MSPs’ concerns, such as pricing, marketing, mergers and acquisitions and taking business to the next level, she said.

“What have we missed the most during the pandemic? Getting together in a room, seeing your friends, taking off your industry hats and being one with the people who live with you in the trenches,” she said.

About William G.

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