For MSPs, having a talented staff and a robust suite of technology and service offerings only gets you so far—you have to let prospective customers know your company exists and what you have to offer. Regular marketing through various channels is a crucial part of getting that message out, but many MSPs struggle to measure just how successful a given campaign has been.
Getting solid marketing metrics will help MSPs justify the cost of a campaign, but it can also help guide future efforts and save money that might otherwise be wasted on an ineffective approach.
For established MSPs, marketing campaigns will fall into two broad buckets: those targeted at new prospects (to close new sales) and those targeted at existing customers (to sell new services and keep clients engaged).
Gauging the success of these efforts will require looking at slightly different metrics. However, it’s important to remember that entirely accurate reporting on these programs is not possible. You simply cannot track every dollar spent back to sales, and even the tracking you do have access to is not telling the entire story. Turning a prospect into a qualified lead requires more than a dozen interactions and touchpoints. Many of these interactions build on one another in ways that will not be apparent in reporting.
Marketing to New Prospects
Marketing to new prospects can be measured in several ways. For email, web advertising, and other campaigns, MSPs will want to look at impressions, opens and click-throughs, and the performance of call-to-action items like filling out a form, requesting to be contacted, etc. Also, look at bounces and landing page interactions. For example, if you get a lot of click-throughs but very little engagement once the prospect arrives at your page, the campaign will need to be adjusted to encourage more activity.
MSPs should also track the growth rate of their customer and prospect databases. Following the conversion rate of those leads against actual sales will help you determine whether you’re getting any value from the campaign—how much did you spend versus how much revenue you brought in from those specific leads. Depending on how long the sales cycle is, it may take months to determine the true success of a particular campaign.
Current Customer Marketing
Marketing to current customers requires a slightly different approach, as some of this activity is not directly tied to sales. In some cases, MSPs provide news, updates, new offers, and other information that keeps the client engaged and helps show the MSP’s value.
For more sales-driven campaigns, you would need to track the same metrics as with new prospects, but some data may need to come from the customer relationship management (CRM) system. For example, a current client may see a campaign and call their rep directly or send an email rather than clicking on a link. In that case, the campaign worked, but that activity will not be captured instantly.
Define Goals and Metrics Upfront
Measuring the effectiveness of a marketing program also requires the MSP to define terms clearly. For example, calling someone a lead may mean different things to different people, so make sure everyone on the team (including any outside marketing firms) understands what will count as a qualified lead and what does not.
You also need clear goals. For example, if you’re simply trying to build brand visibility, increased web traffic and email opens may be a key metric. On the other hand, those metrics aren’t necessarily helpful if you’re targeting specific revenue figures.
Remember, too, that the number of sales generated does not necessarily reflect only the quality of the marketing effort. For example, if you get a high response rate from the wrong prospects, you may be hitting an incorrect list with a great campaign. Or, if conversion rates don’t match the level of engagement, it may be the sales process that needs tweaking, not the marketing campaign.
Achieving marketing success can be frustrating, but with the right investment level and clearly defined goals and metrics, MSPs can improve effectiveness and grow their business. In addition, it’s vital to have a holistic view of the results—not just from automated tracking but also from CRM data and information from the sales and marketing team. That will ensure MSPs can build a good program and quickly adjust when something isn’t working.
Lindsay Faria is Senior Director of MSP Marketing – Americas for Barracuda MSP.