What is a Sales Funnel?
MSP marketing is primarily geared at increasing satisfied customers at predictable, continuous intervals. A “sales funnel” is a way of visualizing this metaphysical process of courting, closing, and continued service. Basically, imagine a funnel— like you’d use to pour oil into the receptacle under the hood of your car. The funnel leads people toward closing with your company and entering into a working relationship. Several steps characterize the funnel approach. The client attains:
The marketing your MSP does builds awareness. This is, in many ways, one of the most important steps, but you must remember that goal transitions will develop as the process continues. What you’re trying to accomplish through making potential clients aware is different than what you want to do when clients have been brought on board your operation. Advocacy marketing strategies differ from those of awareness. With awareness, the phrase “any publicity is good publicity” has some heft to it. Granted, you want PR that portrays your company positively, and exposure that is wanted, not exposure which is incidental and unwanted. Still, even with unwanted exposure, people may get the name of your business lodged in the back of their head, forget where they encountered it before, and go with your services as a result. To boil it all down: building awareness is an essential step in getting clients down the funnel to advocacy.
The kind of awareness your MSP marketing efforts facilitate is that which will either induce or reduce client consideration. So you want to have positive awareness, certainly; but part of pushing consideration further down the funnel requires contact. You may construct a protocol of contacting potential clients at intervals.
Clients may use some of your services and begin to develop a preference toward you. Or, as they consider multiple options, they may lean more toward your MSP. What will make a client lean further toward you is data which demonstrates advantages. Of course, you also want to woo the client a little bit. You want there to be some aesthetic. Provide useful information that exposes common problems and solves them. Build awareness and consideration which centers on facilitating preference toward your company.
Actual purchase will come from aware and considered preference over time. This process takes longer with MSPs than sales life-cycles among other fields, which is another reason it’s integral for you to continuously contact the customer as part of your marketing protocol. But once purchase has happened, you can’t drop the ball. You’ve got to make it apparent in the client’s minds that they’ve made the right purchase.
If you do a good enough job drawing clients down the sales funnel toward a purchase, and then delivering on the services you sell, then they’ll soon become loyal to your brand— and naturally.
Loyalty leads to advocacy— just look at Apple and Windows users for reference. Build that kind of advocacy with your clients, and they’ll market for you voluntarily.