Just about every MSP views the sales leads they get through referrals and the Internet almost as the Holy Grail for marketing.
They will swear by this lead source as if it can never go wrong and refuse to hear about other IT lead generation strategies.
However, are referrals and internet leads really all they’re cracked up to be?
When you first hear the phone ring or see a website form pop up on your email there is always a feeling of excitement that rushes over you as this could be a possible sale.
Yet too often when you speak with the prospect you’ll find out most of the time they are vastly far from being a qualified lead.
I can’t tell you all the different types of companies that call us to find out about our marketing services that turn out not to even be a managed services provider, even though that’s the only type of company we represent.
In fact, the first referral we ever received for our computer business was probably the worst possible prospect we could have meet with since they were far too large and under budget to ever be able to afford managed services.
The next thing you have to watch out for once you get a qualified lead is that it can be very difficult to get them to take the next step in the sales process. For example if they contact you by phone then your goal should be, as an MSP, to set a face-to-face meeting.
However, a large majority of these types of prospect are just tire kickers who want to know only the price and refuse to let a salesman have a ghost of a chance on every persuading them of the value of your services.
Finally, while it is true that once you overcome all these obstacles and weed out the garbage along with all the tire kickers you can usually close the leads that are left over fairly easily.
Yet the problem with this scenario is that there are far too few sales leads left over after this elimination process. The cold hard reality is that coming by a really qualified prospect that is willing to go through the sales cycle with a referral or internet lead can be extremely hard to find.
Of course, once you finally close a sale from these sources it usually feels like it was all worth the while since after all you didn’t have to ‘pay’ anything for the leads.
John Black is the Marketing Director at MSP Telemarketing and has over 10 years experience marketing on behalf of managed services providers.