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Frequently asked questions – Full Service Campaigns

Please find our answers below to common questions that arise around the delivery of our services and campaign expectations.

    Return on Investment and Success Measurement

Overview

Overview

The primary goal for the start of most campaigns (that are starting from cold – with no data, no insights or intelligence and little to no brand awareness) is to build a pipeline. Only then can qualified opportunities be sought. As your sales engagements are rarely transactional purchases, but a contractual or project-lead commitment (requiring reasonable consideration and timing) it can be more time consuming to work prospects from cold to qualified opportunity.

 

Quick-win opportunities may likely be acquired along the way, while the data is being engaged – if the message (and mostly the timing) works with the prospect at that moment in time.

 

To steer greater engagement and positive campaign outcomes, a multi-touch approach is best applied. Reaching contacts via email or social media alone is rarely enough. People still buy from people and a lot can be said for engaging prospects by phone – only with a human conversation can you qualify answers to profiling questions, build a rapport and further a relationship to the point of conversion.

The Numbers

The Numbers

Before any campaign is approached it is best to understand the size of the target market. This can be achieved by utilising ONS (Office for National Statistics) business activity reports, which can be filtered to identify the volume of businesses (by VAT and PAYE registrations) in a specific region, by size and by industry.

 

Even in this age of being almost entirely remote, traditional fully outsourced MSP customers still most commonly buy locally. This limits the reasonable reach for most MSPs to perhaps a 50-80 mile radius of their home base (location dependent), which in-turn limits the overall size of the target market to serve. Within that market you will have your own demographic that you best serve – that might be 5-30 users, or perhaps 15-50 users, but either way this will further reduce the scope of that local market.

 

From our research and campaign experience, 72% of small to midmarket businesses tell us that they outsource their IT and are in contract; 98% of those tell us that they are loyal or very happy with the service they receive from their MSP; and the remaining 28% of the market tell us that they ‘fully cover their IT in-house’ or have no formal IT function whatsoever.

 

Combining these numbers, we can appreciate there is clearly still an opportunity, however it is very focused on a specific market segment (limiting the overall number of available prospects to target) and with the majority of those prospects being within contract or do not yet have reason to question their relationship with their incumbent – an unfortunate fact is the number of qualified opportunities to be generated in the short-term are few in number.

 

Other campaign call to actions can be used to drive up the engagement with prospects, these however may generate a lower grade of lead quality – as ultimately (from a standard fully outsourced client) their switch of relationship will be intrinsically linked to the switch of their whole IT support arrangement and managed services, even if they have been engaged as a part of an alternative campaign message.

 

Despite this possibly pessimistic outlook, there is still considerable value to be obtained – with each new MSP customer being worth a healthy overall sum across their lifespan with you. To mitigate campaign challenges and to increase the numbers, which will ultimately aid in increasing the successful output from campaigns, it is our advice to adopt as broad of a target demographic as possible and employ a range of campaign messages, therefore utilising different methods of attracting interest in your services.

How do I measure campaign success?

Ultimately, you will be looking at your conversion rate and what those clients are worth in terms of monthly recurring revenue (MRR). However, there are some industry recommendations to consider when mapping out return on investment from any marketing activity:

 

  • Consider the number of months spent on marketing to-date to acquire those leads and divide that total cost by the number of leads to give you your cost per lead (CpL)
  • Consider the potential MRR of acquired leads x 60 months (as the average lifespan of an MSP client) = likely total overall value of business opportunities generated
  • Consider the same metric above for pipeline opportunities (not yet converted to tangible sales opportunities) to measure the potential ‘sat in the pot’
  • As you convert business, simply divide the total marketing spend to-date against the number of wins to-date to present you with your cost of acquisition (CoA)
  • The average CoA per net new customer within the MSP industry is £4,000.
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    It goes without saying that the CpL and CoA are going to be high in the early days and will begin to water down more evenly as a campaign matures – more opportunities can be generated and ultimately converted.

     

    Remember too that as you are conducting outbound marketing, engaging prospects that are not necessarily completely considering a new provider (and may not ‘know you from Adam’) your conversion rate will likely be less than your average conversion rate found for winning new business from inbound enquiries or referrals where the brand confidence is likely stronger.

    What expectations should I have for success?

    If we are completing a ‘full service’ on your behalf by delivering the sales and marketing elements combined, the following statement will be relevant for you.

     

    It is our ambition with all campaigns to evidence a return on investment following an initial 6-month run in period. (i.e. you will have hopefully closed business – or at least acquired reasonable opportunities of strength) that more than pay for the prior 6-months of campaign investment in their MRR overall value. This is the case in 75% of campaigns that we have delivered on.

     

    There are however a number of elements that influence the success of a campaign, however two factors are most relevant. size of the market and strength & number of local competitors. As we’re largely ‘playing the numbers game’ with an outreach campaign, the larger the market (in your target demographic) the greater the chance of opportunity to acquire new business in a reasonable time frame. The number and presence of your local competition will of course influence the likely success rate you will have in breaking-in to new prospects – if changes are afoot among your competitors, such as acquisitions or service issues with loss of staff etc, the greater the opportunity will be to break-down those existing relationships.

     

    It is a common misconception that more businesses exist out there than actually do – by the time you whittle down the number of firms by employee count, those that are independent (or have buying authority of their own if they are part of a group), those that are based local enough to consider your services, those that outsource their IT and then those that have room to consider a new partner (or have a contract end date approaching in a reasonable time-frame) the numbers surprisingly dwindle. When building out your demographic, consider the total number of ‘real’ businesses that exist within your catchment that meet that demographic. Try to be as realistic as possible about the size of prospect you wish to engage – setting the bar too high in terms of size of business, will considerably restrict your opportunity for growth.

      Operational Matters

    How does the onboarding process work?

    Our onboarding process is structured to a number of points listed below:

     

  • Agreement paperwork: our agreement will be sent to you for digital signature via HelloSign. Once signed, the following steps occur automatically after.
  • Onboarding form: a web form link will be emailed out to you, which we use as our way of collecting all of the fact based information we need (such as credentials to social media accounts and the website), along with other company information (such as USPs and target audience demographics). This form will store the access details within our password management tool discretely and populate the rest of our system fields to best help us deliver on your campaign.
  • Sendgrid setup: we use Sendgrid as a third-party SMTP service to securely and successfully mask an email address on your domain. We will share with you a number of CNAME entries to make on your domain to permit the successful masking.
  • Content calendar: we will then set about aligning messages from our content calendar to your campaigns and share that with you. Note that this may be subject to change – we are keen to be dynamic in altering campaign themes to suit current trends or timely messages (such as changes in work because of the COVID-19 pandemic).
  • Go-live: we will share with you our content calendar and begin the cycle of weekly news & social posts (if relevant to your service with us). Dependent on our current workload, your first block of campaign content (and any other assets we’re preparing for that as a part of your service with us) will follow in the days after.
  • Check-in: for full-service clients, we will have a check-in call after the first 4-6 weeks of campaign activity to discuss and review the progress of sales pitches from the calling activity to-date.
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    Ongoing support will then be made available from your account manager, limited to the range of retained services / hours from us.

    When is our campaign go-live date?

    Campaigns are usually ready for go-live within 2-3 weeks of onboarding. A go-live date will be confirmed with you at the point of sharing your content calendar once the messages have been arranged and the workload slotted into our schedule.

    How are activities scheduled?

    Despite operating a monthly billing cycle, we schedule activities in blocks of 6-weeks (we call these blocks Phases). Campaigns are arranged in this format for a few reasons:

     

    1. 6-weeks is always 6-weeks, months differ in length making it difficult for us to always fit the blocks of activity hours within a calendar month
    2. A month is often too short of a period to give a campaign message time to flourish – allowing enough emails and calling activity to hit prospects before it is sensible to review whether the campaign is getting traction or not.
    3. Where calling activity is concerned – we like to split activity out across a 6-week period to have timely touch points with people as & when they’re available, rather than bundling all of the activity within one shorter block

    How are the hours of activity used?

    If we are providing you with telemarketing activity among your services, this will take the lion share of the hours in each Phase. (As an average) time will be allotted to other recurring marketing activities (if we are providing these for you) per below:

    1. Weekly news posts to the blog and social channels – 35 mins/week
    2. Campaign blogs, social posts and emails – 7.5 hours/6-weeks
    3. Website maintenance & SEO best practices – 1.5 hours/month
    4. Other copy, design or website work requests – 2 hours/month

    How is the content personalised for us?

    Despite having to use the same themes and key messages between our client base (all operating within the same sector and providing the same services), all of our pieces of content are re-written uniquely for each client campaign. We use insights gained from our client at the onboarding stage to personalise content in the right tone of voice and using brand USPs.

     

    It is of course incredibly competitive to rank well on Google for some of the content topics used within campaigns, as there are literally thousands of organisations globally writing around the same points – between the vendors, distributors and other service providers. But with uniquely written content, there is no SEO conflict and despite the challenges, there are SEO benefits to your website. Not only that, it keeps your website current and gives you something educational, useful and engaging (in business language, not technical language) to use via email and social with prospects too.

    How are content topics / campaign messages selected?

    We build a content calendar that cycles between the key service / product areas served by the MSP community. There will also be opportunities to spur off of this as other topical and timely message circumstances arise.

     

    As we do not support conflicting MSPs in the same operating territory, there is little chance of clashing with similar content messages being posted by us to other sector businesses. That said, (where feasible), we work on a cycle of differing themes between our clients.

     

    We work closely with you on campaign messages and provide our advice on what we feel would work based on our experiences elsewhere, but are keen to seek your involvement and counsel on which messages we adopt.

    Can I scrutinise a proof of the content before it goes live?

    Yes, if you wish to authorise either just the campaign content theme and key messages (or the entire content that will be posted publicly) we can share proofs with you for sign-off before proceeding with the campaign theme.

     

    Please note that any delay in the sign-off or edits to content will delay the go-live of any campaign activity

    Are you able to post to my personal LinkedIn profile?

    No, unfortunately LinkedIn does not permit API-based tools to make posts to personal profiles. So we are unfortunately not able to post to these using our tools. We are able to post to the company profiles within LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. We do recommend that you share company posts from your own LinkedIn profile to generate more awareness and in-turn potentially expand your company page following.

    How does reporting work?

    We are in the process of rolling out access to our CRM, RADAR. Within RADAR you will find a dashboard that publishes ‘live’ statistics based on the services we provide for you. Please see the RADAR dashboard documentation to understand the specifics.