Joseph Lamb

Joseph Lamb

Joseph is a published author, a pioneer in the managed services industry and is currently serving as a facilitator for the Connectwise Evolve organization of peer groups, the CEO of RedVine Operations and co-owner of RedVine Marketing.

The Magic of 7 – Lead Generation for the MSP


Many Managed Service Providers (MSP) struggle with lead generation. It’s not their fault. Most MSP’s are founded by engineers, not sales people. While other industries have known how to do proper lead generation for decades, the MSP industry is quite new, typically small with limited budget, and quite frankly just don’t have the talent. Here are some tips that might help.

Early in my career, in a completely different industry, I was taught that there is a magic formula for generating leads. Many will say it is a numbers game—the more people you talk to the more effective you will be. While that might ring true in some regards, talking to more people isn’t always the highest and best use of your time (or your sales people’s time.)

The magic formula is called the “7 ways.” The idea is, you should have 7 different ways of doing outreach to new business happening at the same time, all the time. Let me break this down for you. Every method you have for communicating with a possible prospect is considered a sales channel. Social media is a channel. Cold calling is a channel. Your newsletter is a channel. Customer referrals are a channel. With that in mind, the 7 ways is as simple as sitting down and determine how many you are currently doing. If it is not at least 7, add some more.

You might say, “well we don’t market that way,” or “we like to do networking to generate new leads.” That is just fine, and you should continue doing that. But to be effective, you need to do more than just one or two. Now there is nothing magic about the number 7. You can do eight, or nine, or ten, but you should do at least seven.

Got your list done yet? What is on it? Networking? Lunch and learns? Cold email drip campaigns? Trade shows? All of them are fine. Now determine how much you are spending in each category. Determine a baseline. If you are not spending enough in a particular category, and you believe it could be effective, raise your spending. Once you have 7 methods of outreach and you are investing in all of them, measure their effectiveness. If you are not effective, increase your budget in each category to see if you can make it work for you. Once you find the one that is working, double what you are spending in that category without lowering the amount in the others.

Once you have leads coming in, review the success of each category monthly and determine which ones you should keep doing and which ones should be replaced with something else. But don’t make the mistake of thinking you can just focus on one and let the others go. You need all 7 channels working at the same time. Spend some time each month thinking about how the channels work together. You might feel the drip campaigns are not working, but are they putting your company name in front of prospects to warm them up for the call you will make later that week? You might think the newsletter you do monthly to existing customers isn’t effective, but is it possible a client gave you a referral only because they remember seeing something about a referral program in your newsletter? As you review, make every effort to see how they “could” be connected. You might not always see the connection. This is why consistency is important.

So just to recap:

1. Build a list of 7 ways to reach new customers.
2. Build a budget and invest in all 7 at the same time.
3. Give it some time and measure. Review at least monthly, but try to make changes only quarterly.
4. Invest heavily in the ones that pay off, without decreasing your spend on the others.
5. In your review, try to understand how they connect with one another.
6. Replace ineffective methods only have you have given it plenty of time and attention and see that it is not helping.
7. Repeat forever. Lead Generation never stops.

While this may feel like an oversimplification of the problem, the issues within MSP lead generation are often a lack of trying. Organizations don’t know what to do so they do very little. If you take the time to build out a plan using the 7 ways, and managed it effectively, it will pay off. Happy Hunting.

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