Sales & Marketing Quick Guides for MSPs: Lunch and Learns

61% of channel partners say they plan to reinvest revenue during 2022 to build new sales capabilities, and 45% are making new investments to improve their marketing expertise. How is your MSP remaining competitive in a renewed fight to gain SMB attention?

The Channelnomics Channel Forecast 2022 report reveals the highest investment priorities for channel partners are making up for sales lost in previous years. Due to the pandemic, MSPs lost clients as a result of business interruptions and closings, and now 62% of MSPs expect to grow primarily from new logos – up from 49% in 2021. At the same time, the Wingman MSP Growth Survey finds that two in five MSPs express concern that limited time and resources impede their ability to find new business. In the same survey, 77% of MSPs say their current workload is at or over capacity.

Sales and marketing is often a pain point for SMBs in any industry, but the widening tech gap and race to acquire tech-savvy sales talent, puts a strain on internal resources across departments. Make the most of the sales and marketing resources you do have with the latest and greatest strategies being used today.

Axcient has compiled four sales and marketing quick guides that cover lunch and learns, LinkedIn, referrals, and upsells to give MSPs easy-to-digest and actionable takeaways for making the most of their campaigns. Utilize these quick guides to get the biggest client bang for your sales and marketing bucks.

In this quick guide:

  • Get 6 tips that MSPs can use immediately to create a lunch and learn event that provides ROI.
  • Examine the impact of event logistics on attendance and how to avoid freeloading lunch surfers.
  • See how these same tips can be applied to virtual events to expand your audience without travel.

6 Tips for Lunch and Learn Lead Gen Success

This style of greet ’em and feed ’em event has been around forever, and it’s still a successful tactic – depending on how it’s done. Not only is it an effective way to bring in new business, but you can also invite existing clients for cross-selling opportunities, further establish your brand, and increase thought-leadership. Axcient’s Senior Marketing Manager, Katlyn Langer, has executed over 1,000 lunch and learns and has six tips for making it a success:

“Free lunch is a commodity. Free education is priceless.”

– Kaitlyn Langer, Senior Marketing Manager at Axcient

  1. Deliver on Content: Tap into the pain points and challenges of your target audience and excite them with unique, thought-provoking, evergreen content. Offer SMBs a new solution to an old or emerging issue, a different perspective on a trending topic, or access to insights from subject matter experts.
  2. Utilize Your Network: Including guest speakers like product owners and vendors, industry leaders, and channel influencers offers a variety of benefits for everyone involved. Co-presenters bring additional prospects, content, marketing dollars, and thought-leadership that can improve sales strategies and build on your reputation in the channel.
  3. Make Mouths Water: Competition for SMB clients is high, and sandwiches in the conference room doesn’t attract an audience like steaks at a fancy restaurant. The most important part of hosting an event is getting people to show up. What you put into food and venue will have a direct impact on attendance, the business opportunities you get, and the lasting impression attendees leave with.
  4. Don’t Scrimp on Logistics: Everything from the invite and the landing page, to the registration fields, event reminders, check-in, and follow-up have an impact on the success of your event. Here are some quick things to consider at every step:
    • Use an event management tool to create professional-looking registration pages, customize qualifying information, and manage the event behind the scenes.
    • Ask qualifying questions during registration to learn more about your audience and customize sales messages in the future.
    • Require a meal choice selection to reinforce the decision to register and show up to the event.
    • Send reminder emails and calls in the days leading up to the event.
    • Encourage attendees to bring a colleague if attendance is low.
    • Measure everything including registrations versus attendance, cost of the event in total as well as per lead, post-event email engagement metrics, additional meetings, and conversions.
  1. Not Everyone is Invited: The economics of lunch and learns work, but only if you’re educating and feeding the right people. Identify appropriate attendees on the registration page and in promo materials. Also, include a disclaimer stating your discretion to cancel registrations if they do not qualify for the event. Qualifying questions around type of business, position in the company, region, business value, and budget, need to be asked during registration.
  2. Keep the Conversation Going: Follow-up after the event is enormously important to keep attendees interested, thinking, and talking about the content presented. Your sales team needs to understand what was discussed at the lunch and learn and have a plan for approaching attendees with more value. Phone calls, emails, content distribution, demos, trials, and additional meetings are all part of closing the deal and realizing the ROI on lunch and learns.

How Axcient Is Helping MSP Events

As a 100% MSP-only solution provider, Axcient is dedicated to enabling our MSP partners with more than just best-in-class business continuity and disaster recovery. The Axcient Marketing Portal (AMP) provides partners with unlimited access to a variety of sales and marketing materials to help MSPs grow their business and brand identity. Specifically related to lunch and learns and other events is the opportunity for marketing development funds (MDFs) from Axcient.

Here’s how it works… Qualifying MSPs can submit a proposal for MDFs, or additional budget, along with an Axcient product expert or industry leader in order to maximize in-person events, webinars, presentations, and sponsorship opportunities. Axcient invests in our partners by acting as an extension of their own sales and marketing team. If the MDF is approved, Axcient works with our MSP partner to provide them with the funds and content necessary for a successful event.

Additionally, the AMP provides Axcient partners with brandable assets, customizable email campaigns, social media posts, and detailed marketing analytics. Partners can easily access the AMP any time through their x360 Portal. See the AMP in action during a live demo that teaches partners how to implement analytic tools, apply for MDFs, and start customizing campaigns.

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Check out Part 2 of 4: Sales & Marketing Quick Guides for MSPs: LinkedIn

Next month we’re talking about the importance of LinkedIn company pages for MSPs and other social media strategies. Subscribe to the Axcient Blog or follow us on social media so you don’t miss what’s next.

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Carissa Kohn Johnson Axcient

About the Author: Carissa Johnson // Product Marketing Manager, Axcient

Carissa Kohn-Johnson has a background in behavioral and physical healthcare technology and information technology and currently works as the Product Marketing Manager for Axcient. She has a lot of MSP Channel experience from planning and attending hundreds of conferences and tradeshows, and found her passion in technology, and working with MSPs in particular. She serves on the Information Services Advisory Board for her community and feels most at home with other technology-forward people. Connect with her on LinkedIn – perhaps you can contribute to the Axcient blog?

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