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CRN Channel Conference, MSP North: Managed Service Providers (MSPs) missing out on millions of pounds of vendor funding

Millions of pounds worth of market development fund (MDF) budgets are being left untouched by managed service providers (MSPs) due to a lack of awareness about what is available to them. This is the key takeaway from the recent CRN Channel Conference, which revealed that very often, MSPs are unaware of the potential funding available from technology vendors, which could help to drive sales and improve business. 

During a panel discussion between key marketing experts, which included our very own Head of Managed Services Robert Gibbons, delegates were told that vendors are sitting on considerable sums of money, which could be used by partners as part of their marketing campaigns. 

Some resellers and MSPs are missing out on funding from tier-one vendors and global organisations, and the process of claiming such funds is actually a lot easier than many realise. Many organisations have special budgets put aside for the very purpose of funding marketing campaigns for the smaller resellers that sell their products, but the key lies in accessing the funds available. 

Glen Robertson, Managing Director of channel marketing agency PureChannels and fellow panel member at the CRN Conference, went as far to say that one vendor had £2 million in unused funding that was left lying around because MSPs had failed to claim it. 

The key to securing such funding is to form strong relationships with vendors, while becoming better at communicating with them to secure the budgets. 

Steps to improving a marketing strategy 

Another issue on the agenda at the CRN Conference was the top tips for improving a marketing strategy, with a particular focus on the benefits of social media in creating a solid customer base. While many MSPs and resellers focus on customers who may be further down the sales funnel, it is vital for companies of this type to understand the importance of generating followers who could potentially turn into customers at a later date. 

One panel member, Paul Green - Founder of MSP Marketing Edge - stated the importance of the long game in a strong social media strategy. He said: “You have to start today so that three, four or five years down the line, when they are unhappy [with their current MSP] for some reason, they feel as though they know you.” 

The key to a strong marketing strategy is not to be half-baked. Pick the platform you prefer, whether it be Twitter, LinkedIn or Facebook, and spread your message consistently, not just once every three months. Even something as simple as targeting potential customers via email to wish them a Merry Christmas or a Happy Easter will ensure your business sticks in their mind. 

However, when creating a foolproof marketing strategy, it is essential to find a balance between strategic marketing messaging and bombardment. Nowadays, marketing has moved away from sending reams of information to potential customers in the hope they will pick up the phone, and more sophisticated planning is required. 

Glen Robertson put it nicely when he said: “At the moment, quality is winning, and that’s quality of communication, quality of consistency and quality of the messaging you are putting out.”

It is up to MSPs to speak to their target audience in a manner in which it is clear they understand their unique set of requirements and problems, rather than a catchall approach. Audiences today are growing smarter to marketing messaging, and it is up to MSPs to use their knowledge of their customers to promote their services in an effective and approachable way. 



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