Every year, we analyze dozens of different MSP websites – looking at key competitive factors such as monthly traffic, indexed pages, linking domains, automation, blogging, social media followers, and conversion paths.
Most of the MSP websites that we go through are in miserable shape – and the future will be even less kind.
Considering that many managed service providers have allowed their firms to become commoditized, by following overzealous channel program advice (“Clone me please so that I can get more MDFs!”) – and the various canned managed services marketing programs that sell the same blog posts and premium content to all of their clients. (In case you missed the memo, Google hates duplicate content with a passion and considers the practice web-spam.)
In this post, excerpted from the recording of the Inbound Revenue Acceleration Webinar for Managed Services & IT Consulting, we’ll look at where the buyer’s journey for IT consulting and managed services is headed in the near future and how to tell whether your MSP website is truly ready for the inevitable.
Where are we headed in the next one to three years?
And what are the seven signs that your website and entire digital marketing and sales strategy may become extinct very soon?
- Your sales reps never seem to arrive early enough in the buyer’s journey to really influence buying criteria. With up to 90% of the decision-making process in the coming years taking place before your best prospects will be ready for a sales conversation, this issue alone could doom your firm’s future. Your perceived differentiation is only relevant during the final 10% of the buyer’s journey. Why? Because your firm currently sits on the sidelines, reminiscing about the past, during the first 60% to 90% of the modern buyer’s journey for managed services.
- Your marketing team’s playbook is still highly dependent on results from email spam or the LinkedIn equivalent. If your marketing or sales team is trying to email people that you don’t have permission to email, this faux pas will get even more drastic slaps on the wrist – and completely trash your company’s email sender score and message deliverability. In denial that this is coming? A little while back, Google filed some patent paperwork to be able to connect the dots between email domain name reputation and the ability for websites to rank well on search engine results pages. In other words, if you’re one of the bad guys in the email world that buy lists and spam people, being a spam-hole is going to start impacting your organic search rankings. And since organic search factors even bleed over into Google AdWords Quality Score, spamming people doesn’t exactly future-proof your MSP website.
- Your company’s social media accounts haven’t been updated in months – or even years. You can’t win the search game without being active in social. Social is now a pretty major ranking signal for search engine results. Those little numbers that you see at the top of a blog post – for how many retweets a blog post got, how many LinkedIn shares a blog post got, or how many Facebook likes a blog post got, all of that matters. It’s definitely a ranking signal that impacts how your company is going to get found.
- Your company’s marketing and sales teams avoid each other like the plague. Within the next few years, in small- and mid-sized IT consulting and MSP firms, sales and marketing are going to cease to exist as separate departments. Those lines are going to disappear. And the two teams are going to be unified into the revenue team. We’re already seeing this happen in the mid-market IT space. We’re seeing marketing managers being promoted to oversee sales and marketing. We’re seeing high-performing sales reps being promoted into roles that oversee sales and marketing. Why? Because everyone needs to be aligned around the same revenue goal – especially in an era where marketing owns 70% to 90% of revenue generation – 70% to 90% of the buyer’s journey.
- You’ve decided that, since you don’t listen to podcasts, your company doesn’t need a podcast. What’s going to make this disruption even more of an issue? Podcasting will become more mainstream as people are going to have the ability to more easily listen to podcasts in their car, directly through new car radios.
- Your YouTube channel looks like a ghost town and you’d be hard-pressed to find more than a handful of embedded videos on your entire website. YouTube is going to become even more mainstream with more and more people watching YouTube video on their TVs and on mobile devices. Live video – Google Hangouts, Meerkat, and Periscope. All of these platforms are going to become even more popular. Google Hangouts recently announced a new website that’s making Google Hangouts even more mainstream.
- Your company’s MSP website has identical, or nearly identical, content as hundreds of other managed service provider websites. Personalization is going to become an even bigger issue. The one-size-fits-all, with the bland, corporate, sterile managed services website, where we’re treating all clients and potential clients as one-and-the-same is not going to work anymore. Because the personalization technology has come down to the point where it’s possible to provide an Amazon.com-like experience to your website visitors. And that can make an enormous difference to moving those website visitors along the buyer’s journey.
The Bottom Line
Once these strategies have gone from nice-to-have’s to mandatory requirements, the sales profession will change drastically.
At this stage, sales professionals are going to be forced to position themselves more like thought leaders.
What’s going to challenge and disrupt the traditional sales model?
The order-takers and the explainers are going to be largely gone. The MSP website content is going to be that much more effective, so there’s not going to be the need for order takers or explainers. All of that is going to be handled right on the website.
And true consultants are the ones that are actually going to dominate sales.
These are some really big changes that have happened over the past 10 years and are going to continue to become an even bigger factor in determining whether your IT consulting or MSP business stays relevant.
How many of these seven issues does your MSP website need to address – yesterday? Or are you in relatively good shape? Let us know what you’ve discovered in the Comments box below.
And if you need to make sure that your website and overall digital revenue-generation is ready for the future, make sure that you watch the full recording of Inbound Revenue Acceleration Webinar for Managed Services & IT Consulting.