Our agency has been doing a lot of brand management and marketing work in the cybersecurity sector, thanks to some very successful partnerships with IT industry vendors.
And if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that misrepresentation is a huge problem when it comes to MSPs marketing cybersecurity. With no standards or regulations, what’s to stop a trunk-slammer who resells antivirus from saying they’re just as much a cybersecurity expert as the 30+ year veteran CISO who holds multiple cybersecurity credentials?
Not much, really. And this is part of the reason why it’s so hard to sell your clients the cybersecurity they actually need. There’s always someone willing to come along and lowball you to get the deal — regardless of what vulnerabilities it creates.
Unfortunately, we deal with this same problem in the sales and marketing business. We get the same type of people who pretend to be experts, resell a tool or two, and then brag about how much cheaper they are than agencies like ours.
And sometimes when it happens, I can’t help but take it personally. In my many years of marketing, I’ve heard dozens — perhaps hundreds — of stories about marketers and marketing companies that give the hard sell, slime their way into a contract, and then fail to deliver on the most basic promises they made. After a while, I just get sick of this happening because it makes my profession — and by extension me — look bad.
As an MSP, you totally get where I’m coming from.
How many times has someone slid in between you and a prospect and stolen your new client away, and you knew for certain they were cutting corners and providing substandard service to get the deal? It sucks.
Well. With that being said, let me walk you through the webinar that Jamie and myself just listened to. Out of kindness, I’m not going to name the company who delivered the webinar, but there’s a pretty obvious hint in the title of this post.
So the owner of the company began by talking about all of the services they provide in terms of LinkedIn marketing. Right off the bat, we’re about 99% sure he’s reselling a service called Cleverly because we actually listened to their sales pitch a few days ago and it sounded exactly the same. The price he quoted in the webinar just happens to be double what you can get it for directly from Cleverly — which is what they recommend resellers jack the price up to.
We decided NOT to use Cleverly because it simply didn’t do enough to be worth our clients’ money. We already do much, much more in social media marketing and lead generation than Cleverly can offer. Honestly, we didn’t think it was worth the ~$650 it would cost us, so doubling that for resale was a hard pass.
So most of the way through the webinar sales pitch, this guy hasn’t added much value to Cleverly’s base offering, if anything. Okay, so people resell tools to make money. What’s the big deal?
Well, the competitor said something that bothered me: “we’re doing all of this for $1250 — and some companies are charging as much as $3000-$5000 for the same thing”.
The same thing?
We charge in that upper price range, sure…but I can assure you it’s not for the same thing. Not even remotely close.
And that’s why this webinar irked me. Charging less is fine. But telling an outright lie designed to stop someone from hiring a full-service agency and instead choose an inferior service? That’s just dishonest.
Let’s first look at how we do a much better job at LinkedIn marketing:
First of all, Cleverly farms out their content writing. Considering the owner of the company told us they have almost no experience in the MSP space, that’s a bad start. We write everything in-house. Our staff has had decades of experience in the MSP space, and I’m one of the most qualified copywriters you will ever meet. (At this point, I’ve had so many people tell me this that I have no shame in saying it.)
They also don’t include the creation of any supporting content. No ebooks, infographics, blog posts, webinars — nothing. Our LinkedIn efforts are extremely successful because of the content we create to share. Without that, the messages and InMails are kind of pointless.
This competitor also says they harvest qualified contacts from LinkedIn at a rate of 300/week or less. We also source contacts from LinkedIn for our clients but at about triple that rate. We then run our lists through two different database tools to validate the email addresses so that your email sending reputation doesn’t get damaged.
If someone is giving you a list without doing this kind of validation, you will hate life later when the spam traps destroy your ability to do any email marketing.
Speaking of email marketing
We also do email marketing. It’s an integral part of the marketing strategy that we’ve spent years developing. (We show you this stuff on your first discovery call). This competitor didn’t mention email marketing at all, so it’s another reason why you’re not paying $1250 “for the same thing”.
We’ve built and managed multiple brands in the Channel.
Branding is an essential part of marketing. We’ve helped companies like MSP Overwatch™ go from an idea to a living, breathing (and revenue generating) brand. I’m sure you understand the amount of creativity and general business knowledge that’s required to do this.
Yes, creativity counts in marketing. But make sure the person you’re talking to is actually creative. And make sure they’re adding real value to anything they’re reselling you.
We build, manage, and SEO your website
Yeah, no mention of that from the competitor, either. When we charge $3000-$5000, it includes full-service website design and management, including the creation of SEO content and constant updating.
Why? Because your website is the hub of your digital marketing, and anyone who is NOT integrating your website into your broader strategy is losing you opportunities. Period.
We’re a growth agency, not a marketing agency
Meaning that we provide many sales enablement benefits that don’t fit into the purview of a marketing agency. That includes development of your sales process, sales training, building your sales team, and essentially anything else that falls within the buyer’s journey.
I’ll also add that our sales enablement department is led by Jamie Williams, a 20+ year MSP sales veteran who actually knows your industry and understands the unique challenges of an MSP sales force.
We wrote the program, so we can work outside of it
Our team developed our approach to marketing and sales enablement. Others have tried duplicating it. Competitors, like the one we just listened to, even “borrow” some of our messaging to try to sound like us.
But they are not us.
And because we wrote the playbook (literally), we know how to work outside of it when necessary. When we develop a long-term strategy for a client, it includes room for testing new ideas and getting innovative.
Part of successful marketing is thinking outside the box and trying new things. We provide for that, and our track record for pulling off unique marketing plays is quite good.
We also work outside the program to maximize results whenever we see an opportunity to do so. For instance, we just created a new case study and sales letter for a client to be physically mailed to 50 highly-targeted and researched prospects in their area. We stuffed the envelopes and licked the stamps. Our client didn’t have to lift a finger.
We also create, host, and promote webinars for our clients that require zero effort on their part. Each one is bespoke — no duplicates or sharing of content between clients — and we provide the host, guests, platforms, content… everything.
Again, not the same as what you’re getting for $1250. Not a bit.
Choose the right growth agency
There’s nothing wrong with marketers and agencies being priced lower than we are. Different clients have different needs and budgets.
But the harmful disconnect comes up when people start throwing around that term “less money for the same thing” when you’re absolutely not getting the same thing. That’s when the sales pitch becomes unethical, and that’s also when you, the MSP who is just trying to get more business, gets a raw deal from a reseller who wants to compete on price and not experience or results.
Do your research. Compare fairly. Choose wisely!