Episode 98: Should MSPs buy cold data?

Episode 98: Should MSPs buy cold data?

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Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast
Episode 98: Should MSPs buy cold data?
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In this week’s episode

  • Is is possible to buy cold data and turn it into clients for your MSP? This week Paul deep dives into what type of data you could buy and how best to use that data for prospecting
  • Also on the show this week: When you achieve your business goals, will that give you the lifestyle you most want? Put another way, are your business goals aligned with the vision for your life? Paul explains why they need to be linked
  • And there are TWO recommendations for the same inspirational leadership author this week, both from Paul’s featured guest Jonno White and fellow MSP John Clark

Featured guest

Jonno White is this week's guest on Paul Green's MSP Marketing Podcast

Thank you to Jonno White from Clarity for joining Paul to talk about how to deal with conflict and difficult people within your MSP.

Jonno is the Founder and Principal Consultant at Clarity, a consultancy based in Brisbane, Australia. Jonno is also the author of a new book – ‘Step Up or Step Out: How to deal with difficult people even if you hate conflict’ and he is passionate about investing in people to become everything they’re meant to be. The book is also available at a special price on the Clarity website.

Connect with Jonno on LinkedIn.

Show notes

  • Out every Tuesday on your favourite podcast platform
  • Presented by Paul Green, an MSP marketing expert
  • In discussing his experience with buying cold data, Paul mentioned Selectabase who are a reseller of Experian data
  • Paul mentioned The Checker as one tool for scrubbing cold data
  • Check out Paul’s in-depth guide on using cold data
  • Find out more about Paul Green’s MSP Marketing Edge
  • Register for a free copy of Paul’s book
  • Paul’s featured guest Jonno White mentioned one of his favourite leadership authors, Patrick Lencioni
  • Thank you to John Clark from Solutions Shared for recommending the book Getting Naked, A Business Fable by Patrick Lencioni
  • On October 5th Paul will be joined by Adrian Savage from Deliverability Dashboard to talk about how to increase the chances of your emails being delivered
  • Got a question from the show? Email Paul directly: hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com

Episode transcription

Voiceover:
Fresh every Tuesday for MSPs around the world. This is Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast.

Paul Green:
Hi there. And welcome to Episode 98. Here’s what we got coming up in this week’s show.

Jonno White:
I thought I was doing the best thing for me and for them but ended in a lot of pain for me, and a lot of pain for them. And that had me starting a search going there must be a better way to deal with someone when it’s really difficult for both of us.

Paul Green:
We’re also going to be talking about whether or not your MSP should buy cold data. Is it a good way to reach prospects by literally buying their contact details? Plus, we’ll have another book suggestion at the end of the show. And if you haven’t read my book on MSP marketing yet, I’ll tell you how you can get your hands on a free copy.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast.

Paul Green:
There’s very little that I do outside of the MSP world these days, but now and again, I get perhaps a speaking engagement or a chance to consult with someone outside of our world. A few weeks ago, I did a talk to a group of dentists in Birmingham, in the UK. I used to work with dentists more than five years ago, and I don’t really know a huge amount about their world now, but the organisers of this event wanted someone to come and talk about work-life balance and achieving things and marketing and all of that kind of stuff. And I do enjoy doing a talk like that. So I went along and I did my couple of hours and it was really good fun. And during the break of my session, I was talking to one of the dentists that had been in the audience and he was telling me just how busy he was and how he had no time whatsoever for anything because he was just doing dentistry, dentistry, dentistry all day and night practically.

Paul Green:
Can you think of anything worse than spending all day and night getting covered in the powdered bone of other people? It’s just weird that is. Anyway, he was saying how busy he was, but it was all for a purpose. He was saying it was all to build a new life for him and his family and to invest in property and to build up assets. And he was very much focused on building something huge for his family. And I asked him something which challenged him. The challenge was this. I said, “So everything that you’re doing with your business right now, doesn’t that fit into the vision that you have for your life?” Now, what I meant with that was essentially was his business goal aligned with his life vision? You see not many of us think enough about this, but if you think about your life, you probably have things that you want to do in the future.

Paul Green:
And they may be intangible things. We call these a vision for the future. For example, I’d love to scuba dive and I don’t mean two weeks doing a PADI course on holiday. I mean, properly scuba dive, like become an expert at it, an absolute master in warm oceans somewhere. And to have the cash and the time to be able to do that for a number of months every year, that means I’ve got to have business assets, which A, allow me to work anywhere and B, allow me to have an income stream whether or not I turn up at the business. So when I look at my business goals, I’m very much focused on what I’m doing here, does it tie me to the UK or does it allow me to travel? And does it generate for me, if not now, then in the future, can it generate for me, income streams, which will pay me to go and do something else, something I want to do with my life.

Paul Green:
And nine times out of 10, most of my business goals, they do match up to that life vision. And this is what I asked that dentist. I said to him, “So the things that you’re doing now, that the growth that you’re trying to get within your business now, does that match up to the vision for your life?” And he didn’t actually have an answer for that because he hadn’t really thought about a longterm vision for his life. I mean, he was in his early forties, certainly at that point where you start to think about the long-term future and he’d got some material stuff. He’d got his Porsche or whatever car he’d got, but beyond having a few material things and a few more extra properties, there was no vision for his life. And I suggested to him that that weekend, he went home and talked to his wife and talked to his kids. He’d got one older child and one younger child, so perhaps just the older child.

Paul Green:
And talked about what do we want to do with our lives? What’s our vision for the future? I suspect that his kids would like to see more of him. And it’s just a guess, but it didn’t sound like he was at home a great deal. And also there’s being at home, but you’re home physically, but not home mentally, aren’t you? You’re familiar with that I’m sure. It’s where you’re in the room, but your mind is somewhere else. We’re terrible for that as business owners. And I suspect that this busy dentist did this all the time, that when he was there with his family, his mind was elsewhere. So I suggested he do that with his partner and they just look at their life vision, what do they want to achieve in the future? What kind of lifestyle do they want to live?

Paul Green:
Whether you believe that we have more lives or not, let’s assume that we only have one life now, right? This is the one life. So shouldn’t we maximis e it? Shouldn’t we do the most that we can to enjoy our life? And that’s not just about work. That’s about making sure that everything is in balance. I love the concept of the happy balance where you make sure you have enough cash, you make sure you have enough time, you make sure you’ve got your family, you make sure that you’re having some fun. And finally, the final ingredient of the happy balance is meaningful work. And if you have a way out of whack balance where perhaps you’re working far too hard, or maybe even you’re not doing enough and you’re kind of a little bit bored, that’s when we as people stop being fully rounded people. You’ve got to get your version of the happy balance absolutely right for you.

Paul Green:
So if you haven’t done this before, go home, talk to your other half, your life partner, not your business partner, your life partner. What’s the vision for your lives? What would you like to do more of? Is it traveling? Is it just walking the dog more? Is it scuba diving? Hang-gliding? Golf? Whatever it is that you guys want to get into. Where do you see yourselves in the future with your lives? And then look very, very closely at your MSP. The goals that you’re pursuing in your MSP, do they really match up to where you want to go with your life?

Voiceover:
Here’s this week’s clever idea.

Paul Green:
Every now and then one of my clients in the MSP Marketing Edge will ask me, “Hey, is it really possible to buy cold data and actually turn that into clients?” And the short answer to that is in the short term, no, not really. It’s unlikely. If you do get someone who becomes a client straight off the back of cold data, you will be the exception rather than the rule. However, in the long term, yes, you can. I do believe you can turn cold data into clients, but you need to warm up the data. Because if you think about it, there are so many conditions that have to be right for anyone to switch from their incumbent MSP over to you. They have to be so frustrated with their incumbent, that they’re prepared to go through the perceived pain of switching.

Paul Green:
And we know that a lot of people stay with their MSP because of something called inertia loyalty. This is the thing that keeps someone in a situation that they’re 100% happy with because they perceive it’s far more work and it’s much more difficult to move from their incumbent MSP to someone new. So it’s perceptually easier for them not to act. So a prospect has got to be so frustrated with their incumbent MSP that they’re prepared to go through the pain of switching. Wouldn’t it be great if you could meet dozens of people who are at that exact stage? So you can, that’s the reality, but it’s not really the correct stage to start trying to build a relationship with them. It’s not too late by this stage, but you’ll be in competition with everyone else that they’re talking to.

Paul Green:
So I believe you have to build a relationship with people before they get to that stage. Because the other factor that has to be right is they have to decide that their business matches yours. This is about them and not you. And this is where your new marketing skills come in. Before they ever pick up the phone or fill in a form or hit live chat, or book a Calendly with you, they’re going to make a decision about your business based on your website, your social media presence and your overall digital footprint.

Paul Green:
Now what makes this situation even more difficult is that the people you want to reach are not educated buyers. And I don’t mean that they’re unintelligent. Of course they’re smart people, but they’re uneducated about technology. They’re uneducated about what it is that you sell. They don’t know what they don’t know. So they’re not making cognitive decisions to switch from one MSP to another. They’re making emotional decisions. In fact, the vast majority of prospects that are looking at you are making emotional decisions about whether to buy from you or not. So can you see now why buying some cold data and sending a couple of emails to that data is just not going to tick all the boxes. It’s not going to help you build a relationship with someone or help them to realise that you are the answer to all of their problems.

Paul Green:
What we’ve got to do is get the right message in front of the right person at the right time. And of course you can cut through this with advertising, Facebook advertising, Google ads, that puts you in front of the right people at the right time at the point they’re ready to buy. But I believe for most MSPs, it’s better to have a long-term approach to marketing. And that’s about building multiple audiences and then building relationships with those audiences using multiple touch points. So let me tell you about a four-step process that I’ve used several times in business. And I’ve taught this to hundreds of hundreds of MSPs. It’s not a quick win, but it can turn cold data into clients. You’ve just got to put the work in.

Paul Green:
So there are four steps to this. And the first step is to go and buy the right quality of cold data. If you’re offered a suspiciously cheap database and you don’t really know the company that’s selling it, walk away. It’s probably a very old distressed database that’s been sold thousands of times. Here in the UK, I’ve bought data a number of times from Selectabase. They are a reseller of Experian data and I’ve found their data to be pretty good and the customer service to be excellent as well. In the U S I don’t really have anyone that I can recommend right now. I’ve bought several sets of data from the US and it’s all been a bit rubbish. So in fact, if you have a data broker in the US that you can recommend to me, please do drop me an email, hello@paulgreensmspmarketing.com.

Paul Green:
Now, step two, once you’ve got some of that data, you have to scrub it. So this is an optional stage. Personally, I don’t bother doing this because we spend good money on good quality data. But if you’ve acquired some data, perhaps you’ve scraped it off Google or acquired it off LinkedIn or some other way, then you would clean that data before you start emailing it. There are a number of reasons why you do this primarily to do with email deliverability and costs. So if you’re emailing people and you get lots of bounces because the email addresses are dead or the person behind the email address is dead, that can have an affect on your email deliverability long-term. So scrubbing is literally a process of getting someone like a virtual assistant to look at the email addresses. You could run them through a tool. There’s a number of tools. There’s one called The Checker, which you could have a look at, or at the very least you could go to the the domain name of the company in the email address and just see if there’s actually a website at that domain name.

Paul Green:
If you’re in the UK, you could even go to Companies House and see whether the person is still active within that company. There are a number of different things you can do, but don’t you do it yourself, get a virtual assistant to do it for you. Now, step three is where you start to email people, and there are loads of different ways to do this. So a lot of it rotates around your CRM, your customer relationship manager, like MailChimp for example, and how much work you’ve already done on it. So every MSP should have a core CRM that they’re using to build up their prospects, but you’ve got to protect that core CRM. So you’ve got a couple of different options for you. Option one, if you’re at the very beginning of your CRM journey and you don’t yet have a CRM, then your option is just to add the cold data to your CRM.

Paul Green:
Now, I don’t recommend this for most people because there is an inherent danger in doing it. For example, if you buy 1000 email records and import them into your CRM, and then you email them the first time and a proportion of people hit the spam complaint button, there’s the potential your CRM will say “Hang on a second. This person’s just imported data. They’ve had complaints. This is a spammer.”And they’ll just put your account on pause. And that’s why most people who choose to do this use a second CRM, which we call a burner CRM. So this is your second option. You have a second CRM. You import your cold data into that. So let’s say your main CRM is ActiveCampaign. And then you buy MailChimp as a burner CRM, as a second CRM. So what you do is you import the cold data into your burner CRM, and you send them emails and the emails are trying to get them to opt into your main CRM.

Paul Green:
So from your burner CRM, you’d send an email saying something like, “Hey, I’ve got a book here on email security which I’d like to give away to you. All you got to do is go here and fill in your details.” And when they fill in their details, they’re filling in a form which actually goes to your main CRM. So any spam complaints will only affect your burner CRM. You can always dump that and get a new one, but you’re protecting your main CRM because you’re building your database only with people who are choosing to opt in. Now, I know that this seems crazy that we’re emailing people from one CRM to get them to opt into another CRM. But this is the most robust way of turning purchased cold data into your own warm data.

Paul Green:
Now, there is a hybrid version, which is option three, where you have the two CRMs and you warm up the cold data in the burner CRM for a few weeks and then you shift it over to your core CRM a few weeks down the line. And this actually speeds things up a bit because when you’re emailing people the first time from the burner CRM, they’re going to hit the spam complaint button or opt out or get angry about it. They’ll do it in the first two or three emails. So if you get those first two or three emails done in your burner CRM, and then you could just export the data, the warmed up data from your burner CRM, and import it into your main CRM. Now this is still has an element of risk attached to it. I’ve got to be honest. I wouldn’t do that if I had an MSP. I wouldn’t do that with any business. I like the long, hard, slow way, which I know means I don’t have the biggest list in the world, but I have a very engaged list and I have very, very few spam complaints.

Paul Green:
Step four then. Once you’ve got some of this cold data to opt into your database, well, that’s just the start point because you’ve then got to build a relationship with them. And that’s about generating great content, putting it in front of them all of the time and generating multiple touch points. Remember people only buy when they’re ready to buy. So your goal is to be in front of them and have them warmed up on that day. Now I’ve rushed over that. And in fact, there’s a more in-depth guide on this on my website. If you go on to paulgreensmspmarketing.com and search for cold data, you’ll find a very in-depth article about this.

Paul Green:
And I must mention as well, that all of the things that I’ve talked about here, all of the tools that you need, things like a book on email security and content to email people on a regular basis, well you can get those from my service, which is called mspmarketingedge.com. But if you’re going to do this, please do spend some time warming up your cold data. Cold data in itself has very little value until you’ve warmed it up and built a relationship with it.

Voiceover:
Paul’s blatant plug.

Paul Green:
3,129 MSPs all over the world now have a copy of my book. It’s called Updating Servers Doesn’t Grow your Business. It’s your brief guide to marketing your MSP and you can get a free copy right now at paulgreensmspmarketing.com. If you’re in the US or the UK, we’ll physically post you a free copy, otherwise we’ll send you a PDF straightaway. Paulgreensmspmarketing.com.

Voiceover:
The big interview.

Jonno White:
Hi, I’m Jonno White, founder and principal consultant of Clarity and author of the book Step Up or Step Out: How to Deal with Difficult People Even if you Hate Conflict.

Paul Green:
And any of us that have been in business for more than about five minutes and have staff have come across difficult people. And I know certainly in our world, sometimes technicians can be incredibly difficult people to work with, especially when the owner is a technician and they’re surrounded by other technicians. So we’re going to talk in this interview Jonno, or I’m going to ask you to talk about how to deal with these people. Let’s first of all, just look a little bit into your background. So what qualifies you to write a book about how to deal with difficult people?

Jonno White:
Well Paul, I have done this terribly in the past, and I really wrote this book because I’ve experienced the heartache and the pain of dealing poorly with people that you find difficult to work with. And I’ve had experiences where I thought I was doing the best thing for me and for them, but what turned out to happen was I was doing the right thing, it’s what needed to happen. But the process in which I did it ended in a lot of pain for me, and a lot of pain for them. And that had me starting a search going there must be a better way to deal with someone when it’s really difficult for both of us,

Paul Green:
Because I don’t know if you find this still and clearly you found it in the past, but I know when I had lots and lots of staff, when I knew that there was a problem and we had to deal with it, I could feel … Even in the morning when I’d wake up, I’d wake at sort of really early in the morning and I’d feel that kind of sick feeling in my stomach. And it would kind of knock my entire day out knowing that there was going to have to be some conflict during the day.

Jonno White:
Yeah 100%. I’ve felt the same. And the prompt for me working with leaders around the world, and it would be the same for MSP owners, 50% of my coaching sessions with leaders and with business owners end up talking about this topic because it’s what keeps us up at night. If we are anything like mostly does around the world, there’s a passion for people and to change the world and transform things. And when you find yourself at a crossroads where there’s a person and you don’t quite know how to deal with it in a way that’s going to move your business forward, and there’s always multiple stakeholders, it’s something that leaves you with definitely can cause you sleepless nights.

Jonno White:
And for me, probably the lowest point I had dealing with this was when I had a really hard conflict. And I’ve found myself trying to find some space. I was sitting under a tree just getting out into nature because it had been causing me a lot of pain. And I just didn’t know the best way to go about it. And not that everyone ends up in this place, but for me, that low point was having a horrible conversation just because I didn’t know what else to do. And I remember just sitting there under a tree, just literally having a moment by myself crying. And there’s not many things that get me to that point, but I just felt the heartache, knowing that I felt like I’d really let this person down, but at the same time I knew I needed to have the conversation, but the way I’d done it, I hadn’t known any other option. And it had gone terribly. It had just exploded. They were really hurt. And it really just hit me to the core.

Paul Green:
What is it do you think Jonno that actually creates this conflict in the first place? Is it that pressure environment of us as business owners desperately trying to get to where we need to get? Or are there sort of deep psychological human factors at play here?

Jonno White:
Yeah, that’s a good question. I think both are true. I think the biggest challenge for MSP owners would be, you have goals for your business and you have bottom line things that you need to achieve. And often we look past the little conflicts, those little missed steps that we see. We walk past things and we see them in the corner of our eye and we go, well, that’s not okay. That behaviour is not okay. That’s not exactly what we’re on about, but I’m so busy wearing 10 hats running this MSP that I can’t deal with that right now and I’ll keep walking. And those things can be issues with us achieving our goals as a business, or it can be something where we see it’s a family of origin thing. Every time we bring any criticism up for that person, they get super defensive.

Jonno White:
But this is what the book’s about really is we walk past these little moments, but then what happens is there’s a deal breaker. There’s a non-negotiable. There’s a massive client we lose. There’s a deadline we miss. There’s a behaviour that for some reason as an MSP owner we go, that is not acceptable. And so there is a point where it becomes make or break, I have to deal with it. But because we haven’t gone there in the little moments, we end up trying to have what I call a one-off big battle. And so there’s lots of factors that lead to it, but that’s why it ends up often being such a terrible experience is because we end up having a one-off big battle rather than confronting the small moment.

Paul Green:
So let’s talk about the book and your three-step system. So it’s called Step Up or Step Out. And you’re claiming that you can deal with conflict and remove that conflict in just four weeks. How do you do that?

Jonno White:
Let me just give honour where it’s due. Patrick Lencioni, one of my favourite leadership authors, I heard him on a podcast talking about some of these sort of ideas. And the four week idea really came from Pat Lencioni who has some great books, The Advantage, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. And it was when I started applying some of his philosophies and I was incredibly cynical at first about the idea, I remember I had someone that I was dealing with, and the three-step process basically is okay, well, instead of having your big, difficult, one-off big battle conversation, what if there’s a way to have a crucial conversation, but instead it’s about clarifying expectations and giving yourself a clean slate? And so I heard this claim by Pat Lencioni. I went, no way. I’ve done this before and it takes a year and it’s like pulling teeth out. It’s horrible.

Jonno White:
But I went and started applying that and have pulled together some different ideas to create my three-step process, which is: clarify expectations; get to a 10 out of 10 for you and for them. And it sounds simple, but whenever I work with a leader there’s normally a five or lower for them and for the person they’re dealing with when they actually stop and say, how clear am I really on my expectations for them? And how clear is this person truly on what I’m expecting of them? So you clarify expectations. Secondly, there’s a crucial conversation, but this crucial conversation is beautiful. Instead of it being a massive explosive bringing the hammer down, it becomes a much less defensive and explosive conversation. And instead it’s about step one, which is clarifying the expectations.

Jonno White:
So that the first step is all about the expectations. Step two is actually having the conversation to get the expectations really clear. And then once you’ve done those things, Step three is about, instead of one-off big battles where we have the element of surprise and we come in and we just absolutely ambush someone, they get super defensive, it becomes legal. All these sorts of words start coming up and phrases like, “But I thought I was doing a good job” and “where’s this come from?” And there’s all that surprise.

Jonno White:
Instead, we actually pick small battles. So step one, we get really clear on the expectations. And step two is the actual conversation where you do that. And then step three is about picking small battles. Now we have the clean slate, the really clean slate of expectations, where both of us are super clear. We then go in and pick small battles again and again and again. They’re specific. There’s no surprise. And as a result, these small battles build up and as humans, we hate the idea. There’s something about accountability that does cause us, it’s incredibly uncomfortable to be held accountable. And by doing these small battles, that’s where within four weeks and I’ve experienced it, and now I’ve coached leader after leader after leader around the world to do it.

Jonno White:
And I stand by it, even though it sounds crazy. I was cynical when I first heard it, but I’ve experienced it. And I often tell a story about a small business in the U S that I worked with that had an employee and did the three-step process. But for them, they had their employee turn around, who had been, they’d been on the verge of firing them, but instead they had a crucial conversation about the expectations. They got super clear on it. And the next day, this person asked for a coffee, sat down with them and actually said, “You know what? I think I could do what you want me to do, but I don’t really want to do that.” And they actually helped them transition out back into the previous industry they’d come from. And that was the next day. So there’s something about clarifying expectations that’s incredibly powerful.

Paul Green:
That’s a real win isn’t it? That’s absolutely fantastic. So Jonno, tell us a little bit more about where we can get hold of the book and also how can we get in touch with you?

Jonno White:
Yeah. So you can get in touch with me at consultclarity.org. And there’s a link there to my book. It’s also sold on Amazon. You can get it Kindle, as a paperback, and there’s an audio book coming soon. But if you go to my website, consultclarity.org, you can get in touch with me if you’re interested in finding out more. I have a special on at the moment Paul, it’s $19.97 US to buy it on Amazon but right now I’ve got it for a $1.70 just because I want to get it out there in many people’s hands and hopefully it can help you to really have some better wins with dealing with difficult people in your world.

Voiceover:
Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast. This week’s recommended book.

John Clark:
Hi, I’m John Clark from Solutions Shared. My book recommendation is Getting Naked, A Business Fable by Patrick Lencioni. If you run any form of consultancy business, it’s an excellent approach. And I like to think we follow it on how to deliver consultancy without having to do the hard sell.

Voiceover:
Coming up next week.

Adrian Savage:
Hi, there I’m Adrian Savage from Deliverability Dashboard. Now you may be worrying that your emails are going to the spam folder, or you may know that the emails you send to your audience are landing in spam already. And if you listen to next week’s episode, I’ll be explaining how you can avoid the spam folder, double your open rates and get your message out much more effectively to your audience using email.

Paul Green:
We’ll also be doing a follow on piece to something I was talking about earlier on, you know, when I was talking about your life vision and your business goals being aligned? I’m going to ask you next week, if you are correctly setting the context for your success every single day. I’ll explain what I mean by that next week. Plus, we’ll be looking at 12 really interesting questions that you can ask your staff, which will help you to figure out how engaged they are in the workplace. That’s all coming up next week. See you then.

Voiceover:
Made in the U K for MSPs around the world. Paul Green’s MSP marketing podcast.

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