The Cold Truth About Cold Calling for MSPs

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    As an experienced marketer who also happens to run his own MSP marketing company, I pride myself on my ability to “keep my ear to the grindstone,” so to speak. I’m always looking for better, more organic and more forward-thinking ways to uncover the very real problems that modern day MSPs are facing, or the topics that are particularly important to them in terms of that essential connection that they’re establishing with their target audience, i.e. generating new business.

    Thankfully, this is a lot easier today than it was a decade ago – particularly with the advent of social media. I’m a regular participant in all of the biggest MSP forums (they’re out there!) on LinkedIn, Facebook and similar social networking sites. It’s a fascinating way to watch a conversation evolve in real-time, giving a sense of context and immediacy to a discussion that ultimately affects every single one of us.

    Recently, I’ve been seeing a trend in the types of questions that are being asked – one that, quite frankly, is surprising to me. More often than not, I keep seeing people post over and over again asking if cold calling really works for MSPs, and if this is something that those business owners should continue to explore.

    It’s likely a question that you’ve asked yourself at least once, too. So what is the answer? Luckily, that’s simple:

    Yes, absolutely, cold calling does generate real results for MSPs.

    … but not if that’s the only thing you’re doing.

    The Art of Cold Calling for MSPs

    First, you need to see cold calling for what it really is: it’s a touch point, just like any other touch point in your marketing. Whether you send someone a tweet on Twitter, send an email to their inbox, explore new techniques to increase traffic to your website or send out a physical mailer, it’s all the same in that the intention is identical. You’re reaching out to someone, you’re asking for their attention and are offering something of value to prove that this interaction is actually worth their time.

    But more than that, it’s an opportunity to get your unique MSP message in front of your audience. The question is, will it work on its own? In short, no – gone are the days where cold calling in and of itself is enough to get the job done, thanks largely to the evolution of the modern B2B buyer, and the sheer amount of thought and research they put into any purchasing decision they make.

    So to be clear: if you think that you’re just going to call 100 businesses and automatically get one or two of them to become clients right away, that’s probably not going to happen. I’ve spoken to MSPs that tell me they average as many as 80 (!) different touch points with a prospect before they sign on to become a client.

    Now, can you imagine making 80 different phone calls to the same person, asking for their business? Put yourself in their shoes – how many calls would it take before you blocked their number? They probably wouldn’t make it past five or ten.

    This is why cold calling shouldn’t be the only technique that you’re leaning on. Instead, it needs to become an integral part of your larger strategy – another tool to be utilized at precisely the right moment as your relationship with a prospect continues to blossom and develop.

    Think back to that average of 80 different touch points that I was mentioning earlier. You can get to that number using techniques in any combination that you need given the circumstances. So yes, you could make 80 calls – or you could divide that number up between emails, physical mailers, phone calls, in-person meetings, etc. You’re still hitting 80 (or whatever number your personal average happens to be), but you’re getting there in a much more holistic way that actually resonates with someone.

    But if you’re starting to feel like you should just cut out cold calling altogether, you’re definitely going to want to think again. Statistics don’t lie and to that end, the numbers work overwhelmingly in cold calling’s favor. Consider any of the following stats to see just how true that really is:

    • Despite the fact that more and more of our time is being spent glued to digital devices, a full 92% of ALL customer interactions still happen over the phone.
    • A full 78% of decision-makers at organizations say that they’ve taken appointments or attended events when they came from a cold call.
    • Leads nurtured through this avenue tend to make purchases that are about 47% larger than those that aren’t.
    • Despite all this, a massive 44% of all sales reps tend to give up after the first follow-up phone call. This means that not only are you looking at an effective avenue in terms of reaching out and connecting with your prospects, but it’s also one that your competition is increasingly giving up on. Don’t battle for space in someone’s email inbox. Take the path of least resistance and give them a call instead.

    How MSPs Can Use Cold Calling to Their Advantage

    Any one of the above stats goes a long way towards proving that cold calling is still a technique that is worthy of your time as an MSP, even as we march further into 2019 and beyond. But when taken together? They paint an incredibly vivid picture of one “tried but true” marketing technique that absolutely isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

    Plus, cold calling also works so much better when you’re reaching out to a “warm” lead instead of a “cold one.” Again, this is what I mean when I say that cold calling shouldn’t be the only opportunity you try to take advantage of. Instead of making a cold call your first point of contact with a new prospect, consider making it your third or even your fourth. Take the time to reach out to someone via email or another channel first, establishing who you are, what you have to offer and what problems you can help them solve.

    THEN, reach out one afternoon with a cold call and see if you can propel that relationship forward. The person will already know who you are before they get your call, which means that they’re much more receptive to the idea of actually taking it in the first place.


    These days, there’s not really one “silver bullet” technique that will instantly generate all of the marketing results you’re looking for as an MSP. More often than not, it will be a combination of techniques, all working in tandem, to convert more prospects into paying customers over the long haul. For managed services providers everywhere, cold calling has always been a pivotal part of that – and in my opinion, it always will be.

    Once you’ve established that relationship and they’ve shown interest in your service, there are plenty of tools available to nurture that potential customer. Here is our list of MSP tools you should be using.

    What do you think? Does cold calling work for you in your market? Have you had good results? Not so good results? Let us know in the comments section below! We want to hear your story!

    Thanks for reading!

    Nate Freedman

    Nate Freedman is the CEO of Tech Pro Marketing and Ulistic, the only MSP marketing group with 12+ years of experience helping MSPs generate over 20,000 high quality leads, with over 150 5-star Google Reviews to back it up. Connect with me on LinkedIn.