Businesses relying on managed service providers (MSPs) stand to benefit greatly from implementing KPIs and introducing review best practices. Learn to track MSP performance and get the most out of marketing strategies.
The number of companies who offload their marketing and other functions to MSPs is growing in the post-pandemic digital economy. While a reliable vendor brings a lot of proven benefits to your table, their performance can often be hard to gauge. Moreover, the ever-growing complexity of tools and strategies also makes it challenging to determine which metrics you should focus on during the review process.
Reach shared business objectives with your MSP
The effectiveness of an MSP often takes weeks or even months to get specific numbers on. For example, let’s say they handle your content marketing. Expert writing that positions you as an industry thought leader might sound like something you can easily get numbers on. The content is published, leads consume it and conversions become your main KPI to track from there.
However, as businesses transition to the flywheel marketing model, attributing exactly which piece of content or which touch point your leads came from becomes trickier. This is why companies are moving from business goals they have no control over, such as «convert X leads, generate Y revenue» to controllable systems of routines for MSP performance, such as:
- Receive X pieces of content a week in a specific niche/keyword cluster.
- Release a quality press release every X weeks to generate backlinks.
- Publish content on chosen social media platforms daily/weekly.
- Produce email campaigns on an agreed-upon frequency.
From there, it’s easy to isolate KPIs for the effectiveness of an MSP in your marketing. Specifically:
- Date & quality metrics, such as the regularity of delivery and standards matching your style guide.
- Consumption metrics, such as recurring readers for blogs, social, or email campaigns.
- SEO metrics, such as ranking on agreed keyword clusters.
- Engagement metrics, such as social media follows, sign-ups, and requests for interviews for PR.
All of these KPIs should be based on your specific business goals and expectations. Discussing them with your MSP prior to implementation should give both parties objective standards to strive for.
Factors that help guarantee the effectiveness of an MSP
Marketing MSP performance relies on having service-level agreements (SLAs) in place. So, if your vendor doesn’t offer specific standards of service, it’s a big red flag. Furthermore, having established rules in a relationship can spell the difference between forming a successful partnership and being kept in the dark. Here are things to look out for:
- Direct communication lines – The availability of customer support or account manager.
- Practices for resolving disputes – Metrics to use as a guide or rules pre-set in place.
- Standards of delivery – What you should and shouldn’t expect from your deliverables.
- Liabilities – What happens if the MSP fails to deliver on time or doesn’t pass the agreed-upon standards.
Fundamentally, all of the above are in place for when a potential issue arises. Everyone’s happy immediately after signing the agreement, but consistency is key in partnerships. The question to ask here is: What happens when one of the parties isn’t 100% on board?
Much like a good friendship, the effectiveness of an MSP is often tested in a bind. Above all, they should help resolve problems and have standards in place for guiding you through questions or disagreements.
The key quality in top MSP performance
Everyone loves an employee who cares about the business. They offer solutions, help improve best practices, and volunteer to solve problems you often didn’t even know you had. The same idea can be applied to the effectiveness of an MSP. The key quality to look out for is how proactive they are. That is to say, a marketing MSP should be your ally first and foremost.
Determine whether they:
- Hold strategic meetings regularly to help achieve your business goals.
- Scale and improve their solutions to meet your needs.
- Suggest useful tools and practices to implement in your business.
- Adopt technologies and new services to better your relationship.
There are always more questions to ask and items to consider, so we suggest creating a list of key priorities for your MSP performance. Finding out that they try hard to reach goals is a good indicator that the vendor is in your court. However, even if the answer to a few of your questions and considerations is no, a proactive MSP will take it as a sign to start a negotiation and improve your relationship going forward.
To summarize, in order to review MSP performance, you need shared business objectives, a clear understanding of the intended level of service, and a proactive approach to the partnership. After that, course corrections will be a piece of cake, giving you a solid trajectory to mutual growth.
Considering whether your business needs a marketing MSP?
Tempesta Media has been in the content marketing space since 2011, and we created a platform to help you reliably assemble a team of expert writers in your industry. In addition, we offer a marketing managed service solution on the highest level – our team has enough experience to serve businesses in a wide variety of industries.