Building an MSP Referral Program

Referral programs for MSPs are a great way to gain additional clients through a trusted community. Referred clients are usually more loyal because of the trust that has already been established. The conversion rate for leads from referrals is much higher as well. So what are the major steps that a managed service provider should take to start receiving referral leads? Let’s review them.

#1. Ensure continuing client satisfaction

First of all, make sure that your existing clients are happy with your service. Because if they aren’t, you’ll face a big obstacle in building a referral program.

To find out what they think of your services, you need to gather feedback.

  • Email/marketing campaigns
  • Make a phone call to each of your customers. They’re more likely to be honest with you in conversation than through a written survey.
  • Arrange quarterly personal meetings. Invite your clients to your office if you are in the same area and discuss all your questions.

If most of your clients are neutral or negative about your work, then make the necessary effort to improve your service before asking for any recommendations. Only when a minimum of half of your customers are content with what you do should you go forward with your referral program.

#2. Motivate them to talk about you

People are far too busy to spend 10 minutes writing a review about your company, even if they are satisfied with your services. How can you make them spread the word about your company?

A small reward can help. However, the usual go-to—discounts—are not always the best solution. Find out what they are interested in and shape your offer accordingly. For example, you can offer a gift card to spend at their favorite restaurant, or tickets to a baseball game. Personalized gifts can create a “wow” effect and motivate customers more than reduced prices.

#3. Find the best way to track referral leads

Now that you have incentives to offer your existing clients to bring you new customers, it’s time to think about how you will track your leads so as to measure the efficiency of your referral channel.

At the initial sales call, remember to always ask new leads about where they have found your services. And if their answer is “heard about you from a colleague” or “got a recommendation from a partner,” be sure to take note of these leads accordingly. One option for tracking feedback is to add a feedback link to tickets.

To automate the process of gathering statistics, generate a link to your website with a referral ID for each of your existing clients. This can make it much easier for you to track your sales funnel and for your current clients to claim their reward.


A properly structured MSP referral program can generate relatively easy revenue for your managed services business. If you get a lead from one of your clients, be sure to treat it as valuable and provide them with the best possible service.

Keep in mind that while they are an important part of any sales strategy, referral leads should not be your only source of MSP lead generation. You’ll also want to set up an appropriate advertising campaign to attract new clients.