Time to Hire a Salesperson? 4 Steps to Make it a Success
Many owner-led Managed Service Providers (MSPs) don’t have additional resources to invest in a sales team. Typically around the $1 million mark, owners can redirect their attention toward bigger picture strategies. Developing sales processes and pipeline growth is a powerful place to begin expanding your MSP with predictable ROI. When it’s time to build on the sales people you have, or hire someone for the first time, utilize these steps to efficiently and effectively get desired results.
1. Know when it’s time to get out of the weeds
If you’re an MSP owner who has built your company from the ground up, it can be challenging to loosen the sales reins. It takes time, effort, and the right fit to feel comfortable with someone else representing your MSP – but it also gives you a chance to focus on business strategy. Because MSP owners hold so much tribal knowledge about the business, solutions, clients, and industry specifics, the first step toward stepping back might be a small one.
While larger MSPs might have the flexibility to offer higher compensation for more experienced sales people, as well as provide them ample time for onboarding, a smaller MSP needs to move fast to maintain incoming revenue. Determine the best transition, or process for adding to sales resources based on your current structure, goals, and readiness. It might make sense for the owner to continue closing new sales, while one sales rep manages existing accounts and upsell opportunities, and another does the smiling and dialing. Over time, as sales people gain more experience and skills, MSP owners can further detach from the funnel.
2. Define your goals based on reality
Determine business growth goals and new sales hire goals to lay a strong foundation for your team. With the right mix, you can precisely forecast growth, and hire the right sales person the first time. Basically, what does growth look like in your MSP and how do you measure it? Many MSPs make the mistake of tossing out an arbitrary number without considering contributing factors. Growth potential and sales capacity depend on number of things including, org structure, employee capacity, historical growth, industry changes, competition, marketing budget and strategy, event opportunities, and so on.
Take a comprehensive look at your business within the greater context of industry. Identify the results you want, establish metrics to measure success and failure, and set both goals and stretch goals. Sales people need to know how many calls, meetings, and sales they’re expected to complete to reach their individual goals and business goals. With a metrics-driven approach to sales and business expansion, you’re better equipped to optimize each step of a client’s journey for maximum success and efficiency.
3. Create a plan for passing the baton
Critical to the success of a sales team is the onboarding, training, and development of its representatives. Create a sales playbook and training program designed to impart all that tribal knowledge to new reps. Use online templates and free resources to build a framework, and reach out to the MSP community via forums. The channel is typically a great place to learn from fellow MSPs to avoid common missteps, and get productive ideas.
You also need to consider the compensation plan you’re willing and able to provide based on a reps’ skills and responsibilities. Performance-based compensation is expected, and the targets and key performance indicators (KPIs) you establish, must be reachable. A good sales person with a challenging, but achievable, compensation plan will try to beat it. The combination motivates sales reps and gets the MSP closer to not just reaching, but exceeding, growth goals. Enable your reps with a complete tool box – time, leads, direction, client specifics, internal product access, content, talk tracks, and ongoing feedback.
4. Examine the quality of your solutions
With everything else intact – a capable, equipped and motivated sales person, the right market, a competitive edge, and realistic goals – if you’re not seeing sales increase, it might be your solutions. Especially during this accelerated digital transformation, client needs are changing rapidly. To meet demands and preferences, question your solutions and services. For example, with more remote workers than ever before, endpoint backup is essential. With cloud-based services becoming the norm, hardware-free BDR simplifies everything from installation and maintenance, to management and cost. How do your solutions measure up to today’s SMB needs?
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