In general, most managed service providers (MSPs) have a technical background rather than one in business or sales, and often struggle with these critical aspects of running a successful business. If you’re just getting started in the managed services space, you’re likely asking yourself how to best achieve business growth over the course of the year. While some growth might occur organically, through word of mouth, this isn’t going to guarantee you consistent new business, even if you deliver great services.
To ensure predictable growth, MSPs should take a proactive approach. This is where sales expertise comes into the picture. The primary goal of sales is to generate new business for your company. For an MSP, as is the case for any company, this happens in a variety of ways. For service providers, in particular, sales and marketing aren’t just about closing deals. Since MSPs are selling a service, these disciplines should be about identifying and engaging the right prospects. In other words, potential customers that have a set of IT needs that an MSP can provide for them over time.
Below are three key sales strategies for MSPs looking to increase profits and drive new business.
1. Build Sales Expertise: There are two ways to build sales expertise—hire someone with sales experience or train existing staff to sell like pros. If you are getting serious about sales and growth, hiring a skilled sales staff can make a big difference. However, many shops can’t afford to hire new employees just yet. If that is the case, MSPs need to identify and train sales representatives from within. Who knows, you might just have a sales rockstar within your reach and you don’t even know it.
2. Select and Train Sales Staff: Not everyone can succeed as a sales rep, just as not everyone can succeed in a technical career. Whether you are hiring a new salesperson or transitioning a current employee into a sales role, you should look for specific qualities that indicate they will be likely to succeed. A potentially awesome salesperson should be confident, personable, and someone who embraces technology. They don’t have to be highly technical, but they should have a solid understanding of how a product works and be able to field questions from prospects and clients.
3. Develop a Sales Process: Developing a sales process, sometimes referred to as a sales pipeline, is another essential step toward sales success. The specifics will differ from business to business, but generally speaking, a sales process is a repeatable set of steps salespeople follow to move potential clients from a prospect to a customer.
It’s important to note that there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ sales process to apply to your MSP. For example, larger MSPs may have separate teams of salespeople with different defined goals. Some may be solely focused on identifying and signing new clients. This type of sales rep is often called a “hunter.” Other reps may be tasked with protecting the customer base, working closely with current clients to ensure that they are satisfied with the services delivered. This sales role is typically called a “farmer.” Other organizations may only have one or two salespeople. In these businesses, sales reps will likely need to wear both “hunter” and “farmer” hats. The specifics of your business should dictate the foundation of your sales structure and process.
To learn more about defining your sales process as a managed service provider, check out our eBook, Sales Made MSPeasy.