Ask an MSP ExpertQ: At my MSP, we recently launched our first successful email campaign. We’ve gotten quite a few leads from it, and I’m excited to start reaching out to these new prospects. I want to make the most of this opportunity, though, and avoid spending too much time on leads that aren’t worth it. How do I know if I’m talking to a quality lead, or if I’m just wasting my time?

Congratulations on launching your first successful email campaign!  We know it can be exciting to see those new leads start coming in, and handling those new leads effectively can help you take your business to the next level.

To help you pursue leads efficiently, we consulted Rob Badger, one of the partner development managers at Intronis MSP Solutions, and asked him for his insight. Here are Rob’s tips on how to identify the leads that will be worth your time:

 

sales_waste_time1.  Pre-discover your leads

The first thing I do when I receive a new lead is try to learn a little more about the company before I call. I call this the pre-discovery process. I usually check out their website to see what type of business it is and what services they offer. This helps me get some insight into what solutions they might be interested in.

After I look at their website, I try to find out whether or not they have an online presence, such as a LinkedIn page for their company or a personal page for the contact. Have they taken the time to represent their company? If they have, they’ll probably be a good lead because they take pride in being a representative for their company.  If they don’t have a LinkedIn page, either personally or as a company, the chance of it being a good lead drops. While this might lower your chances of a sale, don’t dismiss any target right away. Keep in mind that your prospects don’t need to be huge; they just need one server and a few laptops to be a good candidate for managed services.

2.  Be nice to the gatekeeper

The receptionist has more power than you think; they have the power to give you information that’s vital in confirming the status of the lead. More times than I can count, a receptionist has passed me on to a better contact simply because I was nice to them.

One of the things I make sure to do when I talk to a gatekeeper is confirm that a lead is there at the office. You may have a lead from the CEO, but if they’re only at the company once or twice a month, they aren’t the person you want to talk to.

If you have a good initial conversation with the gatekeeper, they’ll be more likely to help you find the right contact. Make the gatekeeper feel involved, and talk to them proactively using phrases such as “We’ve talked previously” or “I’ve seen interest from your company.” If you’re nice, and talk proactively, they’ll feel like they helped contribute when they pass you along.

3. Be direct

You want the process to move as quickly and smoothly as possible, so get to the point. Most people will try to be nice and end up stringing you along. However, if you’re direct, it’s more likely that they’ll tell you their answer upfront. Don’t be afraid to ask them, “Is this something you see happening in the next month or two?” Getting a time frame will put things in perspective for both of you.

If you’re uncomfortable asking that or don’t receive a direct answer, try asking about their current IT solutions. Are they currently using another service provider, or are they managing their IT in-house?

Time and technical requirements play a huge part in determining whether or not the lead will turn into a good opportunity for your MSP. It might seem like a no brainer for them to switch to managed services, but if it’s a big change from their current approach to IT, they simply might not be ready yet.

Red Flags

Every sale is different, and although you don’t want to simply dismiss any prospects, there are a few red flags that you should watch out for. Here are a few things that can indicate you’re probably wasting your time:

  • They’re not interested in working with someone. This can be conveyed in a number of different ways, such as simply saying ”No thanks” and hanging up, or telling you they’re all set with the service providers they’re currently.
  • You send them an email asking if they’re interested, and they never respond. This could mean the timing isn’t right, they’re too busy, or they simply aren’t interested. Check out this post for tips on what to do if a customer is freezing you out.
  • Someone tells you “They’re never here.” If you’ve built a rapport with the gatekeeper, asking if there is a better contact within the company. They can help you find the best person to talk to and ultimately connect you with a better lead.
  • Their title sounds like they are not the decision-maker (marketing, sales, finance etc.). You’re ultimately looking for someone who can give you an educated idea on whether or not your MSP services could help their business. Examples of good titles are CEO, president, VP, Lead tech or Architect. If you’re talking to someone who isn’t a decision-maker, ask for their advice about who you should talk to.

Using Rob’s tips and tricks should help you convert those new leads into new sales.  If you do your research, learn to how to get help from gatekeepers, and take a direct approach, you’ll be well on your way to making the most of this opportunity without wasting time.

You’re bound to come across a few leads that just aren’t a good fit for your MSP, but try to keep an eye out for prospects that could be good opportunities if the timing were right. Make a note of these conversations so you can follow up down the road when the timing might be better.

Ask an MSP Expert is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between.

Lauren Beliveau

Posted by Lauren Beliveau

Lauren is an Editorial Associate at Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda. In this position, she creates and develops content that helps managed service providers grow their business. She also regularly writes The MSP’s Bookshelf and our Ask an MSP Expert column.

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