Ask an MSP ExpertQ: Our sales team is struggling to hit their numbers. We recently established a marketing team at my MSP, and they’re bringing in a ton of new leads. The problem is that we don’t see these leads converting into sales. Our sales team has one or two conversations with a prospect, but somewhere after the second call we lose them. What can my sales team do to gain interest on a discovery call?

Congratulations on adding a marketing team at your MSP. We know growing your team can be challenging, though, as everyone adjusts to the changes. The new leads your marketing is bringing in will certainly help keep your pipeline full, but your sales team needs to ask the right questions to make the most of those leads. The discovery call can help you understand where your prospects are coming from and what services they might need, which should help your sales team close more deals.

To find out how to ask discovery questions that will give you great insights on potential customers, we consulted one of Intronis’ Partner Development Managers, Rob Badger. Although Rob told us there is more than one way to run an effective discovery process, he did give us some tips and tricks that will help you and your sales team get more insight into prospects’ day-to-day activities and their pain points.

Beginning the discovery process

discoveryDiscovery questions determine how smoothly the sales process will go. Does the prospect have an immediate need for your product and services? If so, it could be a quick and easy sales cycle. These questions can also help your team understand what kind of environment they’re selling to and what services the prospective customer may need. Not all SMBs need the same services, so determining what they need to keep their business running is vital. No question is a waste of time, so don’t be shy about asking! Here are a few go-to questions that create meaningful conversations:

  • What are you currently doing for IT? Do you have an in-house IT department, or are you working with another IT provider? If they’re using in-house IT services, ask them what difficulties they are running into and what they would hope to accomplish if they worked with an MSP. If they’re using another provider, ask them what they’re currently paying and how this solution is working out for them.
  • What does your current day-to-day look like? Usually when people start talking about their environment and day-to-day activities they’ll open up to you about what problems they’re running into. These problems are their pain points, and to effectively help these SMBs, you need to address their pain points.
  • What services do you think you’ll need, and what services are you currently using? Asking this will help give you an idea of what they need from a service provider. For example, it’s possible that they are currently doing backup, but their current provider doesn’t have email archiving or maybe they need to put a disaster recovery plan in place.

Remember to be friendly and conversational. Tone can be conveyed over the phone, so even though you want to get all your questions answered, avoid interrogating the person you’re talking to. Allow the conversation to flow naturally.

Walk away from the call with confidence

When you walk away from a discovery call, you should have a good sense of the SMB’s business environment. Knowing these five things can help save time and effort in the sales process.

  1. What vertical they serve in the market and how they use technology to help support their business and clients.
  2. Who the decision maker is. Knowing who to talk to is one of the most important things you need to have a successful sales process.
  3. What they are currently being charged for IT services and what services they have.
  4. What their day-to-day looks like and whether or not they have techs in house. For example, they might think failing backups is normal. Knowing what they go through on a daily basis will give you insight into how to close the sale.
  5. If they have an immediate need for a managed service provider or in what time frame they might need one.

Following Rob’s advice will help your discovery calls and sales process go more smoothly. The first few calls might be difficult, but soon the process will come naturally to your sales team.   

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 a Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Barracuda MSP. 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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