Q: We have a sizable sales team at my MSP, and we’re committed to investing in our sales department to grow our business. We have some great new hires on the team, but we’re struggling to reach our new bookings goals. How can I position my sales team for success? What tips do you have for closing more managed service business?
It’s great to hear you’re investing in and focusing on your sales efforts. We know some of your MSP peers rely solely on word-of-mouth referrals to bring in their new business, and that’s just not a good idea. In order to scale your business, you need to make decisions like hiring more employees and investing in additional resources that will take your MSP sales to the next level. So, it sounds like you have the right idea and are headed down the right path.
To help your sales team reach their bookings goals, we talked with Eric Winn, the Director of Partner Development MSP Sales at Intronis MSP Solutions. Eric shared his advice for how you can position your team for success in their conversations with prospects. Here are Eric’s four tips for success:
Tips for success
- Understand your pricing strategy
Make sure your MSP business has the right pricing in place. In Eric’s conversations with MSPs, he finds that the most successful pricing strategy is using the fixed-price model. For example, in this model, you would offer your IT services at a flat-fee per month and then charge on a per-gigabyte basis for anything beyond what’s covered in the package. If your customer is approaching the next tier or package in terms of their data storage, you can use it as an opportunity to upsell them on the next level of services.
Whatever pricing strategy your MSP chooses, be sure that all members of the sales team understand it and are able to articulate the value in your IT services offering to the prospect.
- Pinpoint the decision makers
As part of your salespeople’s initial conversations, advise them to figure out who the decision makers are at the business. For example, it could be the CEO and the Director of IT or their IT consultant. Depending on the size of the business and their IT needs, you could be working with different customer profiles. Asking these questions and uncovering the decision makers will help your team to find out who is involved in the buying process, which is especially important if it’s more than one person at the company.
It’s also good to know what the prospect’s evaluation process is and if they’ll need to perform any testing on your solutions or products before making a buying decision. Find out who is involved in the technical evaluation so you can prepare your pitch accordingly and make the sale.
- Offer a free trial
Another effective method is to offer the prospect a free trial of the software you’re reselling. This way they can see for themselves how it works and understand its value. Before your offer trials, be sure you have a formal process for guiding the prospect through the trial phase with regular check-ins and open communication. If you’re able to, it would even be worth assigning a member of your technical team to running and monitoring trials. They could assist the salesperson with the trial, addressing any issues with the software and helping to explain how it works. This could be especially helpful for the newer sales hires who may be less familiar with the software.
Intronis MSP Partners, for example, can offer a free 30-day trial to any small business prospect with the Intronis ECHOplatform. You can rebrand the management portal with your MSP’s logo and walk the prospective customer through the software. In many cases, showing them how the software works will help to close the deal.
- Train your salespeople
Teams operate more effectively when they’re aligned on the same goals and following the same guidelines. To help your team get in sync, make sure your new hires and existing sales people are offered regular training sessions. For the new hires, this should involve an initial, clearly outlined step-by-step training process to make sure they’re probably trained before making calls. For your other sales people, provide them with continuous opportunities for a refresher training or session covering new sales tactics and tips.
Following Eric’s four tips, your sales team will be better positioned for success and prepared to have meaningful conversations with prospects. In addition to Eric’s tips, remember that the best way to connect with a prospect is to position your business as a partner. This means you’re not just their IT provider, but also their trusted advisor. Teach your sales reps to uncover a prospect’s needs and then present the services that will help them operate more efficiently. In the end, you’re in the business of helping to protect and support small businesses. Your MSP sales team should keep that mission top of mind in all of their prospecting efforts.
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.