Q: My MSP business is growing, and I’m looking to expand our sales team to focus on bringing in even more business. Right now, my current sales people all started as technicians, and they’re good at speaking to small business owners about their IT needs. How can I train a new sales person to sell IT services? I found a good candidate and want to get them comfortable on the phone ASAP. What tips do you have for offering sales training to my new employee?
Congratulations on your recent growth! It’s exciting to hear you have another sales person joining your team, and hopefully it’s the fuel you need to take your MSP to the next level. From a sales perspective, it certainly can’t hurt to have another person on the phone talking to small businesses about your IT services. But of course—as a best practice—you should try to have a formal training process in place to make sure that the new sales person is positioned for success.
Steps to success
When we got your question, we sat down with Eric Winn who heads up the new business team at Intronis. Eric suggests following four key steps when training a new salesperson at your MSP:
Step 1: Complete product training
Before you get them on the phone, you’ll want to train the new person on all of the IT services your business offers. Get them familiar with the products and solutions you resell to small businesses. They should understand the details of each product, such as each piece of a software’s capabilities and functionality.
In addition, you should clearly outline the value proposition of each product or offering so the new person can effectively position your services to a prospect. Ideally, the new salesperson will know enough to be persuasive on the phone without having to be an expert. This training could take some time, but it’s a critical step in helping them create viable sales opportunities.
Step 2: Set up their database
The next step to take in getting the new salesperson ready to hit the phones is to set them up with a database. Depending on the Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software and processes in place at your MSP, this could mean different things. At a basic level, this database should be a list of prospective customers that the salesperson can start calling and asking about their IT needs.
The prospect list should include small businesses that your MSP wants to target—and their primary contacts. For example, if your business is looking to double down on prospects in a specific vertical, you could add the local businesses in that industry to your new salesperson’s list. If you’re unsure how to gather these contacts, there are options available to purchase a prospecting list.
Step 3: Develop call scripts
Now that your salesperson knows what they’re selling and who they’re selling to, you need to provide them with a script to follow as they’re getting started. This will help guide them through their conversations while making sure they uncover key pieces of information from the prospect.
The call script can include a sample introduction, followed by topics to discuss, questions to ask, and messaging that you know helps move the prospect through the sales funnel. In addition to a call script, you can include e-mail templates to send to follow-up to a conversation or to use if they can’t reach the prospect by phone.
I’d also suggest creating a playbook of questions to share during training. In this document, you can note the questions they’ll need to ask a prospect to find out if there’s a sales opportunity, such as the timing of when the prospect would be looking to strike a deal and who the decision makers are at their business.
Step 4: Pick up the phone
Now that the new person is armed with the right tools to be successful, they can pick up the phone and start dialing. It will take some practice, but they should get more comfortable after each conversation. Eventually, they shouldn’t have to follow the call script or reference the playbook any longer and can qualify a sales opportunity using what they know from experience.
As they’re working through their first conversations, advise them to start by trying to get an understanding of the customers’ internal IT infrastructure. At a high-level, this will help determine whether or not there’s an opportunity to sell them on your IT services. In the conversation, the salesperson should also attempt to find out what challenges and pain points the prospect is experiencing in their current IT environment. This will help identify which IT services would be best suited for the small business, so they can present a more realistic and convincing sales pitch.
Following Eric’s step-by-step process, you’ll be able to set up your new salesperson for success on the phones. Investing the time now to prepare a sales training program will also help you to get your next new hire up and running more quickly. Best of luck in your sales 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.