In this 2023 sales landscape, your sales pipeline needs to grow. The sales cycle extends more than it has in the past two years. Prospects are disappearing. You’re tracking behind on critical metrics. Now you’re trying to figure out how to achieve your sales goals faster and get back on track. After several years of what’s felt like a boom for managed service providers (MSPs), you’re left wondering: is the problem your salesperson or the current market?
Most likely, it’s a bit of both.
Having begun my sales journey as an accountant, I know that sales aren’t an art. It’s a teachable skill, but before it can be taught, you need to understand what your sales team should and can do in the current market to generate more new business. This year’s situation is distinctively different despite COVID and the transformation in how we cold-call and connect with people.
The 2023 sales landscape
Increasing interest rates and the conflict in Ukraine persist in shaping the global economic forecast. We’re witnessing high US inflation rates with the hope of some stability on the horizon. These realities are influencing how businesses decide to buy.
Your sales reps feel the ripple effects as they try to secure new prospects. Here’s the sales landscape your new business development salespeople navigate as they look for new managed services opportunities.
Shifts in the buying process affect hunting success
Companies have constricted their budgets and wallet strings.
Not every business is ready to invest right now. This implies that contacts might be less welcoming when your team is prospecting. To say it straight up, prospects will be even less welcoming to cold outreach than usual.
Shifts in MSPs aren’t a simple decision.
Companies have adopted IT support, cloud services, and cybersecurity as necessary to their organizations. “Some organizations are hesitant to rely on managed service support. They want to ensure they make the right business decisions that will increase productivity.
To qualify for cyber insurance, businesses need an MSP with support that meets compliance requirements. Remote staff can’t turn to their buddy and ask for help when their device isn’t operating correctly. Companies are more thoughtful about shifting their managed service provider when they have so much at stake in the daily operations of their business.
With constricted budgets comes significant price pressure.
Once you gain access and are in the sales process, companies ask, “Could we phase in that project? Do we need that level of security? Can we get by another year with our current equipment? Can you reduce the price?” Now, during prospecting, when a sales hunter reaches a decision maker, the question “What will it cost?” comes up more often than before.
The buying process has become more intricate, and the organization’s decision-making has increased.
Whenever the market is unstable or uncertain, companies move decision-making higher in the organization.
With smaller budgets and cautious owners, buying decisions seem more manageable. Business owners want to feel confident about the decisions they make. They tend to favor vendors they are already familiar with. Decision-makers are less inclined to speak with salespeople from companies they don’t know or haven’t heard of. Suddenly name recognition is essential.
Slower approval process.
With this added complexity, decision-making at the owner level, and more people involved, final approvals are delayed, and fewer decisions are made.
Implications of the 2023 sales landscape on cold calling abilities
As a result, sales reps encounter unresponsive prospects who might purposely avoid them. That makes getting in the door even more difficult.
With this in mind, you must ask yourself:
- What cold calling capabilities and other prospecting skills does our team need?
- Will our reps cold call?
- Do they have a compelling value proposition or need help crafting a message given the market?
- Do they know how to capture the interest of our target market?
- Have our target market’s interests and needs changed?
Cold calling abilities are still necessary, but there are hunter sales skills that are crucial for MSPs this year that had yet to be in the past.
In my next blog, we will explore this further, and I will share the ten essential sales-hunting skills for MSPs.
Photo: alleachday / Shutterstock