Nearly every MSP has done it – hired one, if not a series of sales people that they learned to hate because they were completely useless when it came to selling managed services. Sure they can sell hardware and maybe even get a project deal inked, but secure a managed services contract? Nope - it’s not gonna happen.
Why? First and foremost it’s because they don’t want to prospect. And let’s face it - selling managed services takes work.
The other reason - in the IT industry people are inclined to hire on technical competency first. It seems logical, but when you step back and look at what’s required to initiate, and ultimately close a managed services deal – technical expertise is way down on the list. You need a person with business expertise and true sales capabilities.
Working the RolodexAnother area that people tend to overlook when hiring the right sales talent is work ethic. Inevitably a sales rep knows how to come in and work a rolodex. You may even get lucky and they know how to make use of a CRM system. But the big question is does he or she have the work ethic and personality to really make it rain? That’s what you’re looking for.
MSPs need salespeople who are problem solvers. They need to know what levers to pull and how to talk to a business owner as well as the IT team. And when it comes to managed services, a salesperson must be able to clearly communicate, and show, what ROI looks like at varying levels of an organization.
What to Look ForAt N-able, we encourage our partners to hire on work ethic, sales capabilities and personality. The technical aspects of the products, solutions and services can be learned or supported by another member of the team.
We also advise our partners to organize their sales structure in such a way that they have both an inside rep and a field sales rep. And if you can afford a field sales team - even better.
Quick rule of thumb: If you give the inside rep something else to do beside make calls, he or she will spend all day doing whatever that is, versus dialing. An inside sales rep’s sole responsibility should be doing nothing but calling and setting the initial presentation for the field rep or reps.
Recurring Revenue ExpectatonsAlso, be sure to set goals and metrics that let you can easily measure your sales team’s success. On average, a successful MSP’s inside sales rep will make 2,000 calls a month and set 16 to 20 initial presentations. The team will then close 25 percent of those deals – creating somewhere between $4,000 to $6,000 in recurring revenue.
Another critical point: No matter how large or small the MSP, it’s incredibly important that the business owner stay involved in the sales process. The companies you are selling to want to know the business owner is accessible, remains involved and is in country and not traveling about on permanent vacation.
As we all know, this is a relationship business. So be sure it’s part of the company culture to have the boss meet with customers and prospects on a regular basis.
Every decision maker – whether the deal is big or small – ultimately wants to look the business owner in the eye before signing on the dotted line. This is especially true in the managed services arena where the IT services and support play such a critical, day-to-day role in the success and productivity of the organization.
Hiring the right talent and establishing the right sales structure is a must. For more than a decade, N-able has been helping MSPs set up their managed services business for success. Now with our MSP Runbooks in play and insight from N-able’s MSP Super Elite partner community, we’ve been able to identify and document best practices that are proven to work. For more information, visit www.n-able.com or give my sales team a call at 877-655-4689.
Mike Cullen is Senior VP of sales at N-able Technologies, which develops remote monitoring and management automation solutions for MSPs and IT departments. Monthly guest blogs such as this are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship.