Growth-oriented MSPs can’t just rely on referrals; they must optimize their sales process and strategy to maintain a steady stream of prospects.

4 Min Read
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Over the years, I’ve met many VARs and MSPs that rely solely on referrals as a source for winning new business. Often, with a recommendation from an existing client, initial sales conversations go more smoothly because these are warm or even hot leads. It makes sense that you would want to take what is often the quickest path to a closed sale.

Although referral business is extremely important, relying entirely on referrals is quite risky. The number of those leads tends to flatten over time. Simply put, consistent growth requires taking a more aggressive approach to initiating new client relationships. Here are a few steps that can help keep your sales pipeline full:

  1. Get proactive.

To ensure a steady flow of new leads, you’ll need to proactively identify new sources of prospects. This could mean attending new events, rolling out new advertising campaigns, or even targeting new vertical markets or geographical regions. Getting proactive gives you more control over your business growth.

Your proactive approach should include a mix of different types of go-to-market activities. For example:

  • Setting appointments with prospects

  • Following up on referrals from existing clients

  • Building relationships with key centers of influence in the markets you want to reach

  • Developing an organized drip marketing campaign and system for follow-ups

  • Scheduling one-on-one follow-ups that go beyond just sending emails

  • Hosting regular webinars and other events to re-engage prospective buyers

  1. Provide a positive sales experience.

Each sales conversation presents a unique, self-contained opportunity. If you don’t deliver a positive and compelling sales experience, you could lose the opportunity altogether.

There are a few components to creating a positive sales experience for prospects:

  • Make sure you have an agenda going into the meeting, starting with introductions, and allow your customer or prospect the flexibility to add to it. Kick off your meeting by reinforcing the agenda.

  • Deliver a compelling message and ask questions that engage them on an emotional level

  • Don’t shy away from difficult conversations. Ask tough questions and approach the meeting with confidence, even if it means disagreeing (politely) with a prospective customer.

  • Rely on your expertise. It’s OK to challenge the prospect to think about business differently, including how it can be improved.

  • Ask questions, but mostly focus on being a good listener. This where you can find the opportunity to uncover challenges (pain) and get them emotionally invested.

  • Don’t overstay your welcome. Stick to your agenda and be respectful of their time. This will allow you to end the meeting on a positive note.

A memorable presentation and meeting can improve not only your close rates but also increase your customer loyalty.

  1. Build loyalty from the beginning.

You have an opportunity to build customer loyalty from the first touch. The sales process is the beginning of the client experience. The first impression you give a prospect is critical and paints a vision for them of how their future relationship with you might look.

Make sure you know how to articulate your unique value proposition, and why it can be compelling for customers. What benefits can you bring to their business? Communicating this in your early interactions can help carry you from a sales pitch right through a signed service contract.

With that in mind, make sure you don’t over-promise during the sale. No one will be happy in the long run if you aren’t honest about your capabilities up front. State what you can accomplish, put the key details in your service level agreement (SLA), and commit to prompt service delivery.

It’s also important to let your sales team know that they can walk away if the customer doesn’t look like a good fit. Not all revenue is good. If you focus on customers whose needs align with your service offerings and the way your company does business, you’ll experience less friction, see better morale among your staff, and avoid dealing with problem clients that can sour the business environment and cost you more in the long run.

Whatever sales message you craft or service promise you make, be consistent — no matter who’s delivering it.

By following these tips, you can keep your sales pipeline full, close more deals, and generate more long-term business.

Scott Bennett is Director of North American Partner Management for Barracuda MSP, a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers, and he plays a key role in the development and growth of partner relationships. 

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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