Since MSPs are selling a service, sales and marketing should be about identifying and engaging the right prospects.

Datto Guest Blogger

March 23, 2020

3 Min Read
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In general, most managed service providers (MSPs) have a technical background rather than one in business or sales. Many MSP shops struggle with these critical aspects of running a successful business. While some growth might occur organically through word of mouth, this isn’t going to guarantee you consistent new business, even if you deliver great services.

This is where sales come into the picture. The primary goal of sales is to generate new business for your company. For an MSP, sales and marketing aren’t just about closing deals. Since MSPs are selling a service, these disciplines should be about identifying and engaging the right prospects–potential customers that have a set of IT needs that MSPs can provide for them over time. We’ve pulled together the key sales strategies for MSPs looking to increase profits and drive new business:

  1. Build sales expertise.

There are two ways to build sales expertise: Hire someone with sales experience, or train existing staff to sell like a pro. If you are getting serious about sales and growth, hiring a skilled sales staff can make a big difference. However, many shops can’t afford to hire new employees just yet. If that is the case, MSPs need to identify and train sales representatives from within, whether they are currently a more technical- or operations-geared employee.

Another option is to get the technical staff involved in the sales process. After all, they have the most contact with current clients, which means they may be able to identify potential sales opportunities better than anyone else. If you take this approach, it is important that it is appropriately structured. Your customers should always perceive your engineers as trustworthy resources who are there to solve problems—not people trying to get them to spend money. To preserve this reputation, create a structure in which technical staff can make recommendations to customers, but then refer them to a sales rep to finalize the deal.

  1. Select and train sales staff.

Whether you are hiring a new salesperson or transitioning a current employee into a sales role, you should look for specific qualities that indicate they will be likely to succeed. Sales training is essential. Training/education from outside sources can also be valuable. HTG Peer Groups offers a variety of sales, marketing and business development learning opportunities, including educational content via its website and events. The ASCII Group, another popular IT channel organization, also provides learning opportunities.

  1. Develop a sales process.

Developing a sales process, sometimes referred to as a sales pipeline, is another essential step toward sales success. The specifics will differ from business to business, but, generally speaking, a sales process is a repeatable set of steps salespeople follow to move potential clients from a prospect to a customer. The stages of the sales process typically include:

  • Lead generation/prospecting

  • Initial contact

  • Technical presentation

  • Close

  1. Track sales progress to hit goals: Tracking sales daily, weekly and quarterly ensures that potential opportunities do not slip through the cracks. It’s also the most effective way to hit set goals. Meeting goals is the measure of sales success—setting and tracking progress toward goals is the standard and most effective way to ensure sales accountability. Using a CRM (customer relationship management) system is a great way to keep track of your leads and sales goals.

Sales is the most effective way to ensure predictable growth for your MSP business, and developing a sales process that works is essential. However, the right sales process will vary from business to business and even from rep to rep. Make sure the specifics of your business dictate the foundation of your sales structure and process. To learn more read our eBook Sales Made MSPeasy.

Anirban Ghosh is senior manager, Global Expansion, Datto.

This guest blog is part of a Channel Futures sponsorship.

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