August 16, 2019
By Brad Stoller
The managed service provider world shrinks significantly when you encounter it on the conference circuit. I encounter the same industry leaders all over the country every year, regardless of which city I’m visiting. Because I see so many of the same faces, most of them know we provide appointment setting services for MSPs.
Though they know about the services, not all of them partner with us right away. One industry leader I see every year has given me the same reason each time we run into each other: His salespeople often drop the ball on first-time prospect meetings because they don’t have enough skin in the game.
The problem is in their mindset. They receive a stack of high-quality leads and get to work, slogging through name after name, hoping for a sale. Even the most enthusiastic sales pros have trouble keeping their energy levels high after so many calls, and it shows. Hot leads soon cool into bored prospects. For the sales team, this isn’t the end of the world. You’ll provide them with another stack of leads soon enough.
We see this same trend in appointment setting as well. Our clients need to use our services the way they’re designed to get the most value from them. If a prospect’s sales team isn’t enthusiastic, we’ll turn them away early on in our conversations because we know the program is destined to fail.
When the sales pros aren’t personally invested in gathering leads or appointment setting services, they treat the leads with less respect. If they didn’t have to pay for the program, it’s easier to cancel meetings at the last minute or leave a stack of leads tucked away on a computer file. When they have money on the table, however, they grow more engaged
Because engagement is one of the biggest factors in the success of a program, we always push back when an MSP wants to cover the entire cost of appointment-setting services for their team. For the greatest success, we believe the sales team should pay at least part of the contract. Though it may seem unorthodox, the ROI will ultimately be greater for everyone involved if each member of the team is personally invested.
Some approaches you can take to introduce the all-hands-in strategy:
Split the costs with the team. Instead of pushing the full cost of appointment service onto the team, offer to cover a portion of the budget. They stay personally invested in the resource, and you provide a reasonable level of support for them to invest.
Reward them for performance. Allow the sales team to purchase the service, but create an incentive: If they can generate a profit through the product, you’ll reimburse their investment. Their wallets will take the initial hit, but they’ll have more reason to exploit the appointment setting service as much as possible in their upcoming calls.
If the team isn’t interested in sharing the costs, create a new…
…expectation: Salespeople should pursue their own leads. If there’s a solid combination of commission and staff support, this is a reasonable request.
The key ingredient here is psychology. Each of us will instinctively take something more seriously when we have something to lose. By strategically harnessing this part of human nature, you can open the door for a new stream of business. When your salespeople are deeply motivated — recognizing that their success is interwoven into the success of the business they represent — their performance in the field will typically rise to the challenge.
It’s worth noting here that not all salespeople will respond positively to these types of incentive structures, and that’s OK. In most cases, those aren’t the kind of salespeople you should look to hire in the first place because they may not have the hunter mentality that typically uncovers the game-changing opportunities. True hunters recognize that they get to eat when everyone gets to eat, and they will turn over new stones and spend time honing their own skills so that they can do better and be better.
This is where top-tier salespeople are alike. They love having skin in the game, and we should design our new business processes to attract and retain this type of talent.
Brad Stoller is working to change how MSPs look at their sales processes. He authors articles, provides video instruction for MSP sales tips and holds sales-related webinars to help MSP owners, managers and sales personnel. As the national director of business development at The PT Services Group, Brad has interviewed hundreds of MSP owners to develop a new way of focusing on quality, first-time appointments and sustainable, exponential growth. Follow @BradStoller on Twitter or on LinkedIn.
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