Beyond Cold Calling: 3 Rules for a Successful Services Sales StrategyBeyond Cold Calling: 3 Rules for a Successful Services Sales Strategy
If your sales are stagnating, or if your managed services practice never really took off to begin with, there are concrete steps you can take to develop a winning sales strategy.
August 28, 2014
By N-able Guest Blog 2
The MSP market is on fire, and industry analysts are projecting it will hit $256 billion in size by 2018. But if the market is so red-hot, why are so many service providers still struggling? The reality is, while many MSPs make the leap to managed services, few are able to effectively transform their business and fully reap the benefits.
If your sales are stagnating, or if your managed services practice never really took off to begin with, here are three essential rules proven to help VARs and MSPs develop a winning sales strategy:
1. Know the customer
Hands down the best advice you can get for powering up a new customer acquisition strategy and becoming a strategic adviser is to know your customer. But,unfortunately, many MSPs train their staff on a new remote monitoring and management (RMM) solution and then call it a new day. Some think that by investing in RMM, customers will automatically follow.
The Field of Dreams “build it and they will come” scenario doesn’t play out in real life for a number of reasons. The truth is, managed services isn’t a technical sale; it’s a business sale. Failure to address your small-to-midsize business (SMB) customers’ pressing concerns in your sales pitch results in slower uptake and disappointing outcomes. That’s why the most important rules when getting started with managed services is listen to your prospects, do your homework upfront, and take the time to understand what their business goals are and where they need help.
2. Sell the right services at the right time
Generating recurring revenue and acquiring new customers are flip sides of the same coin. You need new customers to generate recurring revenue. You can’t generate more recurring revenue without new customers. It is a yin and yang modality. In most cases, the reason MSPs have difficulty generating recurring revenue is because they are either selling to the wrong type of customer or selling the wrong type of service.
The key to building recurring revenue is selling the right services to the right customers at the right time. Many MSPs try to sell fully managed services to all customers. In reality, 75 percent of the addressable SMB market consists of customers who are operating at the break-fix and responsive stage of IT maturity. These customers want a simpler, easier-to-understand solution that provides quick value to an immediate IT need.
For example, in many cases, a new customer will simply want a solution to a backup issue or antivirus problem. To take advantage of that opportunity, and win that new client, the MSP needs the flexibility to sell exactly what the client needs–as a managed service. This can include managed antivirus, managed data backup, managed mobile, patch management, data storage, Office 365, Hosted Exchange and other specific services. N-able calls this strategy “a la carte.” It is a key success factor for winning new customers because you are able to sell specific services that a customer wants and needs now. From that first sale, if you prove your value, you can build and expand the relationship.
3. Don’t wait, automate
By reducing the cost of delivering managed services, an MSP immediately improves its profitability. Automating as many standard, manual IT tasks as possible is key to reducing costs. In doing so, an MSP can dramatically improve the number of devices managed per technician—enabling organizations to accomplish more with less staff and delivering services to end customers more quickly and efficiently, and to a consistent service standard. The challenge is to automate the right types of routine tasks to realize new efficiencies, achieve a systematic approach and improve technician productivity.
There are many tasks that make sense for automation. They include updating patches, resetting passwords, running defrags, application deployments, performing asset management, updating software on employees’ systems, managing endpoint security and regulatory compliance, and rapidly auto-discovering all network and systems across the infrastructure.
This long list may seem overwhelming for an MSP–especially one that is just getting started–and that’s why N-able offers easy drag-and-drop scripting as part of its N-central RMM automation solution.
The premise is simple: The more you can automate, the less time you spend reinventing the wheel and the more efficient you become.
Many IT services firms move to managed services and fail to realize the full potential of generating recurring revenue. By following these three rules you’ll get your business headed in the right direction and will be on your way to building a sustainable, profitable and successful managed services practice.
Frank Colletti is vice president of sales for N-able by SolarWinds, a global leader in remote monitoring and management (RMM) and service automation software. In this role, he is responsible for building the sales infrastructure and culture that supports the company’s managed service provider (MSP) partners worldwide, including new customer acquisition and vertical market efforts. With more than 16 years of experience in sales leadership, Colletti brings an in-depth understanding of sales and MSP expertise to N-able. Since joining the company in 2003, he has made significant contributions to the success and year-over-year growth of N-able and its MSP partner community.
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