Maximize Your MSP Prospecting: 3 Tips to Build a Better Sales Pipeline
Prospecting is one of the most important things a managed service provider (MSP) does — not only is it essential for growth, but a big healthy pipeline provides confidence in overcoming the challenges we face in the rest of our business. This is why it’s so important to have an actual process that includes skills with a high rate of return to ensure our success:
1. Make every interaction count.
I see it over and over again where salespeople waste their time by moving on from a cold prospect too quickly. I was guilty of this early in my career; for example, when calling a financial firm and being told the CEO was out of the office, I would either hang up, ask when to call back or leave a generic voicemail. I wasn’t making the most of my time at the plate. You have already done the hardest part of a cold call: dialing the number. Why not take the extra 10 seconds to gather one piece of information from the person on the other end? Ask things like, “Is the CEO still the best person to speak with?” “Are you still about 30 employees?” “Do you have frequent computer issues?” These small pieces of information really add up when you factor in an average of six calls before making contact with a decision-maker and helps show you are actually worth speaking to when you finally get that CEO on the phone.
2. Rank your prospects.
I love prospect ranking because it allows me to focus my time on the people who are most worth it. There are a number of methods to do this, but I advise MSPs to create a field in their PSA or CRM based on ABC, 123. A, B or C is your prospect’s potential and usually is based on the number of computer users or potential monthly spend. 1, 2 or 3 is the level of interest they have in making a change in their IT support structure. For example, an A1 might be a prospect who has more than 50 computers and has decided to not renew with their current MSP when their contract expires in 60 days. A C2 is a seven-user organization that’s only interested in meeting with you to lower their IT spend. Once in place, I put 80 percent of prospecting efforts into the A1, A2, A3, B1, B2 and C1 prospects. Everyone else gets put on my email and newsletter list.
3. Research, research, research.
We sell in a time where so much information is accessible online, and yet many don’t use widely available, low-cost or free research tools to their advantage. Apps like Accompany and Nudge allow you to search an individual or company and provide a wealth of information. The goal here is to maximize results, minimize your efforts and help you intelligently talk to as many leads as possible. When you have done your research, it shows — and increases your chances of converting that lead to a prospect or prospect to a customer.
Prospecting is especially difficult for MSPs because of the focus on service/delivery required to maintain satisfied customers; however, those who treat prospecting and sales with the same importance will continue to thrive. Challenge yourself and your team to document, automate and improve this crucial area of your practice, and the results will follow.
Will Ominsky is managing director of Clarity Channel Advisory Group (CCAG). A veteran of channel players such as independenceIT and Thrive Networks, Will joined CCAG from itopia, a WaaS software provider, having served most recently as their director of channel development. Will has extensive experience in MSP sales, cloud computing, training, business development and account management, and provides analytics and insights for the annual Channel Futures MSP 501 ranking list.