MSPs: Do You (Really) Focus on Sales?
A lack of focus on sales is a common error I see a lot of small MSPs make. Heck, most have no dedicated sales staff or sales plan whatsoever. The standard way of doing business is to wait for the phone to ring and hope for new business. This is a mistake. All great businesses are built with a strong sales attack.
No matter what size your MSP is, at least one person needs to focus their full-time effort on sales. Let’s face it, most of MSP owners avoid sales like the bubonic plague. Ever heard this old IT joke? “What do you call a geek who can sell.” The answer is “A millionaire.” There is lot of truth in this. Geeks who can sell are a rare bird. Bill Gates was one of them and we all know how his story ends. The rest of us aren’t Bill Gates. We would rather tinker with an exchange server than do a sales call. Just thinking about sales makes us feel dirty.
At the end of the day, you have three choices for improving your focus on sales.
- Do it yourself
- Bring on a business partner who excels at it
- Hire a salesperson
If you can afford it, hire best salesperson you can. It’s not going to be cheap to get someone skilled at sales, so don’t go bargain hunting. If you do it yourself, you will need to hire a tech to replace you in the field. Sales must be your full-time focus. It can’t be a here-and-there thing between doing service calls.
If you are small and just getting started, adding a business partner with sales ability makes sense. I have always held the belief that a highly technical individual partnered with skilled salesperson would be business marriage made in heaven. People choose business partners who have the same skill-sets they do. Two technical types seems to be a common pairing. To me, this seems redundant and adds nothing to the business. Partner with someone who excels in areas you stink at. And I don’t mean someone who knows virtualization. That’s just another technical skill you could learn yourself.
Once you have your full-time salesperson in place, you will need to formulate a plan of attack. Identify your ideal customer and how are you going to target them. If you hire a sales professional, set goals for them and hold them accountable to those goals. If you bring on a partner, spell out what each of you are responsible for and meet regularly about your progress toward achieving your business objectives.
I can one hundred percent guarantee you will never grow your MSP exponentially without prioritizing sales. If you are serious about taking your business to the next level, focus on sales.
Paul Barnett is marketing director for VirtualAdministrator, which offers hosted solutions for managed service providers. Read all of Paul’s guest blogs here. Guest blog entries such as this one are contributed on a monthly basis as part of MSPmentor’s 2010 Platinum sponsorship.