Getting to Yes: Six Teleprospecting Techniques for MSPs

When done correctly, teleprospecting can be a very useful tool for steadily increasing sales velocity, which is one of the biggest problems many MSPs run into. Here are six tips to get you started toward an effective teleprospecting approach.

February 13, 2014

4 Min Read
Take the chill out of teleprospecting
Take the chill out of teleprospecting

By Continuum Guest Blog 1

Many MSPs tell me they are good at closing sales once they can get a face-to-face meeting. But face it – cold calling isn’t fun. And B2B teleprospecting is a vital component of any MSP’s overall lead generation efforts.

However, many service providers neglect the art of cold calling. The business owner of a small MSP, who doubles as the lead engineer, may have little time or inclination to ring up potential customers. In this case, you may rely entirely on referrals from existing customers or friends. That’s a slow and unpredictable way to grow a business.

But even larger MSPs equipped with a dedicated sales team may miss the mark on teleprospecting. Phone skills have a way of becoming rusty and some sales people may never have been trained properly in the first place. For some solution providers, teleprospecting means blasting through a telesales list, with or without a script. It’s not a very strategic method for companies aiming to build a prospect database, get appointments and close business.

When done correctly, teleprospecting can be a very useful tool for steadily increasing sales velocity, which is one of the biggest problems many MSPs run into. Here are six tips to get you started toward an effective teleprospecting approach:

1. Create A Blueprint

Don’t make that first call without a plan. Devise a blueprint that details the sales territory you wish to cover, the target company or vertical market, target revenue (company size) and the level of decision maker you hope to reach (IT manager, CEO, business owner). You should also establish a set of expectations and metrics for measuring the success of a teleprospecting campaign. Other important blueprint components include the anatomy of a sales call (see below), supporting success stories, qualifying questions and objection handling.

2. Understand the Anatomy of a Call

You need to learn the structure of an effective teleprospecting call. The first part is getting past the gatekeepers. The gatekeepers’ primary duty is to filter information to the prospect’s decision makers. Try chatting up different departments such as customer service to get around the customer’s sales defense. Ask for a direct line to the decision maker. Next, you need to map out the conversation before you place the call to the decision maker. Craft a solid opening, prepare rebuttals for typical sales objections and line up some success stories to reinforce your credibility. And when you talk to the decision maker, make sure you ask an open-ended question as soon as possible. Develop a question the prospect can’t answer with a simple yes or no: What does your current managed services environment look like? What needs to be improved? How is downtime affecting your business? The idea is to extend the conversation and buy time to uncover the prospect’s pain points

3. Be Prepared for Your Calls

Before you dial the phone, double check to determine whether you have everything in place. You’ll need the blueprint, a call list based on your ideal target customer, responses to objections and a consistent follow-up strategy. You also need to have a strategic purpose for the call. For example, is it to set up a meeting, get the prospect to attend a webinar or introduce your company?

4. Role play a situational call around a pain point or objection

Role playing is another aspect of being prepared for your calls. You need to practice on yourself, not on your prospects. Role playing gives you a chance to review the anatomy of a call and become comfortable with the sales script. Be sure to focus on pain points or objections during the role-playing exercise. That way, you can gain confidence in your ability to maintain a strategic conversation with the decision maker.

5. Dedicate Time Each Day to Cold Call

Consistency is the key with any new and challenging task and cold calling is no different. Make sure you set a time each day to make cold calls. If gatekeepers are a problem, you might try making calls when the decision maker is likely to be in the office and the gatekeeper is likely to be away: early morning and late evening.

It’s also important to break up the day for your callers and build a positive team environment. This will go a long way in helping you keep good sales talent and allowing your team to feed off each other’s successes.

6. Confirm Your Appointments

This final stage is important: you need to know whether or not you have the prospect’s full commitment to the meeting. As you wrap up the teleprospecting call, ask the decision maker to grab a pencil and mark the time on his or her calendar. Confirm with the prospect who from your company will be visiting and at what time. And have the prospect make note of the topic of discussion.

Seconds Count

You only have a few seconds to pique a prospect’s interest. MSPs that take the time to refine their teleprospecting skills have the best chance of booking a meeting or at least winning the conversation for a future call.

Mark Zahar is VP of Channel Sales at Continuum, a leading provider managed services solutions that power MSP growth.

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