Imagine this scenario. You are a small but ambitious MSP. You’ve taken the leap of faith by adding a few new products and services to your portfolio and decided to go aggressive with your sales. The problem is that your passion lies in an industry that’s already over-saturated with the products and services you sell. Adding to the challenge, you are at the point of your business journey where technology is not the only competency you need to grow.
So, how do you keep building your sales numbers and strengthening your client relationships? To transition from owner-led sales to a true sales organization, small- to mid-sized MSPs need to reimagine their sales process and reinvent the way they sell products and services. MSPs that have a strategic plan behind their sales goals have a significant edge as they deploy their team to approach the right prospects at the right time—and get the wins.
Target the right personas
Personas are extremely detailed demographic and psychographic descriptions. When you develop the key personas of your customers, you are looking more deeply than the traditional “ideal customer” view. You are looking at geographic info, size of business, verticals, and layering on more personal aspects as well, to see patterns that will guide your approach to similar businesses. Your service team will be able to contribute this information about your existing clients. Based on this information, have your marketing team build the personas to target based on emerging patterns.
Knowing each persona dictates what kind of content will appeal to these prospects – what will engage them and drive more traffic to your website and social platforms, what they will value enough to give up their personal information. These personas need to be re-defined, re-evaluated, and re-documented regularly so they can be referenced not only by your sales team but also by your marketing, R&D, and leadership teams.
Spend some time talking to customers
Depending on what types of MSP solutions you sell, your prospects might be having significant pain points and concerns about their business recovery. It is of paramount importance that you capture that in the discovery process. This may mean providing your sales team with time to interact with customer support to understand clients’ pressing concerns. This will help them revisit their individual sales process and ask the right questions of prospects.
To start with, think about where your prospect is located, the market they serve, and the industry they are in before reaching out. While interacting with clients, encourage your sales reps to ask questions like “How have your priorities changed in the last 30 days?”, “Are you facing more risk or a sudden opportunity?”
Change your communications channel
Based on what you are hearing from your existing customers, decide what channel(s) would be most effective when connecting with prospects. Sometimes a well-researched PPC ad that addresses the right pain point can be enough to get hot leads to your sales team. You can always use re-targeting to target those that are in the decision-making phase.
Along with this, consider expanding to other channels, like social touches, or utilizing an integrated chat application to support inbound for late-stage deals. Use email and LinkedIn marketing to make pointed contact with relevant content.
Pitch ’em with interactive, meaningful content
Your content most likely references a value proposition or “why buy now” statements that won’t resonate with your prospects today. The value you provided yesterday might be irrelevant or how you message your value might need to be tweaked. If your prospect’s business focus has changed, you will want that to reflect in your messaging.
In the new world, we live in, web-based presentations are more important than ever. So, start repackaging your sales pitch into a full-blown virtual presentation. Be prepared to do more in these presentations; so, think of:
- Taking your prospect on a virtual tour of your NOC or helpdesk center
- Doing an in-depth product demo that includes members of your technical team who typically don’t get involved until later in the sale
- Sending a YouTube video of your product or solution in action, and then talking through it via web conference while watching the video together
Soften your asks
While writing a follow-up email, be laser-focused on the 1-2 pieces of critical value your MSP solution provides that meet that prospect’s current needs. Don’t demo your features again, demonstrating value to your prospect.
It’s also strategic to regularly share content prospects will find most meaningful and then remind them about that content in follow-up emails. This content could include articles, e-books, product demos, free trials, webinars, or client success stories. Don’t be afraid to work with your marketing counterparts to develop content that tells relevant stories that aren’t necessarily about your product but perhaps showcase partnership or expertise unique to your company.
Protect the base
More than ever, staying connected to your customers is key to your bottom line. A well-thought-out strategy can help you communicate business updates with customers, schedule critical meetings like business reviews, and manage your upcoming renewals. This also means your inbound lead handling needs to be rock solid. Every lead you get needs to be routed quickly and conversion needs to stay high, especially for customers moving away from outbound selling. Impeccable lead tracking is essential; you can’t understand what is working and what isn’t without knowing where each lead comes from and how it travels through to either a closed sale or lost deal.
Keep at it
Finally, think about non-conversion engagement and build ways to keep customers involved in your brand even when they may not be buying from you. Keep your ex-customers part of your email list of product updates, contests, educational content, and referral programs.
Reinforce (or create) an incentivized referral program to mine warm leads from within your customer base. Another option is to start a word-of-mouth referral program. To design relevant and valuable engagement for word-of-mouth marketing, you may want to stick to snippets highlighting successful customer stories.
Final Thought: There is nothing wrong with pounding the phones and sending cold email campaigns to grow your MSP. But if you have been involved in the sales during COVID, you probably experienced the same challenge that sales teams are experiencing everywhere – it is getting harder to convince prospects to take action. But if you re-evaluate your existing sales process and approach prospects with some creativity, you can end up crunching big sales numbers.