Sales and tech—MSP industry's dynamic duo

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Dynamic duos are an integral part of pop culture and history in general.

Kirk and Spock, Batman and Robin, Obi-wan and Anakin... it’s a never-ending list. And if we’re being IT industry-specific, there are Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak, Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard, or our in-house duo, Arvind and Jay. The idea with these partnerships is that they complement each other with their unique strengths. MSPs too can make use of a duo—sales and tech.

“Sales and tech? That sounds very obvious. Doesn’t every IT organization need these two constituents to function anyway?” Well, yes but (and it’s a big but) most organizations tend to look at sales and tech as two completely different entities. In fact, a lot of MSPs don’t have a dedicated sales strategy to sell their tech services. This is why we'll be uncovering how MSPs can focus on sales better and build an amazing sales team.

Another day, same old sales technique

More often than not, MSPs are started by someone with an IT background, which usually means that sales isn't their strong suit. Something that holds MSPs back is to look beyond basic, traditional sales approaches.

MSPs are still selling their products and services as one-time commodities, without a plan for sustained growth in the long run. This has limited MSPs to selling a product or service that’s good to have as opposed to essential services.

Evolve to meet client needs

The role of IT in the corporate world has grown by leaps and bounds. It's gone from being an optional enhancement/feature to an absolute necessity. Back in the day, organizations didn’t really have a major driver that would make them switch to IT. That has now changed. This means that MSPs have a lot of potential for explosive growth that goes untapped.

With the evolution of industries across verticals, MSPs need to diversify and expand their field of expertise and operations from their original domain. MSPs need to actively seek clientele from different verticals and offer more essential services that businesses will need.

Educate the customer

The general end-user or client doesn’t understand the intricacies of various IT elements, including cybersecurity and AI. The client may not understand these intricacies, but the onus is on the MSP to educate their clients on these elements, by taking an ELI5 approach to explaining the benefits and risks involved.

What this does is empower the client to make informed decisions on the services they need, ensuring that they're not unhappy paying for services that offer no value. This builds trust with the client, paving opportunities for upselling and thriving long-term business relationships.

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A $1,000/month contract becomes $12,000/year and $36,000 over three years. Plus, that client totally relies on you for other purchases as well. Get fifteen of those and you’ve got $180,000 a year! Add twenty contracts at $3,500 per month and you’ve got a million dollars. The most beautiful thing about managed services (and cloud services) is recurring revenue. It’s built into the system. It IS the business model.

Karl W. Palachuk

Public speaker and MSP expert

How to get the sales engine running

Now that the why is established, let's quickly look at how MSPs could approach building a sales team.

The first step is to plan and redefine your sales strategy from scratch. Plan to build a sustainable and proactive sales pipeline that's aggressive and ties into your MSP's long-term growth vision. It's also key to keep technology in mind while planning sales strategies. Move away from email inboxes and start leveraging sales empowerment tools to manage client conversations effectively.

The next step is to start working on the sales team itself. Invest time in hiring great salespeople with a proven track record in your domain. Consistently train new and existing employees to keep them aligned on a strategic POV. Ensure that they have a full understanding of the services you provide, and the ability to explain them sans the complexity. Lay down special emphasis on empathy to identify and relate to the customer's perspective and challenges. Keep fine-tuning the process as a whole, and you have a winning sales model that can generate revenue exponentially over time.

Sell actively - Inbound and Outbound lead generation

A sustainable way to sell is to create a balanced Inbound-outbound lead generation engine. This is where you'll need an active partnership between sales and marketing. Gather marketing insights to identify who's checking your MSP out, and how and where they found you. This tells you which verticals you should start leaning into from a services front, and narrows down the channels of lead generation that you need to focus on. Zero in and start creating value propositions by creating content for user education and thought leadership to differentiate your MSP in the market. All of these activities have a direct positive impact on your revenue, with long-term benefits in the form of brand perception.

Be empathetic

It goes without saying, but empathy is the best way to build a connection with your client. Keeping the client's frustrations and needs in mind before you start pitching your services. Before you actively pitch, always try to listen to the customer's needs. Be honest and open about the value your service could add. Be transparent and upfront about the finer print and caveats. Use incentives with care and always keep the long-term vision in mind. Remember, great relationships bring you more business in the long run.

(Psst! We've written a short playbook with tips to help you craft a sales pitch that converts like magic. Click here to check it out!)

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