MSP Sales During The Holidays
Holidays can be anything but fun for MSPs. With clients and prospects off for vacation or spending time with their family, we know it's difficult to close the monthly sales. Your prospects have their heads buried in the sand (literally too) and all you receive are out-of-office auto replies from their mailbox. While you can do little about your prospects enjoying a fun vacation, there’s much to do to keep your sales engine running.
We talked to a few smart MSPs and brought home a few nuggets of MSP sales wisdom for you.
Let’s get realistic about those sales targets
Your sales numbers will most likely not spike because it is the holidays. Understanding this ground reality helps you set more realistic sales targets for your team. Keep in mind that this is a phase that your business will experience every year and fighting through this is essential for your team’s morale. Setting high expectations pushes your sales team to exhaustion. Do not overreact to poor sales results during the holidays because you may not be able to capitalize on any upward growth trajectory that occurs towards the end of the season.
Pro tip: Depending on the market trends, adjust your sales targets. Balance out the missed opportunities in the peak sales months by planning ahead of time.
Incentivize your MSP sales team
We’ve talked about the importance of empowering your sales team in our previous articles and it isn’t just enough. Growing your revenue depends heavily on the performance of your sales team. While it is easy to achieve those MSP sales targets during the non-vacation periods, things can get difficult during the holiday season. If you want them to outperform themselves, you need to empower them by offering lucrative bonuses and incentives.
Recognize your team and the efforts they put in to achieve the goals you have set for them this season. This encourages them to always put their best foot forward. This is also a great opportunity for you to get creative on how you want to reward their work. Here are a few ways in which you can incentivize your sales team.
- Set a stretch goal to keep the momentum on.
- Implement accelerated commission tiers to encourage your sales reps to strive and close deals towards the end of the month.
- Set aside a certain percentage of your revenue from the previous quarter and use it to reward your high performing sales representatives.
- Display numbers publicly within your organization. This brings on a healthy competitive spirit within the team. It also encourages your entire organization to root for your sales team.
- Build bonuses into specific results. Always remember to be realistic when you set those goals.
Get some kick-ass sales and marketing collateral ready
Sales and marketing are two teams that should ideally talk to each other and work closely but it is seldom the case. This happens because marketers work from an analytics perspective and rarely get the kind of feedback that the sales team gets. This results in siloed functioning.
However, when these two teams exchange information and collaborate, your revenue begins to soar.
One of the key aspects that the sales and marketing teams need to collaborate on is to create well-performing content. This could be in the form of gated content, webinars, or sales collateral. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that having digital collateral is important in the B2B selling landscape.
Here are a few ways to get the sales and marketing teams talking.
- Make the collection and sharing of strong data between the two teams a priority.
- Set common Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and align them in advance so that both teams can prioritize the same short-term success measurements.
- Get the sales and marketing teams to work together on brand messaging and positioning; it promotes a gestalt in the ideas and brand messaging.
- Get your marketing teams on sales calls so they experience and learn from customers first hand.
During the holidays, when the phones aren’t ringing and the inboxes have zero emails, use it as an opportunity to get both these teams to stockpile some kick-ass content. Think of the holidays as a time to prep for raving sales in the upcoming months.
Attend industry MSP events, expos, and conferences
There is no shortage of MSP events, expos, and conferences for the IT industry. A modest opinion is that these events can be expensive and are more beneficial for the industry vendors than for the managed service providers. Yet, these events can be a good way to get your MSP brand name out and get up to speed on the latest industry trends. You also get to learn about your competitor landscape. If you have the budget for events, we’d recommend that you attend a few of them.
The holiday season is a good time to attend these kinds of events because the impact of your absence on your operations is quite minimal. Trying to do this during the non-vacation period would be difficult. Imagine trying to set aside time for events during the non-vacation period, when you’re being surrounded by clients, and competitors pecking away your prospects.
Not the perfect time for events, right? We thought so too!
During the holidays, your advertising spend will weaken and the results might not be impressive. It can, in fact, get expensive to generate new leads. What’s worse? The leads you generate are unresponsive and go cold quickly. But what if we told that you can generate leads for free? You read that right. We are referring to your existing customers!
You have a whole client base that you can double down your efforts on. In fact, it’s easier to sell to an existing client than to acquire a new customer. We have a few tips that you can put into action and get started on upselling and cross-selling.
- Get to know your audience. The buyer persona of a new prospect is different from that of an existing customer. Create these personas using demographic and psychographic details, and customer feedback.
- Build out customer journeys. Since they are existing customers, map out how they will use another service and benefit from it.
- Give them a discount or an offer they can’t deny. Though this is one of the oldest sales tricks in the book, it works like a charm because people love the thrill of getting a good bargain.
Pro tip: If your clients are extremely happy with your service, they will refer you to their peers or friends. This way you get free word-of-mouth marketing and referrals.
Shorten the sales cycle
A valid and common reason that you might hear from prospects is that they do not want to buy your service during a non-active operational period — the holidays. A smart way to overcome this challenge is to nudge them to sign the service contract now and bill them once they use your service. This way you would have secured a business deal and reap its benefits in the upcoming months. You can also create a sense of urgency by throwing in an offer or highlight the value your MSP services can provide them.
The vacation season can be fun and productive for you if you plan ahead for the holidays’ slump. Use this time efficiently. Don’t be afraid to get creative in your approach to MSP sales strategies. Do you have a silver bullet sales technique that has worked for you during the holidays? Let us know in the comments.