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Why Sending Thank You Emails Isn’t Enough: Keeping Track of and Working Sales Opportunities

Summary

Nobody said that creating an effective and profitable sales strategy was easy - you need a bit more than just a Thank you email to turn your leads into real clients. But it needn’t be too difficult either.

In this webinar, Ben Spector, Product Manager for Zomentum, will be joined by David Nicholls, Managing Director of Better IT, and Stuart Warwick, MSP Growth Specialist. They talk about:

  • Building an effective sales process
  • Utilizing sales converting tools to improve conversions
  • Creating impactful lead conversion for each stage of the funnel
  • Finding measurable ways to harness the power of KPIs


Key Takeaways 

The most common sales challenges faced by MSPs and IT providers:

  • Set aside time for sales and marketing efforts.
  • Understand that sales and marketing are processes.
  • Delegate where you can.


How to start building your sales process from scratch:

  • Have the fundamentals in place before you start. 
  • Decide what you're aiming for. 
  • Build the marketing engine and the sales engine to support it.
  • Fix your sales process.


Top 3 things that IT partners must do when creating a sales strategy:

  • Get the core right at the beginning.
  • There's gonna be a lot of listening involved. 
  • Remember to follow through - Set up automation/nudges to follow-up.


What are IT Partners’ biggest barriers to sales success:

  • No time to dedicate to the sales process, they’re too busy running the day-to-day business that sales becomes a side note. 
  • Don’t have someone in the business responsible for sales. 
  • No clear process or strategy in place.


How to start when you MSPs have nothing in place:

  • Start with building a bucket of what your “ideal clients” look like.
  • Then build a process to talk to them.
  • Never forget to Follow-up. Keep leads in your sales funnel (even if they say no) and continue to drip-feed them.


Top 3 things every MSP must do when creating a sales strategy and defining their process:

  • Don’t try to sell. Listen and learn what they want to achieve.
  • Show them things they haven’t thought of before. Be a true consultant. Your client’s business growth is your growth.
  • Develop a structured process. Set up automation/nudges to follow-up.
  • Don’t play the price game and fire clients if necessary.

What do you think MSPs can do to improve their leads to sales conversion:

  • Have a two-stage qualification process. Qualify via demos but also qualify via mindset.
  • Talk to the decision-makers about how you’re going to make an impact. Understand emotional drivers.
  • You can't scale if you don't start putting systems and processes in place.


How to keep leads warm until they are ready to buy:

  • Keep in touch. Put them back in the funnel even if they say No. Keep them in campaigns and when renewal comes up they’ll think of you.
  • Put systems into place that allow this.
  • Don’t let them forget you - keep the issue that they’re facing in front of them via your marketing strategies.


TRANSCRIPT

Ben:

Hello, and welcome to today's webinar panel - Why Sending Thank You Emails Isn't Enough: Keeping Track Of And Working Sales Opportunities

I'm Ben Spector, Product Manager at Zomentum, the Leading Revenue Platform built for the channel. Let me tell you a little bit about our guests. 

Stuart Warwick is an MSP-specific business coach, creator of the scale with confidence model, and founder of the MSP Mastery program. Stuart's chosen to tackle a big problem with 96% of MSPs failing to exceed a million pounds in revenue. His mission is to help as many MSPs scale competently to this number and build a business that works for them, rather than them working for the business; Therefore giving them more time, profit, and freedom. 

We're also joined by one of your fellow MSPs and new dad, congratulations on that David. David Nichols from BetterIT. Although the company is now 17 years old. Dave has effectively reset the company four years ago and has been growing the company at over 30% year on year, since then. Apparently, a large chunk of the increase has been realized through streamlining and automating business processes. And this means there's a great potential for continued growth over the coming years. 

So I think you can agree we are with two very qualified people to be talking about working your sales opportunities. Wonderful to have you both onboard today. And thank you for joining us.


Stuart:

You’re very welcome Ben. Good to be here.


Ben:

So I guess, let's get the conversation going then. I've got a question. I think maybe we start with Stuart on this one, from your experience working with MSPs, and IT providers, what would you say are the most common sales challenges they face?


What Are The Most Common Sales Challenges Faced By MSPs And IT Providers?

Stuart:  

So it's a classic question, a great question. The old chestnut of time is always a really big thing for MSPs. They are in that place where they want to grow; they're past that startup phase and are established. It's like, I need more clients to grow, but there's this challenge of being too busy in the business chasing the tail. 

Setting aside Time For Sales and Marketing Efforts

Even when the business is quite big, we've got clients making multi-millions in revenue. Still, sales and marketing come right down the bottom of their to-do list because they're so busy doing other stuff, driving, and leading the business. So I think the common challenges are time and their ability to believe that they can focus on it and carve time out for it. Which is what we help them do. 

Understanding it is a Process

The second piece is understanding that sales and marketing are processes. When you understand that it is a process, and you've got to go through a number of steps to get a client or get a prospect to sign on the dotted line, rather than clients come to you as referrals, they're already down partway down the sales process to a point, there's this expectation that you can take them from cold to sold. But it is a process of warming them up from cold to hot so that they're ready to buy, and that takes time. 

Once MSPs get their head around the fact that this is a process, they have to find the time to understand it and work it. The whole thing becomes a lot easier because you've now got a formula about how to approach it. 


Delegating Where You Can

The third piece is your ability to delegate. You don't have to be a sales and marketing expert to get good at sales. But you've got to learn what your strengths are and what the strengths of the people in your organization are or are not, and then find the right person to exploit the sales and marketing process for you.


Ben:

Yeah, I've heard you talking about the processes before. I think my favorite thing you say a lot is, I use the word ‘suspect’ to refer to those people at the cold end of it. I love the way you talk about moving them from ‘suspect’ to ‘prospect’.


Stuart:  

Yeah, totally, and just understanding that piece of the puzzle at the top end is important. It starts to switch the light bulbs on for MSPs who are technical by nature generally and don't come from a sales specialist area.  

It's like driving a car. Once you understand the component parts, it suddenly becomes a lot easier, particularly if you can delegate it and set other people up to execute it for you.


Ben:  

Yep. David, I guess if we pivot that question slightly, from your experience working with those suspects, what would you say are the most common challenges that you face, and probably other MSPs face when it comes to sales?


David: 

I think Stuart covered 99% of it. I mean, the timing thing, it just can take ages, if not years. I had a client who signed up the Friday before the first lockdown, which was fun. But we've been talking to them for six years. I kept talking to them, they kept hearing about us, and the message we would give them was very different from what their existing supplier said. We found that after a while, they just asked us to have a chat, at which point we were able to really show the differences between them and us and move forward.

But that was four or five years' worth of talking. But, the deal is thousands a month, and they're over the moon really happy.  I think the sales part is almost the final bit. That can be a lot more structured and possibly shorter. However, for marketing, it is about pulling them through the funnel. 

I mean, Stuart mentioned a marketing process. We developed this a couple of years ago. However, we call it our marketing engine, a piece of material that comes in here and then goes to them. They do that, then that goes to them. What the end person sees is on social media. It comes out related to this guide, that we post on the blog, and it's an automated process. I don't touch it, but actually, there's someone doing it.  

But yeah, and it takes quite a long time to home that and get it right. But the whole thing is process and structure, which allows you to be; I think the word is consistent. While constantly keeping in front of these people.


Ben: 

Poll Question

Do You have a clear and defined sales process in place?

  • Yes
  • No


Yeah, I just dropped the question in the poll, Do you have a clear and defined sales process in place. Almost everyone's on to that. We've got almost a 50-50 split on the responses there. 58% say yes, they do, and a massive 42% say they don't, which I think goes hand in hand with what Stuart said about MSPs not being natural salespeople. It is tough putting those processes in place. 

But hopefully, as we go through the discussion today, a lot of tips and tricks will come out as words of wisdom. Those people that haven't yet got the processes in place can move forward and start to define them.


Stuart:

I've got a great analogy that perhaps helps bring it alive for people. Think about sales and marketing as being an air traffic controller of your airport, which is your MSP as an airport. Your suspects can become prospects onto your radar, and they are those little blips. Those little blips have got a choice to land at your airport or go somewhere else. 

The process of warming them up is about keeping those blips on your radar screen, present, so they don't go off your radar screen. Bring them closer and closer and circle them in so that you can land them at your airport, which is your business. At any point, they can decide to go somewhere else. So the nurturing process of your marketing and sales funnel and the analogy of having them on your radar is then the whole process of the systems and processes that you've got behind it so that you can track them. 

That's what Dave was saying. You can track everything in marketing. When they're hitting a website, getting a brochure, getting a lead magnet, booking a call, not turning up for a call, or saying no to a proposal.

As long as you keep them on your radar, you can sell. We have the saying that you keep selling until they either say buy or die. That's the function. You are the air traffic controller of your airport, and it's your job to get all of those blips safely down on your runway.


Ben:

If anything, Stuart, I think you scared me off ever trying to build a sales process in my life. That sounds incredibly complicated and stressful.


Stuart: 

It's not; it's very simple once you start to get your head around it, and that's why we have to start by understanding what the sales process is all about.


Ben:  

You mentioned that not having clear processes or strategies in place was a big challenge shared by many, if not most MSPs you've worked with? Where would you recommend MSP start if they currently have nothing in place? For me, it's all about the tools. While you answer that question, sorry, I should have let you answer it. I'm just going to drop another question in the poll about whether people have those specific tools in place.


Poll Question

Do you have a specific tool dedicated to managing and tracking sales opportunities?

  • Yes
  • No


Stuart:  

You need tools to help you because if you're trying to build out a sales funnel, you have to assume that you're planning to grow. Because what got you through the startup phase was probably existing connections, doing a great job, people knocking on your door. 

If you don't want to scale, then kind of what we're talking about here is not relevant. If you're quite happy at fifty, hundred, whatever size of organization you've got, if it gives you a good lifestyle, then great. But if you want to grow that business, and the reason we focus on getting people to a million, is because until you get close to those kinds of seven figures, and you're structured the right way, you are the business. If you're happy doing that, that's fine. 

If we're going to scale, the key thing is understanding the process, the starting point, and this is where everyone rolls their eyes is understanding who your ideal customer is. Who are those suspects that would stand out in that crowd, that can become your prospects that you want to come through your marketing funnel into your sales funnel, as Dave described it. And it starts to take the challenge of telling NO to these people. Because once the right people are coming through, there is a good fit for your service catalog, the pillars that make up your business. 

It's why Dave, these last four years I mentioned, your business has transformed, I imagine you've got clear about whom you work for rather than working for anybody. We hear this all the time on webinars and training programs, but we ignore it. It's the piece that takes the heavy lifting out of the sales process.


Ben:  

David, in your intro, we talked about you doing this reset on your business four years ago. So clearly, you must have in mind what that number one place to start is when you don't have any of the processes in place yet.


How Did You Start Building Your Sales Process From Scratch?


David:  

The way that I did this was - I built the fundamentals that run the company before I started looking into marketing. There's always a lot of scope for getting the processes right before you can scale. When I was looking a few years ago, I was running around like a headless chicken. The last thing I wanted was another client. I mean how on earth would I cope with that? 

For me, the building blocks were getting the right staff in. And then it led on to it because I could delegate the stuff where I needed to, which gave me more free time, which gave me the ability to grow the business and get better staff, which gave them more free time. 

And then you get to the point where you’ve gone through a lot of your clients, you've picked up low-hanging fruit of what's available on the table. If I'm going to continue to scale and grow, then I need to be thinking about the marketing process. At that point, before you started that process, you've built your team, and what it is you want to sell, and who you want to sell it to. 

And by knowing what you want, you can then start to build this marketing funnel and keep chucking these parts at the top of the funnel, saying, This is what we want and this is what we do. Eventually, you just attract the right people, because the people that aren't interested in whatever it is, they're just not just stopping, they'll just disappear and leave, which is just fine with me. 

The same goes for existing clients. We fired a client who has been harsh. I don't want to be judged, because I appreciate some IT people here. But, he was running a server in 2008. And we've been on him non-stop. We've told them his site, we haven't signed it, we told them, we're not supporting it, we don't have you for cybersecurity incidents, all the rest of it. And we said - you've got to do this, or we're going to have to let you go.  He did not and I was just like - no, I'm sorry, I can't support that. Off you go. And then, funnily enough, they gave us a week's notice! 

“You have to grow that base, right at the bottom. You got to have the fundamentals in place before you start with your marketing. And then decide - what it is you're aiming for. Once you know what you're aiming for, then you can build the marketing engine and the sales engine to support it.”


Ben:

It's really defining and continuously refining that ideal client profile and understanding who it is you're actually trying to sell to. You can't then put in place any of the other processes until you decide who you're trying to sell to.


Stuart:

If you can match that to your stack, and your offering of what you do for those types of prospects and clients. The emotional problems that you solve for business owners that have businesses that want to be secure and scaled. Our job for them to buy from us is to connect the features and benefits of technology to the worries that they have and the things they need to scale their business effectively using technology. When we do that people start to go - Wow, this guy's talking my language, which isn't technical. I'd like to talk to him further.


Ben:

I was running my MSP for about 10-12 years. And the first, five or six years, we would sell anything with pots, frankly. There was a feeling of desperation. As a small business, we needed to bring in the revenue. We thought the best way to do that is just to sell to everyone possible. But that strategy quickly falls apart. I think you end up delivering a subpar service to everyone. You waste so much time and energy trying to sell to people that are never going to get you. 

I suspect there's a lot of people watching this today who that will resonate for. It takes a certain amount of bravery, I think to stop doing that to sell to everyone and to take hold of who your ideal client is. As David said, firing a client, there is something cathartic about firing a client. I mean it's not something you should be doing every day. But I think cleaning out the clients, working with the ones that are actually a fit for what you do is so important. 

And, David, if you had to come up with the top 3-5 things that every MSP must do when creating a sales strategy and defining the processes within that strategy. What would that look like to you?

Top 3 Things That IT Partners Must Do When Creating a Sales Strategy


David:

Get the core right at the beginning.

All we just spoke about - right people, right thing, right product, what you're selling. 

There's gonna be a lot of listening involved. 

The problem with us is that we know we’re the best. Our clients don't use technology, they don't know what to do. We are the experts. People don't like being told what to do. If you can listen to what they're actually saying, that gives you quite a significant lead towards them. If they start resonating with you when you're talking to them and show them the future that kind of works really well. The future isn’t about computers, it’s about productivity, the flexibility of working from any location. Show visions of what the future could be, or should be. 

Remember to follow through - Set up automation/nudges to keep on follow-up

Don’t sit on your proposals, keep on chasing and following up on your prospects, even if you follow an automated process. In Zomentum, we can set a deal/opportunity to stale. So it sits in a particular space. And then there's a big, red thing under it going -  go for us and do something. It’s a bit more professional system. 

But it gives you that prompt and you've got to remember to follow through. Even the ones you lose, it doesn't matter. IT is never going away. That business will be there in a year when the other contracts expire, but just chuck them back at the top of the funnel, and just keep going. All IT companies aren't equal. We all know that. So there's a fair chance they will come back.


Ben:


Poll Question

What do you think is the biggest barrier to sales success?

  • Limited time
  • Little or no sales experience
  • Lack of dedicated resource
  • Poor lead generation
  • Little or no sales follow-up


I was genuinely expecting the answer to primarily be around the little or no sales follow-up. And quite interestingly, actually, over 50% of people are blaming it on poor lead generation, which I think in my mind comes back to this ideal client -  If you're not targeting something specific, you're not going to get the leads you're looking for. 

Now, Stuart, what are your thoughts on that?

What Are IT Partners’ Biggest Barriers To Sales Success?


Stuart:

All MSPs want more leads, all businesses want more leads. Of course, we do. There's so much lead opportunity already in your business. If you're here looking to scale, you're looking to get towards a million or accelerate beyond that. You've already got a bucketful of clients that you're working with. So lead generation is an opportunity to sell more services to people that have a need. Don't forget that new leads are also new opportunities within your existing client base. 

Get the sales process clear, understand how our lead generation works, and track it through. The challenge is that the MSP owners are too busy. If you start getting leads coming through, you can only keep track of them in your head, you know half a dozen. You forget to follow up. If they say no, you kind of just move on and forget about them. So you can only cope with so many at any time. But on the basis that we are an expanding organization, we need systems and processes to allow you to elevate above the sales and marketing process, look down on it as the sales and marketing director and be able to see where in your marketing system the cold opportunities are. As people start to knock on your door, being able to see the opportunities that are developing and the majority of your lead opportunities line your existing clients. If you're between 300-400k, you kind of want to grow further. 

You need more profit. You want to hire better people. The biggest opportunity lies in your existing client base. Most clients I start working with have got at least between 50 and 200,000 pounds worth of opportunity lying in their existing client base. We need to get those opportunities out, get them on the board, and track them through. They're not going to be ready to buy them today. But if we can get them out and identified and tracked through the QBR and TBR process. 

We need to better track it because you can't keep all of that in your head.  And you may have an account manager, BDM, or the Help Desk. But unless we can track them, we've got a clear process for people to follow them through in terms of where they get involved and where they don't get involved, you are going to stay stuck and always going - I just need more leads. And the easiest ones are in your existing client base. And then as we become more confident as Dave has become over the last four years, is being able to then build that funnel and track people through from a cold perspective.


Ben: 

Yeah, it makes complete sense. And I just dropped the question that in the poll, what percentage of leads generated results in new business?  And I think it'll be interesting to have a look at what people's view on this is. We've got a pretty good spread, there are a few more people to answer. Because then it would be interesting to hear, I think from David, what the maybe if we end that poll now, before I share the results, David, do what percentage of leads generate results in new business within BetterIT? Just to see how that aligns with what everyone else is experiencing?


Poll Question

What percentage of leads generated results in new business?

  • 0-20%
  • 21-40%
  • 41-60%
  • 61-80%
  • 81-100%


David:

Okay. If we talk to them, it's about 80%. If it's just an inquiry, it's about 50%.


Ben:

Okay, so in fact, those two boundaries there, we've got the most popular response, there's between 4%0 and 60%, which is, I think, what you say there is about 50%. But if you've had a pretty high engagement with the client with the prospect, then you get into that 80% to 100%. 

Stuart, for your clients, when people start your coaching program, what would you say the typical closure rate is? And then how does that improve through the program?


Stuart: 

The closure rate isn't bad for clients, when I first meet them, they just don't have enough often. They say, get me if I can just get me in front of somebody and I'm golden. Once you start to get a trickle of inquiries, if you're getting the wrong inquiries, then that close rate starts to worsen. If you're just attracting anybody - one-man band, the five-man band, the transactional - who wants the lowest price, and then your win rate starts to go down, or your progression rate starts to go down. This is because you haven't got the right people knocking on the door unless you're willing to literally work for nothing and give your services away.


Ben:

It's a confidence thing. It brings me right back to that - we send a quote to anyone with a pulse. And for me, I ended up being priced shocked on almost everything. Especially when I didn't have that ideal profile in front of me, I couldn't talk to the needs of the emotions, or the ideal profile. It's that dreaded spray and pray. that I think marketing, marketing people would say.


Poll Question

Of new business opportunities lost, why do you think that was?

  • Budget/Price
  • Competition
  • Timing
  • No suitable solution
  • Other


Stuart:

I think it does come back to that confidence thing. Your confidence around - why you do what you do, and why you do it for particular people. And being able to go look for the sound of things - you sound like you're looking for this, I don't think that's for us. But if you want to, if you're looking for this, then this is us. We should carry on the conversation. People really respect people that are confident in what they're talking about and even push them away. 

Now, in some cases, people go right, yeah, you're right. I'm just looking for something cheap. So you're too expensive, I'm off. Good. That's a win for both of you. 

But as you become not desperate for every lead to become a client, people can smell that confidence or that desperation. And, I'd be nervous of a 50 pound/hour lawyer who wants to pay 250 pounds, but there's some confidence in the person and the price. Even if I liked them and it was 50 pounds, I'd be like, That's a mismatch because I'd expect to pay if I thought they were credible and could solve my problem to pay 250 pounds an hour.


Ben:

So almost 50% of the people here today think that budget or price was the reason they've lost. What would you say to encourage those people to fix that out? How do you really fix that problem?


How Do You Fix Business Opportunities That Were Lost?


David:

Do you ask these people why they lost? You might think it's price. But depending if they've come to the right part of the funnel, then it's not about price. If it's just cold google leads, then yeah, it could be about price. But the thing is, are they the right people, that's the fundamental thing. So I wouldn't even be that upset at all if they go because of price. I just keep them in a funnel. 

Let them keep seeing what you're putting out and what you're doing for clients. And, they might come back. If we all know you get hacked. Yeah. suddenly, the budgets open. Yeah, I don't want this to happen again, just wait for them to get hacked, and then go yeah, they go source it. Give us some money.


Ben:

So always actually find out or ask those blunt questions. Why didn't you pick us? And I found that it usually gave some quite insightful information. You can be quite humble when asking that question and phrase it as - we're growing small businesses, we really like trying to improve our sales processes. We'd love to understand why you didn't choose us. And I think if you go slightly with your tail between your legs on that premise of doing some research, you'll generally get some pretty honest answers back. I wouldn't be afraid to ask that. Well, then the answers can be pretty brutal.


David:

Yeah. But he's still learning. And then if you reply with Thank you, that was really useful. I'll tell you what, that was a mistake or misunderstanding. Oh, yes, we've got it wrong here. I'll put you on the mailing list, just keep tabs on this and that. And then over time, that can come round and bite you in 1-3 years, whatever it is when they come back.


Ben: 

So a big part of that sales process is following up on the leads. And not just the ones that you win, but also the ones that you lose. What have you implemented to help with the follow-up for BetterIT?


How Automation Strengths Your Follow-Up Process?



David:

Well, we've got a range of things. We use lots of automation. Our stack has HubSpot on one end, Zomentum, AutoTask, and MailChimp. Everything is triggered. If something comes in as a lead that was failed, and actually sends off to Zapier and Zapier chucks it through to HubSpot to put them back on this list. There are loads of automation you can do. And there's a lot of fiddling with that to make it work. When nobody's responded or looked at a proposal for X days, then trigger something to happen so that somebody will actually pick up the phone. 

It’s important to keep a quite high overview of what's going on in the sales pipeline. Having an overview of what's going on through the process is significant so you can be involved and chase up and follow and so forth. So a lot of it is oversight, automation, keeping people involved, engaged with your business, even when you lose.


Ben:

Stuart, do you have any best practice advice you can share to build on that?


Stuart:

“Wear the sales and marketing director hat. Understand what that role is. And ultimately, that is having a strategy a plan to achieve a certain outcome.”

That brings us back to what Dave was saying - see where prospects and proposals are at any one time. So that you can go any one time you can look at your Zomentum system or your HubSpot or your Active Campaign and say - We haven't got many people in these buckets in these stages of our funnel. Why not? Okay, what do we need to do to fill that up so that we have a flow of people coming through the process? 

When you get to people that are inquiring then you, as Sales and Marketing Director can understand why are people falling over at the first stage? Is it the quality of people that are actually booking calls with us? Okay, why are we attracting people that we keep rejecting? Because we've got this great qualification process that rolls out all these tire kickers and price-lead people. So something's wrong with their marketing. So we can go back and think, Okay, we're attracting too many of the wrong profiles, what do we need to tweak? 

When we're getting the right people coming through, you can then see where do they drop off during the process. And particularly even if they fall over during the process or drop out of the process, that we go back into the top of the funnel, and we nurture them through. 

And if you want to scale, you need to understand what sales and marketing directing looks like. And then have the processes and the systems to track it through. So you can diagnose what's working, what isn't working. 

But don't forget that your opportunities for tracking and measuring like this are your existing client opportunities of which you have infinitely more, as well as your new leads. And when you've got the system there, you will have buckets and buckets of opportunities. And then you can make sure the right account manager is tracking it through a link-ticketing system and owns each opportunity and progresses it to the timescale.


Ben: 


Poll Question

Do you track and analyze sales activity to understand what is and isn’t working?

  • Yes
  • No


I'm actually quite surprised here. We've got a 50-50 split between the Yes, we do track and No, we don't. 

I think I was actually expecting more people to say yes. So in my view, we've got 50%, already kind of falling down at that first hurdle. They're probably the same approximate 50% that are filling the pipeline with the wrong leads, and then probably not analyzing what happens with those processes afterward? So two quite easy fixes there.


Stuart:

It’s difficult to analyze what bit of my marketing isn't working for me to get a better client knocking on my door. There's lots of things we can do to address that. But I think the challenge is that MSPs are not marketing-savvy, necessarily, or by design by default. They need some form of education to become the marketing director, and then be the Sales Director, once they come into the sales funnel,


Ben:

and probably also finance, HR, and all the other directors.


Stuart:

But you have to have a strategy and a plan for anything. And this is no different. Because then you can understand what is working, what isn't.


Ben:

I think it's safe to say not every lead that you get turns into a paying customer. But there are still some that slipped through the net that probably could have been converted. What do you think MSPs can do to improve their lead to sales conversion? Stuart might as well start with you.

What Can Partners Do to Improve Lead to Sales Conversion?


Stuart:

Qualifying it at the front end. Being really clear about what you do and what you don't do. So you can identify what the problem is that they want to solve. And you can make them go wow, yeah, that's what I want you to do. I don't care if it's 365 or Beto or, firewalls, I don't care. Being really clear about how you solve business problems through technology for your clients. 

And then the follow-up process. Especially for someone who falls out because they're big enough for you to work with but is a bit too cheap and doesn't understand why they should be buying better quality technology. In six months’ time when they're getting a bad experience or they have been hacked. They're prying for you to pop up and go how you getting on - Oh, awful. Can you? Can you help me? Maybe, but it's but, we're not the cheapest in the market. I do remember that unprepared. And suddenly, you get a 3000 pound a month support contract that they didn't want to pay for. Because they didn't understand six months ago, or even three years ago. So the tracking piece is key.


Ben:

Yeah. And that David alluded to that earlier as well. Those that get shaken for whatever reason and come straight back around.


Stuart:

Yeah, completely. Tracking I think was the key thing we talked about earlier. Qualifying at the front end. Being clear and confident that about what you are and who you represent. And the systems piece. You can't scale if you don't start putting systems and processes in place. 

And everyone, the purpose of this talking today is about people that want to grow and accelerate. And if I gave you 10 leads tomorrow, and the next day, the next day what do we break first?


Ben:


Poll Question

How many contact attempts would you make to a lead before giving up?

  • 0-2
  • 3-5
  • 6-10
  • 11-20
  • 20+


Yep, lost a bit of a leading question in the poll, I'm going to close it now before you give away the answer. We've asked how many contact attempts would you make to a lead before giving up? What is your view? What's the correct answer to that? And then I'll share what everyone else has said.


David: 

Is there a limit? You can just talk to them forever? You don't have to phone them up every day and bug the hell out of them. But, every now and again, say something on LinkedIn. So I don't think there's ever a limit. As far as I'm concerned, you just keep going. You shouldn’t be aggressive about this. It's passive. Just keep hitting them and see what happens. Eventually, they'll listen.


Ben:

Do you put a time limit or a quantity limit? Or do you just keep going?


David:

We keep going.

I was chatting to somebody, a friend of mine. They do something where they get to a point and just send an email out saying - Are you're interested? Not quite as blatant as that, but a rather short email that triggers them to react or just disappear? I guess you could do that. 

“But I would still keep them at some point in the funnel, even if it is just being connected to them on LinkedIn. But I don't think there's a reason to set a limit.”


Ben:

I think the response is quite interesting. The majority of going for three to five. I think we've got 75% of people that capped at 10. I was always guilty. If I got ghosted, that was a no, even in just three days, I consider myself ghosted. But if somebody says no, I think keeping that relationship going is really important. I think it's very easy when someone says no to assume, never. No rarely means never. It just means not today. If you're there, if you're present. If you're engaging, if you're helpful, if you're just being you - sharing what people like about you, eventually, they do become a yes.


Stuart:

“The marketing textbooks pre-internet, used to talk about five to seven points of contact. But now it's a very different world, because we're bombarded with information and we're easier to reach. So, I've heard that it's in the hundreds now of wrt points of contact. “

This is why we need systems. It isn't about you having to physically make a phone call or typing an email. So for example, if somebody says no, and you were talking to them about a cloud migration from an office environment, and they turned you down. For these, you could have a sequence set up because you're very clear about your pillars and your service offering that says - for people that fall out of the sales funnel on security on infrastructure migrations, we will have a series of maybe six to twelve emails that can go out automatically for someone who said no and was interested in this type of service initially. 

And that's not you doing the work. That email might go out every two weeks for six months, nurturing them, and then it may have another sequence of things. You run a webinar on the same thing that might bring them back in. Yeah, it's not you having to do all this work to remember. That's why you need systems and tracking and to be a marketing director and have the people setting up the stuff for you. That's why it takes time.


Ben:

I think that the system part is interesting. Obviously, I've gone from running an MSP and struggling with this problem to Product Manager for Zomentum, which is a platform solely built to solve this problem of how do you close more deals and make them bigger?  We're doing quite a lot at the moment around the integration with the marketing piece. I describe it as a bit of backwards integration. We've just released the HubSpot integration. 

And to me, that really enables you to then start to automatically reengage those ‘No’. So if a deal gets moved to lost in Zomentum, hopefully that happens less by the time you've got Zomentum. But when you move things to lost, if you've got things correctly categorized, we can then push that back to HubSpot. And that can be your trigger then, to move them into the appropriate nurture campaign 6-12-24 months long, over in HubSpot. 

So I guess the last question, I think I've got for both of you, that is of those leads that don't close. Have you got any advice on how to keep them warm until they are ready to buy? Stuart, let's start with you.


How To Keep Leads Warm Until They Are Ready To Buy?


Stuart:

When they are closed out as not buying, that they aren't ignored, they go back in back into the system, you have a marketing plan, a sales follow-up plan. 

So with Zomentum and HubSpot and Active Campaign, you can set actions. So your BDM or your account manager or you should have something popping up in the diary to either send an email or send a newsletter. All this can be automated if you're using some of the marketing content systems out there. These guys can be getting your newsletter and your email and your pillar-specific or service-specific emails so that they stay nurtured You should also do a phone call follow-up, call them back in three months, or six months. Things go sour, sometimes when they move away from you, or they don't buy from you and they buy something else, particularly if they are the right profile. 

So make sure when that falls over, they go back into the pot, whatever pot you're using, and there is a tag and an action associated with it. Don't give up until they tell you we have no interest in ever working with him. I wouldn't even believe that, to be honest, because they will buy from you one day when the circumstances are right. And if they don't, you haven't lost anything because your system will automatically keep them in the loop. And that's why you've got to understand marketing, you've got to understand the sales process, and you've got to have systems if you want to scale. If you're happy where you are, you don't need any of this.


Ben:

I think there are some probably very logical points over the next say 24 months when you want to touch base. Most IT MSP contracts are going to be 12 months or 24 months. So you want to be checking in at 10 or 11 months down the line. Because that's when they notice period is coming up. If they are a bit pissed off. Maybe at the three-month point, they might have negotiated a break clause. So if you get those two and a half months, and you've been nurturing them again, you want to be in the right place at the right time with those calls and emails.


Stuart:

While your business is growing and changing, their business is also changing as well. So while they might have been too small, or too cost-conscious, because they were small at the time, or just in startup mode, or in acquisition mode, things can change. They now understand the value and are ready to buy. So that follow-up process is important because things change for them, as well as for you.


Ben:

Yeah. David 50% of the people watching today have said that they don't enroll their leads into their wider marketing activity. What would you say to those people? How do they fix that problem?


David:

Send it to me.

If it's just a no, it might not be a bad lead. Especially when they say no, you just chuck them back into the funnel, and then see what comes through again. If you've engaged with them on a more detailed level, you kind of get an idea of what it is that they're looking for. 

We say we're going to enforce MFA on you. And basically, if you have to have it, it's not a question. It's not we want it or not, you got to have it. And some people push against that and they do feel we're being bullied, but we're the experts. We tell you what you need to do because it's the best thing and sometimes people will say no. And then if you know MFA was the thing that kept them from entering your lead process, you put them on that right track, which explains that MFA will stop you accidentally not signing into Microsoft 365 and getting hacked. And then they go into 365 and get hacked because they haven't enabled MFA. They’ll be like - Oh, yeah, they were talking about that, maybe we should look into them, maybe the rest of it was good, too. 

So chuck them back into the funnel, and see what resonates. If you can customize based on what has resonated or what you might see happening. And just keep in touch. 12 months down the line, they might be looking again. I mean the IT industry can be a nightmare in a moment, it's an absolute race to the bottom. And the only way to be the cheapest possible option is to have crappy service and cheap staff. And that just doesn't cut it. When problems start, when people are on hold for an hour while trying to get through, it just doesn't work. And then suddenly the budget goes up if that was a cost issue, and then you're back in the plan. So yeah, keep in touch with them, get them back in the funnel, and just keep on following up.


Ben:

David's advice, keep following up on your prospects. And eventually, they will become dream clients.


Stuart:

I wouldn't want people to feel overwhelmed thinking - Oh, I've got it. I've got to get all this marketing stuff and all this content and build all these emails. The simplest thing is if somebody falls over in the sales process, is diarized them for a friendly follow-up phone call and/or email three months later, and then the next three months later, or when they tell you to? Yeah. Simple as that.


Ben:

And I don't know if you were saying that out of the blue or to answer the question we’ve gotten QnA from Tanuj. Stuart and David, how do we make the follow-up process more engaging? Is it just about sending more assets? Or should we do more than emails and ads?

Stuart, your golden nugget is a three-month follow-up phone call, at a bare minimum, when just start implementing that process tomorrow. 


How To Make Your Follow-Up Process More Engaging?


Stuart:

You’ll know if you've been in dialogue with them, you'll know what's going on. Have you fallen out on a tender process? Have they already made a decision? Just check in even six weeks later. How's that? How's the onboarding process because we've just come off boarded you, let's say it was an existing customer. How are you getting on? Or I guess you've probably onboarded with your new supplier? How's it going? Oh, no, we haven't they're a nightmare. Oh, are they? Oh, what's going on? Empathize with them and suddenly you're the good guy. So you'll know but just put it in the diary and make sure you or someone does it because they will become a customer or likely in the future.


Ben:

Really interesting what you say there about the off-boarding bit. We've probably all been guilty as MSPs of having quite bitter off-boardings at times and not necessarily being obstructive, but not being particularly constructive with that onboarding process. One of the things I learned probably too late was you can be as helpful as possible during that offboarding process. Hold those bitter feelings and be as helpful as possible. It does give you the bigger chance when the new provider drops the ball, messes up three months later. Just bite your tongue do it because the chances of them coming back are much higher.


Stuart:

“Don't burn bridges because you never know where someone will be in two years’ time.”

Marketing and Sales is about continuing to be visible. When I was frontline selling years ago, I remember I got won a big contract with Merrill Lynch and I remember I was sat on the phone ughh - I got to ring Sue again. I get the same thing every three months. I can remember nearly not making the phone call. But I did. I rang and said, Hello Sue. Lovey, she said, right time that bloody nightmare. Can't wait. When can you get here? I was like, oh, and that turned into a big contract for us. And I've been stalking her. Following up for two years. You never know never. So to answer that question - Stick them back into the email system, put them back into the phone call system, and you don't have to be clever. Just be you just keep visible.


Ben: 

We've almost run out of time. But awesome discussion. Always really love speaking to both of you. So thank you very much for joining. A bit of a shameless plug, obviously, Zomentum. We've mentioned it a few times, if you haven't had a look at it, do check it out. It will help you solve a lot of the sales problems and implement the processes. David's been using it for a while, obviously powering his world global domination. 

You can go to zomentum.com/demo. We're doing an exclusive 20% with code STUARTWARWICK20. If you mention that to a sales rep, you get  20% off your first 12 months. And please do connect to us on LinkedIn. Reach out to us if you've got any questions or want to continue the conversation.


David:

It’s been really good, Ben. Thank you. And Dave, it's fascinating. 


Ben: 

Yes, well, have a great rest of the week and a lovely weekend everyone.


David:

Thanks again. Bye-bye.