8 Expert Tips for Speeding Up Your Sales Process & Winning More Deals

Summary

Selling IT services is becoming increasingly competitive. As a business owner, you don't want to stay afloat but overcome the existing competition and expand your services to as many clients as quickly as you can. However, sales and business growth are not possible with just technical expertise.

That's why we have our panel of experts from Continuity Marketing sharing the TOP 7 things you can do TODAY to set up a faster sales process and crack more deals. DO NOT MISS Jaime Daum and Pete Matheson, spilling the secrets on setting up your sales structure, personalizing sales with video, choosing the right tools, and how to position your services so you can accelerate sales and grow revenue.

Key Takeaways 

1. Why accelerating your sales cycle is so important. 

Speed wins because you,

  • Create a stronger first impression.
  • Reduce friction in the buying process.
  • Helps you keep up with fast moving inventory and pricing.
  • Brings consistency to customer experience.

P.S. You’ll want to use a powerful sales platform with a robust quoting tool.


2. How you’ll beat your competition by adding video to your sales process.
  • Video adds context to quotes. 
  • Video implies personalised effort. (even if it’s easier than you think.)
  • Direct video sales  helps your sales proposals get attention.
  • Indirect video marketing pays off. ( even if you don’t see returns immediately.)

3. Importance of messaging and positioning your key business value.
  • You sell more when your services help your clients get more business.
  • You can use government regulations and compliance to your advantage.
  • Use innovative ways of marketing to cut through the noise.
  • Productize and Bundle your services.

4. Key points to consider while building your sales team.
  • Account Managers are an important first sales hire.
  • It’s important to get on the same page with your first salesperson.
  • Make your first hire sell 30 minutes of your time instead of your products.
  • Give them a structure to succeed, and set the right expectations.
  • Real growth comes from continuous investment and not one-off experiments.
  • Hire the right people who show the personality it takes to be good at sales.
  • Set your sales process in different stages so there’s clarity at all times.

TRANSCRIPT

Shannon: 

Hello and welcome, the topic for our discussion today is “ how to speed up your sales process and win more deals”. I'm Shannon Murphy, chief marketer at Zomentum, the IT Sales Acceleration Platform that helps the channel create streamline friction-free and even enjoyable buying experiences. 

Today, I am joined by Jamie Daum and Pete Matheson. Jamie, having cut his teeth at Autotask-Benelux, has years of experience selling on the vendor side. Today, he's taken everything he's learned about selling technology and applying that to Continuity Marketing 一 the marketing agency dedicated to growing MSPs.

Pete, for over the past part of a decade, grew his Tekkers MSP Business, to more than $1.2 million in revenue. After selling it in 2020, he continues to immerse himself in all things MSP, both as an MSP business coach and as head of the video marketing agency Continuity Video. Awesome! Thanks for joining me guys.

Pete:

Thanks for having us. Thank you.

Shannon:

Yeah, of course. So we've heard there about your history, but you're both working to help MSPs with their marketing now. It wasn't always the case. So Pete you're a former MSP owner and Jamie, you worked on sales on the vendor side. Can you both talk to me a little bit more about your history and your experiences then versus now?

The History of MSP Sales: A Retrospective from Two POVs

Pete:

Yeah, sure. It has been really interesting to see it from both sides. Now, on one side it's been trying to convince more business owners to invest in Managed Services, and then on the other, it's now trying to convince the MSPs to invest in their marketing. So it's not actually been that different, particularly around consistency. 

I find, you know, as an MSP you are trying to encourage your customers to invest in ongoing stuff rather than just a one-off solution. And then from my, I guess, fairly limited experience as a consultant so far compared to running an MSP for like 10 years, it's the same problem, trying to convince MSPs now to invest in the right areas of marketing and continue to invest because it's not like a once in and you’re done kind of deal. It's an ongoing thing you need to do. 

Jamie:

Yeah, I totally agree with Peter. And I think from my side, moving from vendor to working with MSPs to grow out sales and marketing processes, I think what's clear to me is the difference in the investment in that process itself. You know, when you walk into a vendor there's such an investment in the structure of the sales team and also the underlying toolsets that allow salespeople to perform, and KPIs are measured. And when we start working with MSPs we tend to find that process isn't as mature as it could be or should be. So we actually, even as a marketing business, spent a lot of time doing sales enablement and helping to define that process. So for me, it's about, you know, the major difference from before is just having a really clear, structured process in place.

Shannon:

Yep. I could see that even in just the past five years with all of the technology that we have available to us, even how MSPs have had to evolve with the pandemic in the past year and stuff, how do you feel that selling has changed for the IT services provider? What has gotten easier, which challenges still exist?


Selling IT Services - What’s Gotten Easier, What Challenges Still Exist?

Jamie: 

Yeah, I think answering that from my side, when I joined the industry about 10 years ago, the biggest challenge in the industry was sales and growth at the time. And I think 10 years have passed and that still is the case. And there seems to be a kind of a shared opinion, at least in the kind of the vendor circle, but that's probably due to the MSP being predominantly technical. So a lot of the owners are technical people that have invested in other technical people. And there's a real difference in the persona requirement to be a real top-end sales resource. And it's a different skill set than reality. So in terms of sales getting easier I'd actually say probably it's getting harder. 

I don’t know if Peter, you would agree with this, but the MSPs that we're working with are still selling traditional IT support services. It feels like there's a little bit of commoditization in the space when it comes to the very traditional service desk, IT support work. And as a result, there's a competition on price and as the cloud has evolved and other IT service securities are becoming more prevalent, what has to be sold changes, and re-educating the end-user to understand that seems to be the biggest challenge there. Pete, I'm not sure what your thoughts are there. And if you, kind of have seen a similar path.

Pete:

I definitely agree with that. I think to add to those comments as well. The only thing I've really seen change is probably the speed at which the sales process function needs to be sped up nowadays. Now we've got stock shortages as they are. So when you're quoting customers, it's typically based on a current price based on current stock availability. And if you are wasting a week or maybe even a day, or maybe a few hours as nowadays, stock availability can vastly change. And that means you have to then like to re quote. Then now you have a PO from a client that's now less than your new quote because you found something else. So I think just speeding up the whole sales process and, and to go from quote to approval and to order at the distributor level really needs to happen much faster. Just certainly in today’s world as well as particularly with the stock shortages we are seeing anyway.

READ : How a business proposal software makes your process efficient amid the pandemic. 


Shannon:

Yep. so I think we can all agree that we need to go faster. Right. And so I think even if we feel that not a huge amount has changed, I think the tools that we have, or that we employ, we're trying to at least use automation, right. To streamline these processes as much as possible and use them intelligently, right?

“We still want to be smarter than our tools, but we need to have the right support around us.”

I also think if you have a faster turnaround time on those quotes and proposals, that that speaks well to the prospect in terms of… this is part of your reputation. Do you have a modern streamlined process or is it super clunky because like, how am I supposed to take tech recommendations from you? If things take a long time, it seeds doubt in my mind. Right. So it really stinks. Like we know that speed is so important in sales, but now it's like having the right technology to support that and kinda like cutting through the clutter, getting to the inbox, getting the deal signed quicker. Yeah. It's definitely difficult. 

So from your perspective, right. Both working in sales - selling marketing services - could you underline some tactics that you feel like speed up the sales process?


Tactics to Speed Up the Sales Process

Jamie:

Yeah, definitely. Pete, do you wanna go first?

Pete:

Yeah, sure. I was just gonna say use a quoting tool, obviously being on the webinar, but regardless, you need a quoting tool that speeds things up.

Shannon:

Sales platform, but we do have Quoting. 😇

Pete:

A good tool should provide options and provide the ability to change those options and let them sign off directly on the quote rather than having to change something. Otherwise, you send another version that just, again, slows down the whole process and also has a process in place to make sure not only any approved quotes are then processed as quickly as possible, but any queries that arise after sending a quote then get answers quickly too.

It goes back to what you're saying, that when you respond quickly and in addition to that, it includes a video. Me being me, I would say add a video within your quote that explains what you've quoted, why you've quoted it. So you can take care of most of those common questions or objections in the first place.

“add a video within your quote, that explains what you've quoted, why you've quoted it. So you can take care of most of those common questions or objections in the first place.”

Pete:

So just having that process and yeah, to your comment that we won quotes over the years of running the MSP, and we certainly had a lot of positive things said to us when we were first or the quickest to come back to them. Because you've got that slick sales process in place, you can turn around quotes very, very quickly. You shouldn't be wasting time. 

I mean, back when starting this kind of coaching business. Now I was looking for an accountant, I'd email somebody and ask them for a meeting, and it would take them a week or two to come back to me. I don't want to work with that kind of person. I want to work with somebody who is going to reply and has the process in place; a slick process.

Jamie: 

I definitely agree with that. And, something to add from our side and probably continues insight into Continuity a little bit as well. In our experience of growing the business, we've grown aggressively and quite quickly. We've gone to 30 people in 18 months, which is a steep growth curve. And I put that down to three things. 


1. The Sales Team

Firstly it’s the people that we have on the sales team. You're right. Speed of sales is critical. 


2. The Sales Momentum

In the vendor world, we used to call it momentum, right? There has to be a huge amount of sales and momentum. 


3. A Robust Follow-Up Process

A great follow-up process ensures that leads are followed up quickly, and that momentum is maintained throughout. 

And I think that's one of the most challenging things to do unless you have the right people and personas in place.

READ: 10 Tips to Speed Up Your Sales Quoting Process

Jamie:

So we work with many MSPs who've dipped their toes into the water when it comes to sales growth and might have hired one or two people. They may have promoted an engineer internally to have on the sales and it might be the technical owner of the business who then stepped into sales. And it is a specific skill set that you need to have. And the investment is significant. 

So I would say it's making the right investment in the right people. The right people are absolutely critical to that success, having the right products and productizing your services in the right way to make it easy to go to market.

But then finally having the right tools and sales structure to keep salespeople accountable to the job they need to do and those metrics and KPIs.  Having that process has been the key to our success over the last 18 month period.

Shannon: 

Awesome. I was going to ask you about that. Actually, we were talking about the tools on the technical side, and I was thinking, well, regardless, I think that is a struggle for the MSPs. You're building out that initial team. And if you are a technical owner, as the majority are, you know. When we think about how to speed up the sales process, it's like, okay, well I have this sales guy and, and I don't feel like I see things from him as soon as I should. 

So what does that follow-up look like? And even just creating an understanding of which activities are going to move the needle versus not.  If you don't know the difference or haven't even had practice; How do you get on the same page with your salesperson? Where you know, you're both speaking about things in the same terms in the same language.  Like it's, I would say the technical owner and that first salesperson, they might not even speak the same language. And the salesperson isn't necessarily at fault either.


Getting on the Same Page with Your First Sales Hire


Jamie:

Yeah, totally. And, adding to that, half of the sales is setting the right expectations to that sales rep, you know, bringing a graduate out of university and expecting them to sell IT. 

So, you know migration will be very, very difficult. It takes years to understand the product and services. It's much easier to get a junior sales rep to sell 30 minutes or an hour's worth of time with the managing director who can have that conversation confidently. Then reward for that rather than trying and getting them to sell a fully managed IT service and solution because that is going to be a challenge. So it's about the right people, the proper structure, and setting the right expectations with them.

“It's about the right people, the right structure, and setting the right expectations with them.”

Shannon:
Yeah. I would agree that those junior members just need to be setting meetings. Right. You mentioned a little bit about productization. Could you maybe give some examples for anybody here on the line? To someone who is not exactly sure what that means.

WATCH: https://www.zomentum.com/webinars/how-to-build-a-successful-sales-team-and-scale-your-business


Jamie:

Yeah, sure. And maybe I use our business as an example, you know, we sell a huge range of marketing services at Continuity. We sell anything from SEO to web website development, and I'm using SEO  as an example. There you can break that down into different services. It's very hard to sell or SEO on an hourly basis. Right. You can't justify the value add that you provide from having a good team.

One of the activities, though, that you would do within SEO is building authority on the website. And that's done through a combination of backlinks. So the productization for SEO in our world is that we would sell maybe five backlinks a month at a set price. And I guess to try and put that into MSP speak. Maybe, Pete, you can support me on this as well, as you know, if you're trying to sell, it would be gold, silver, bronze, for instance, there's a lot of packages that we see.

Jamie:

But also, you know, packaging and productizing, something like cybersecurity, you know, you could create bundles of around what that is. Still, you need to make sure that that bundle delivers the correct value to the person you're selling it to. 

So you could sell antivirus at one pound, you could potentially have a firewall that's installed or do some in-tune consultancy. But you know they are one-off,  bespoke things. Cyber security ultimately is the productized solution that you're selling. But you package in a way that's going to resonate with the person that's buying so that they see the value, and you can charge a small premium to that. I hope that makes sense.


“Make sure that that bundle delivers the correct value to the person you're selling it to.”

Shannon:

Yeah, absolutely. I work as a consultant, and when I was building my business, I did sort of what we called, like a lean business canvas. And when you're packaging those things up and, and you're getting to those pain points. On one side, there's the value you'll deliver; on the other side, it's also important to pose a question to yourself when you're creating these products - how will they go around the problem? Because a lot of people will do it versus making the investment or changing their current process.

Because sometimes, when you're coming in and consulting as an MSP, you're a catalyst for change. And you're asking their business to grow. That's not necessarily always comfortable, so you have to entertain how they will try to continually move around this problem? And I think sometimes it helps to be frank in those conversations to call them on it. Like you could do this, this, and this, but I will tell you right now, those will only be short-term remedies, and we'll be having this conversation again in a year.


MSPs as a Catalyst for Change: Use Compliance to Your Advantage

Pete:

It's some interesting things coming through from the legislative point of view. I don't know if you've got that as well, anywhere outside of the UK. I know something's happening in the states, at the moment, in terms of some guidelines for MSPs. Restrictions businesses should kind of stick to. 

But certainly, in the UK here, we've got things like cyber essentials. That's a big help for MSPs because that gives you the government-backed accreditation, you can say, look, the government is pushing this. 

You must have it to work with or in the DoD supply chain. And that covers a lot of the things that you need to be doing as an MSP. All the security services, you know, antivirus, cybersecurity, Phish testing, all those kinds of things. That's a huge help because it's a relatively affordable thing. For most businesses to go for, it's like 300 pounds for the basic one, but then the kind of offshoots that come from that to fix a lot of the problems and, and bring people up to date just makes the whole process not easier, but it's certainly easier than It was without it.


READ: 3 Ways to Enhance Your MSP’s Cybersecurity Offering

Jamie:

Oh yes. We did cyber recently; you know, pitching cyber essentials to managing directors can be very difficult, especially for small businesses. But, when they see it as a blocker to winning new business, all of a sudden, it becomes a priority. You know, if they're trying to win the business of bigger brands, they can be regulated with the same standards. A larger company would have to regulate themselves, and when they are filling in tenders, you know, they need to tick the boxes.

If you don't, you're going to have to spend a lot of money on a consultant to get to that standard before the tender's signed up before you can actually deliver the business, which is mostly profit margin. So that's a much more interesting conversation. Yeah, you're totally right about the supply chain there. It's just how it's positioned, and the key to sales success is the positioning.


“when they see it as a blocker to winning new business, all of a sudden, it becomes a priority.”

Shannon:

Yes, definitely. Pete, things are happening here in terms of small business insurance, and having those cybersecurity essentials is still kind of early stages. But I love what you said there, Jamie. If it's a blocker to new business, it's suddenly a priority. I think that's something that everybody needs to remember as a takeaway. When you're talking with a potential client, ask yourself that in those conversations. 

Okay. And then, of course, with video, right. I'm a huge fan of video. I've worked for a few different video technology vendors and written a lot about it in this space. So we've all heard that the video market builds a strong connection. How do you feel like video speeds up the sales process, Pete?

Winning Deals with Personalized Videos


Pete:

There are two avenues of video. I find there's probably the avenue that most MSPs are interested in, which is direct. It will hopefully bring in more business. There's the indirect avenue where it will take a lot longer to do so. If you want to get into videos, start using them as part of your sales process.


Two Avenues of Video Marketing :

1. Direct Video Sales

Whether that's in the lead gen when you're kind of sending messages back and forth between your clients, there are services like Bombbomb that you can use that will allow you to send a video within like an email. When you're sending quotes, of course, send a video alongside the quote, just to explain.

“It's getting a bit easier nowadays, but normally you'd sit down with the client to go through the quote, to explain what's going on, do that on video instead, send the quote, send them that video that does all the explanation.”

Pete:

There've been times that I've done that. Actually, in a large sales presentation, I sent them like a half an hour video. It was a very long one. I was questioning whether I should send it, and I just saw them forward it. You can track a lot of the emails that get sent. I just saw them forward it around to all their directors. And so all their directors watched that video. 

They looked at the quote, and they kind of watched the whole sales presentation and, and, you know, it's getting watched. So that's kind of the first part of things. And there's the indirect, which I'm a huge fan of because it doesn't give you immediate returns, but it builds your brand over time.

2. Indirect Video Sales


Pete:

It builds that whole kind of trust factor where people understand you, believe you, and trust you in the advice or giving out. And that's with putting out regular content on social media, on YouTube, Various other social platforms to talk about your business. You know, certainly the services you sell, but actually, it's more than that. 

It's about showing more of the insides of the business, how you do things, how you attract clients, how you attract good stuff. And it has such a big impact on other areas of the business that you'd never think. I never dreamt that doing video would want more people to work there because we started getting CVs from people who have seen our videos.


READ: How to Use Video to Add a Personalized Touch to Your Sales Proposals

Pete:

We obviously attract clients because they've seen the videos and like them as well. There are just other IT companies. I mean, the worst thing you want to do when you're trying to attract new clients is having other IT companies go, oh, I love your videos, it's lovely. Still, it's not doing what I wanted it to do, but it touches every single area of business.

I'm a huge fan with all this kind of stuff around me. I'm a massive fan of video. It just depends where you want to get started. And my go-to for getting started would just be introducing it in one area of the business, where that's okay. Tell yourself "Now we're going to send a video with our quotes" -  Just get people used to that. Because the first challenge is getting people used to it.


Pete:

Not everyone will feel comfortable on camera. Hopefully, we're getting a bit easier on things like zoom calls nowadays, but purely to have nobody on the other end of the camera. It's not like a zoom call cause there's no one there, and you're just kind of talking to yourself. That's a really weird thing to get started with. The only way you can get over that is to do it consistently and keep doing it. You get better over time. Once you get comfortable in one area of your business, you can then look to roll into other areas.


Jamie:

Yeah, I completely agree. Just to give some insight and some numbers into that, our business, through Peter, started adopting our video from a sales perspective. We saw within a four-week period, a four-times uptick in the pipeline.  

Now you know, what they're doing effectively is screen records. In the MSP world, they may be doing dark scans of potential prospects and having conversations around how we can support as a provider. They might be doing assessments of their emails or whatever. It may be security assessments websites and kind of chat challenges within them. 

However, opting in comes through building some familiarity with the client and humanizing that and outreach, it's harder to say, go away to someone who has:

1. Put in the effort,

2. Made it personal.


Everyone on the call who's in a direct position will probably get two or three emails a day. Whether on LinkedIn or from salespeople with plain text messages that probably go into the dust bin. 

“But if someone takes the time and effort to make a video for you, that's personalized, and you know they're going to watch that. And I think that really helps differentiate the go-to-market approach.”


So it can be really good and helps with some trust, you know, at an early stage in the sales cycle and end. Yeah.


Pete:

The bar for video is so low right now. Honestly, I thought I was late to the party. There's nobody doing it even though you see everyone else doing it, just you getting started with using video and your MSP. You're already putting yourself ahead of so many others that aren't. So don't feel like you're too late to the party.


Shannon:

Yeah. There's that perception that everyone is doing it because those are the people you see because they're increasing their visibility with video, but that's not the truth of it. It's very interesting, Jamie, how you're mentioning those screen shares and that personalization, you know, it's kind of a combination of things. Pete's Right, The barrier to entry in terms of the actual production value is low and most people don't have any huge expectations. 

Right? Do like a quick loom video. You even have to have the camera on you if you don't want to. If you just want to do the screen share with an overview. 

But that is the part of a video that is a little bit more of an effort. Say, okay, I went and looked through your site personally, but that's nothing that you wouldn't have done if they were sitting down right in front of you


Shannon:

So speed up that process, giving them a video that they can watch at their leisure, but saying, wow, I'm really impressed. He made an effort, right? Video feels like an effort. It doesn't have to be for you, the MSP, but it leaves a great impression on a potential client. And I also think it really helps them to respect you as a leader in the space. Right. Okay. This is somebody I wanna learn from. I want him to advise me technically. I mean, they might even want you helping them advise them on the marketing side because you're helping them with video.

But I say that because I spoke with a gentleman who's a former MSP owner, he specialized in legal, and he would send these goody boxes in advance. And after he obtained one client, that client actually then asked him later, like, oh, "could you like tell me whom you're using as a vendor to create those goody boxes and stuff because I wanna create one too."

“Business leaders at the top of their game who want to work with other business leaders who are at the top of their game.”


Yeah, and then I know we were going to talk a little bit about how to handle the non-responsive leads. I think I know you kind of covered a lot with video there, Pete, but do you feel like there's any way that video can help break up the noise there to get through?


Pete:

I think video, yes. Obviously, just send some video messages, use services like Babo to try and get through to people. I wanna hear what Jamie has to say in a minute. Because we mentioned this before, there might be some interesting things, but not using video. There are some other things, I've been part of these marketing clubs and things for a while and heard many stories of what people have done to get through us ourselves over the years; when people wouldn't respond.


Out of the Box Marketing Ideas to Cut Through the Noise

1. Surprise Them with a Cake

There is like a card. I think the service is called cakecard.co.uk or something where you can literally send a slice of cake through the post to somebody. And we tried to use that, and I did that on one occasion where the last message to me was they're going to sit down on Thursday with their directors to read through the proposals.

Pete:

So I sent the cake card. All the directors got a card on Thursday just with the note saying 一" Hey, something just to enjoy while you are reading the proposal," just to try and make sure that they did sit down on Thursday actually to read it. So they didn't get caught up with other things ahead of reason to sit down and just things like that. I've seen things like that over here in the UK. 


2. Send One Half of a 50-pound Note

If you cut a 50-pound note in half and send the right half to the customer, you can give a message like, “Hey, we'll give you the other half. If you know, come and meet us” or something, but because you've got the right half the 50-pound note, you can take it to the bank and get it replaced because it's the legal part or something. 

3. Win Deals with a Remote Control Car

There's the remote control car where you send them the car or the remote control, keep the other half and meet them. So there are all these kinds of fun things that make you stand out. But yeah, Jamie, because I'm sure you must have seen some fun things like that, you've been in a lot longer than I have.


Jamie:

Yeah. I’ve seen some fun things, but I think the key you've identified is that leads are very rarely dead. You know what's required to win them is effort and persistence over time. Unless you've said specifically, no, sorry, we're not interested. The question would be then, okay. Why are you not interested in qualifying? Why may that be the case? And is there an opportunity to speak down the line?

Suppose you're struggling to engage with the person. In that case, it's just about finding different mediums and different ways to do that, as videos are a great way to do that. I've had colleagues we saw on LinkedIn, Harry, a guy who used to work with Autotask, a very talented sales rep. He saw that someone was learning Italian, so wrote an entire prospecting letter in Italian to him which really added a nice touch.

Jamie:

There's a ton of different ways to do that. It's just about being creative and finding a way to resonate with the individual. You know, you're talking to a person ultimately. If you can find something that interests them, whether they're a football fan and you send them the scarf of their favorite football team, you know, there's a ton of different ways you can do that. 

But I think the lesson is that Leads can go cold, but you can always reignite that spark with the right message at the right time and often get time.


“Leads can go cold, but you can always reignite that spark with the right message at the right time and often get time.”

Shannon:

Fantastic. That's what it all comes down to, I was thinking about a way to wrap up our little session here, but that's it, guys. Right Message, Right Time, and ensure that you have the process and the tools to support that. We tried to keep this short and tight because we wanted to leave time for questions. And I think any webinar over 45 minutes is usually a slog.

Right. So please use the chat to send questions ready to answer those for you.

Questions and Answers

1. Q: We talked about how MSP start out as technical owners. A lot of times, they're managing sales. I think in some cases, they'll even be managing those junior sales reps below them. You can be good at the technical side and a good salesman. But at what point as an owner do you feel like you need to choose?


Pete:

A: I think for me and my journey, It was very late in the journey. I kind of held onto the sales and marketing side of things. Obviously, the marketing side of things was a big interest to me. But ultimately a technical business owner, it's still the same process you go through. You're a techie, and you want to fix problems. The same process is still in place and applies to the sales process. Well, you see a problem in the business; you want to go and fix it. As a business owner, it's just a time management side of finding the right time to hand that process over to somebody else. For me, it was just time availability. I did not have enough time in the day to take over the whole kind of sales management process.

And actually, it was parts of it that we handed over, convenient that Billy's on the call here. Billy was my first account manager. Now we wanted to bring somebody in who could handle the day-to-day stuff for our existing clients, sales process, new quotes, migration servers, all these kinds of things. Get that part away from you first, which then freed me up to just deal with the new clients coming in. And then you find, of course, a good time to start handing over the new client calls to them as well. 

And, again, you can then step back and then focus on whichever area of business you want to, you know, Every business owner's different. You might want to do the sales process. That's cool. You might just do the marketing. That's cool too.  But I guess the benefit you have as a business owner is that you can choose which part you want to do and which part actually interests you.


Jaime:

A: From my standpoint, the first investment we made at Continuity was an investment in a relatively not junior, but kind of mid-level sales resource. And we did that so that we could focus on growing the operational side of the business. But having the right time invested in growth and their job effectively was to book, do the outbound activity, and book meetings with my business partner and me. So that was the actual, the first investment we made. And we continued to seek growth first. We have a growth-first mindset. 

I think one of the challenges we see, and I'm going to take the names out because we work with 70 MSPs. I'll take the names out, but I'll give you some examples. I think the difference between the MSPs that are growing quickly and those growing organically on referral is the understanding of just how much it takes to win new business through sales and marketing effort. 

In reality, a 50 man business that we know very well had five account managers. They had three new business guys, and they were spending about $ 5000 month on month, right. And they were onboarding two or three good size mid-market managed service contracts. But suppose you think about five account managers. In that case, three new business guys, their management, the office, overhead commissions, you've got the marketing spend there. 

You've got other activities that investment was humongous for a relatively small 一 three  IT support contracts a month turnarounds. But I just think that's realistic in terms of what it takes. So generally, I guess if I were to make the first entry step, I'd be looking at a junior business resource with one or two years of experience.

Shannon:

Great insight on building the team.


2. Q: What are your thoughts on hiring a junior to perform an account manager role rather than new business?

Pete:

A: So just an account manager, rather than going out for the new sales. We did that, in all honesty. In a way, Billy was our first account manager, and he wasn't new to account management. He was new to IT. And I knew we had some time for training and, you know, identifying what the specifics should be and networking stats and all those kinds of things. 

It just comes down to finding the right person. I find, you know, with the whole recruitment thing, it's finding the right person for the job, getting the right personality and someone that's keen to learn. They will be far better than just finding someone that knows all the techy stuff but is crap on the personality side of things. So that's my take. I'd be interested to hear Jamie's take on it as well.


Jaime:

A: Yeah. In terms of person, you can't coach personality. You can always coach, you know, some of the sales process and the skills required. Yeah, hiring a junior account manager frees up your time potentially to move away from the customers and actually focus on your business. I think there's a good bit that can provide the best focus. 

It's important to target that junior account manager with the right KPIs to help grow your partners. Because without that growth, you know, I guess their position isn't sustainable long term. I think every MSP is different. The product and services you are upselling to your clients and how you structure your contracts will be very different. So I think that's a very hard question to answer. It's probably one that's very specific to you and the way you've structured your business and your contracts with your clients.


3. Q: Yeah. and this might be a similar circumstance, that everyone’s MSP is different. But we have an attendee asking, what percentage of proposals would you expect to win?

Pete:

A: Certainly, from my experience and the clients I'm working with, it's about 50% for new sales. So you win one, lose one, win one, and lose some for existing clients and internal account managers. When you are kind of selling, you know, a new kit to them should be up in the 90% side of things. You should be offering something that they've asked for, something they need. Then they should take that as well. Again, it's giving them the right options to choose something that fits them in their budget. But yet it can be about half for new sales and a lot higher for internal sales.


Jamie:

A: Yeah, I totally agree with Pete. Once you're at a proposal stage, you know, you probably are 90% the way there, but you know, someone down, there's an ebook of your website, that's a much longer sale journey with probably 40 touchpoints before they actually sign a deal with you. So there's, you know, I'd say average 1%, your spot on there for that specific question.

4. Q: What would an average client acquisition cost be for say a 10 seat company?

Jaime: 

A: It depends where you are on your journey. I think you know the businesses that have the cheapest customer acquisition costs that we work with have invested very heavily in either kind of SEO or over a long time. Cause what they're doing is they're, you know, they've got a really good inbound lead flow of warm opportunities and are at the right time. But when I say significantly invested, you know, they're the MSPs that have been around for 15, 20 years and established with high authority scores that have invested heavily in that specific. 


Now it's quite hard and difficult to penetrate that SEO ranking at this stage. So the costs go up. If you're working on ads and outbound through sales reps, well, it can cost up to 400 pounds to have someone download, you know, an ebook through LinkedIn; check if you are in central London. So there are many different facets of industry, geography, et cetera. It sounds that it can vary, but there is a calculation that could be done based on all of those variables. I wouldn't like to guess. It depends on where your business is today.

Pete:

A: I  think just to add to that; I'd ask a slightly different question of what is your average spend per customer?

“So it's putting one more question to it. Look at your monthly turnover; divide that by the number of clients you've invoiced that month. How much are your customers on average spending with you, and then find a figure that you are comfortable spending to acquire a new one?”

Is it one month's worth of fees? 2, 3, 6 months? How, you know, what's the typical length that they stay with you as well, that's worth considering. That kind of gives you that figure that you can then work with and go, okay, well now I've got a budget that I can work with, at least a target on new client acquisition. And then you can try and find a marketing method.


Formula: 

Monthly Turnover / Number of Clients Invoiced that Month * Account Retention


READ: The 9 Key Sales Metrics Every MSP Should Be Tracking

That's not, so you shouldn't chase up. Like we were saying earlier, you need a follow-up process. Make sure, at least checking in with them from time to time, staying top of the sales process, and maybe have your process set in stages. So you know that, oh, it's got to the stage where we need to send them an email and need to give them a phone call, whatever that process is that the whole business can follow. 

But yeah, certainly my approach is to focus on the ones that focus on you. If, if people want to talk to you, then I'd rather talk to those people than the ones that have gone quiet. But yeah, Jamie, I'm keen to hear your thoughts on that as well.


Jamie:

A: Yeah. I actually agree with you that softly can work really well. You know, when I was a young junior sales rep, maybe, that wasn't the case. You start to realize that if you do enough job building value in the sales cycle and you create a really good compelling event of why they need to change. And you prove to them that the return investment they're going to get is greater than any pain that they're going to go through. Because their IT infrastructure and systems move to your solutions is a humongous change. 

Like we educate staff, etc, then the deal will naturally move forward. So for me, it's about building enough value and a really good business case will change to the right persona. And then, naturally, the deal will move through by itself. So I'm with you on the Soft Soft. It just comes down to being a good salesperson and doing the right things.


Shannon:
A: Yep, that's a terrific addition. Cause I was thinking the same thing when, when Pete was talking, you're going to know those qualities that you should focus on. And so sometimes somebody drops off, but you also kind of know like, well, they weren't really a great fit.

Pete:

A: It  happens as well. I think that's something also to remember that you do get those leads that go completely silent. They go completely dead. There's one that I remember. It was for a large business. We got in there; first, we had loads of positive feedback, had them come back and say, “oh, you've done an amazing job.” Like really, really great. And then literally nothing from that day. We didn't hear a single word until six months later. 

It was a long time after someone else got in touch with us and said, oh yeah, I'd spoken to this company. They said you're incredible. And they've recommended us to you. It's like, well, they didn't bother telling us that they didn't come back to us. So it's just bizarre that you know, it can go completely, completely dead, and you can never hear from them again. But it can still kind of work for you further down the line, and they can. Always stay professional, always stay kind. And you know, the kind of the process you go through where you do chase, and if it goes dead, it goes dead. That's fine. Leave it because you never know further down the line how it could come back to you.


5. Q: Any closing thoughts that we'd like to leave the group with?

Pete:

A: 1. Everybody should do video
    2. I'll second having a sales platform. 


Shannon: 

I hope that everybody found this session enjoyable. We covered a lot in building out process considerations for building out your team, technology to utilize and incorporate video. Right. I hate to call it even video, like a piece of technology, because it's a communication medium in the same way we've been trying to engender trust with email. If we're doing those cadences and drip campaigns right, sometimes we forget, and it's circling back to the prospect with a reminder. 

But yeah, I was excited for us to talk about video selling, and dial down into that. But thank you for sharing your wealth of experience, both as ex-MSPs and vendor side now doing great things together at Continuity. So yeah, I appreciate your time, guys. 


Pete:

Thank you for inviting us.


Shannon:

Thanks all. Thank you to all our attendees for staying with us, and please feel free. I'm Shannon Murphy at Zomenum. Should you have any questions or want to follow up? Give us a shout. All right. Thank you all. Have a great day. Thanks to all bye.



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