8 Steps To Level-up Your Sales Team - From Recruitment To Revenue

Summary:

It is no secret that a strong sales team fuels long-term growth. But setting up your first team isn't easy. It requires the right mix of strategies, processes, and tools, all driven by the organization's goals and what it wants to achieve. 

That's why we have our panel of experts sharing their insights on how to get started with building a robust sales team. 

Catch Jaime Williams and Tom Watson sharing their experiences recruiting a great sales team, setting them up for success, networking tips, and sales enablement strategies that work!


Key Takeaways:

1.How To Build Your First Sales Team:

  • Find alternate channels to word-of-mouth referrals.
  • Think about a scalable sales strategy.
  • Decide on the right roles for the right people.

2.Setting the Right Expectations:

  • Try to familiarize them with your sales process.
  • Have your business development team/inside sales reps focus on getting you an appointment - so you can get in the room and close.
  • Don’t think your first salespeople will be masterful closers, that’s setting yourself up for disappointment.
  • Slowly teach them how to handle deals end-to-end.

3.Hiring the Right Sales Personality:

  • A good networker will build relationships by attending events consistently. 
  • Find someone who can understand problems and provide business solutions - they don’t have to be too technical, but insightful.

4.Coaching Your Team on How to Approach Networking Events:

  • Frequent a few specific events in your locality and build rapport.
  • Know who you are targeting (ICP) in the events.
  • Ask your salespeople to bring back business cards so you can filter the persona and provide oversight on who is a good fit and who is not - it’s no micromanaging, it’s training!
  • Help them practice their pitch, or teach them the key phrases you’ve found to help generate trust and understanding.

5.Key Considerations In Building A Cold-Calling Team:

  • Hire remotely (and perhaps in different parts of the country) to keep costs low.
  • Track performance with software tools.
  • Ensure you incentivize and reward them with a lucrative compensation plan.
  • Give them the right training to succeed - this is the most often neglected area that leads to both frustrated reps and owners!

Transcript:

Shannon: 

Hello and welcome to time to level up building your first sales team. We are so pleased you could be here with us today. My name is Shannon Murphy. I am the Chief Marketer at Zomentum, the Sales Acceleration Platform built exclusively for the Channel. Today I am joined by Tom Watson and Jamie Turner. Here's a brief introduction about our speakers today. Tom Watson is an IT channel veteran with over 20 years of experience. 

In 2015, Tom made a successful exit from the MSP he founded and operated for 15 years. Since then, Tom has devoted himself to consulting and coaching MSP owners through his business MSP go, providing them with relevant, actionable advice to help grow their MSPs and increase profitability. Previously, Tom served as the VP of MSP best practices at Axcient before joining ninja RMM as chief channel advisor in January 2020. Welcome, Tom.

Tom: 

Hi, I'm really happy to be here. So I like to tell everyone that yes, I was an MSP owner and I was technical. But what was interesting for me was I found out that I was actually better at the sales side than anything else. And I really like to share that with everyone because I think that's a real need in the MSP community.


Shannon:

Absolutely. Jamie Williams is a former Navy IT administrator and has been in the channel for over 20 years, she has worked with companies such as MSP university to create boot camps that train IT companies how to move from break-fix to being an MSP. She worked for HR tech to help grow the business by 230% between the first and second years, and also created MSP sales training programs. She has been a consultant with YC for the last eight years and has worked with over 40 MSPs in Sales and Marketing. Welcome, Jamie. I'm so glad you're here.


Jamie:

Hi, Shannon. Thanks for having me. I'm excited about this today.


Shannon:  

Yes, we have had some really great prep sessions with these two guys. I'm super excited about this topic. And you know, technically we only have three questions, but we're going super in-depth on each one of these. So it's really going to be no-frills, not that broad-based advice. But the stuff that's more tactical and detailed. And something that you can expect from these two is they're going to give it to you straight. So let's dive right in. So again, the main focus of this webinar, how should an MSP or an IT sales business owner start developing his/her sales team? Tom, could you start us off on this, maybe give us some insights about your first-hand experience?

Building Your First Sales Team As An MSP Owner 一 How To Get Started?


Key Considerations In Building Your First Sales Team:

1. Move Away From A Referrals-Only Strategy.
2. Think of a Scalable Sales Strategy.
3. Decide on the Different Roles and Structure of Your Sales Team.

Tom:
Yeah, one of the things, this was something I definitely struggled with, when I realized that I needed to stop having the growth of my MSP depend upon referrals. We all know referrals are great and we kind of reach a point where we go. Okay, I'm getting a couple of referrals a month, a lot of them close because they're referrals. So they're coming from people that know you're good.

But you need to start looking at it and go, well, do  I want to scale this business? To do that you have to break out of that referral-based way of doing sales.

You've got to have hunters. The first thing is figuring out what that's going to look like, how you're going to bring these people on and what kind of process it's like, and then what kind of salespeople they are. Because I think we're going to get into that as well. There are a lot of different types of salespeople that can exist within an MSP. That's kind of my approach to it when I made the change.


Shannon: 

Yeah, and I think we've talked about this before Jamie, Jamie's written a whole book on this topic, by the way. So she is super, super knowledgeable. I think some questions that you had asked were kind of like, how do we assess that it's the right time? And what are your reasons? Could you dive into that a little bit more?

The Right Time To Hire A Salesperson 一 What To Expect From The First Sales Hire?

Jamie: 

Sure. I think putting together a compensation plan and a budget for a salesperson is essential. I think many MSPs have told me in the past that hiring a salesperson is just dreadful. It's not. It should be something so exciting when you get to that level in your business. That should be, you know, a great success story. Like it's time for me to hire my first salesperson now. But you'll find many MSPs say otherwise.. It's not something because they've been burned in the past. Right? So they hired a salesperson, whether inside or outside, and they didn't prepare enough for that salesperson. 

And so, I think making sure that you have the budget to hire a salesperson with a really good compensation plan that makes sense is where I would start.


Just because you're hiring a salesperson doesn't mean that they need to actually be the closer.  Sometimes the CEOs can still, especially in the first six months, actually be the one that even goes with that salesperson and actually closes the deal. 

But I think making sure you have the budget for it and you can withstand 90 days of absolutely no sales, that's a good start.


Tom: 

I remember the stress I had when I was thinking about hiring that first salesperson and like, how am I going to pay for this person. It's going to be a while until they ramp up and that pipeline is big enough. I realized that and I hired some intermediate people. 

But in terms of that, Hunter, once I brought him on, I realized that the crucial thing that worked for me is telling him, Chris, get me in the room. That's all I want. Just give me the room. Because he was always stressed out about “What am I needed to say? What am I going to tell them? How am I going to quote the pricing?”

I realize, let's take that pressure off, let's use this guy to make rain. Make him bring me to the table because once I'm in the room, I could close. Over some time, as you suggested, Jamie, I trained that person to handle more of those deals from end to end. So, I was only involved even in the room on some of the bigger deals where I could step back.


Jamie:

Now, Tom, when you hired Chris, did he have a technical background? Or was he doing something in another industry? Or what was his background?

What to look for in your first sales hire? - A good networker gets you in the room.

Tom:

The really interesting thing was, he's an older guy, like in his 50s. And he had actually gotten laid off from a big one of the big federal organizations that handle mortgages ( not getting too specific here.) But, he had a technical background having managed an ERP system within there.  He had no sales experience.

But, He was kind of like the mayor of the local community, the unofficial mayor. Those guys are great because they have the ability to get you in the room.


“He had no sales experience. But, He was kind of like the mayor of the local community, the unofficial mayor. Those guys are great because they have the ability to get you in the room.”


Jamie:

Right? So he had some good connections.


Tom:

Yeah, more than good connections, he was just a personable guy who could get conversations going and find out people's needs, and then arrange a meeting. To me, that was all I really needed for a long time.


Jamie:

So would you maybe give him the title of an inside salesperson?


Tom:

He was outside sales. I actually didn't want to see him in the office. I wanted him at networking events and he had to be at a minimum of three events per week.


Jamie:

Okay. Yeah, I think that's a really good KPI to have is like making sure they're out and going to events. Now, was he the first salesperson you hired Tom?


Tom:

Yeah, he was. He was actually someone I knew already and he was working full time. But I had a lot of knowledge of that person. Something I've seen very successful in a lot of MSPs is if you know someone, and you know what their strengths are, you build what you need around their strengths for that first salesperson. That's what I did, I cheated the system by not going out there and hiring fresh, but I did what was best for my organization.

Shannon:

And I think if you have that natural networker, somebody who's involved in the business community, it makes sense to have them on outside sales and those networking engagements. But I think when we're talking about SDRs or cold calling, and bringing those people in who can get those meetings for you.

I think you distilled some commonalities, whether it's inside sales, or outside sales, which is that the person needs to be good at understanding and offering business solutions. He was able to distill down all of the problems for the potential client so you could come in and adequately consult and close. You guys said to me before, you're not selling technology, you're selling business solutions. So the person that you hire does not necessarily have to be an expert in it.

“Whether it's inside sales or outside sales, the person needs to be good at understanding and offering business solutions.”

The Key To Efficient Networking

Tom:

  • Build A Rapport With The Network: It was a true ROI, and I'll tell you why; I first required him to be in a BNI group and visit other BNI groups because you get into a cadence with those. Then you're around the same people frequently, which always creates the most number of business opportunities. I did it for years, and then I passed it on to the salesperson. 
  • Pick The Right Events: I haven't been to every chamber event, and there were several in the DC area. There were several different chambers in our county and then some other ones. 
  • Earn The Trust Of the Community: When we say events, it sounds like we're just going to random networking events here and there. But I wanted us to go to ones where we would see the same people repeatedly, where we would start to build those connections that need multiple touches and become trusted by those people as advisors. I think that was critical.

How To Pick the Right Person For The Right Role?

Tom:
Well, I had this one guy, and he was okay at being a dispatcher. As  I ramped things up, I had to bring many clients and get a better dispatcher because clients were getting upset, with tickets being lost. 

I hired someone away from the sheriff's department who had been a 9-1-1 dispatcher for ten years. Precisely because they understood the urgency, could communicate that something was urgent, and made clients feel calm. She was very organized and good at getting people where they needed to be and following up on tickets. So I did that. 

I moved the guy who was an okay dispatcher over to account management because he was a former DJ and was good at talking to people.  He was able to get people to talk to him about their computers and buying new computers, and it worked well. I lucked out with that. But that movement of someone over account management didn't cost me anything because he immediately was paying for himself before he was overhead. After all, he was selling people computers that we needed to sell, and he was finding all kinds of opportunities for selling more.

How To Set Up A Cold-Calling Team? - Thoughts On Training and Competent Compensation

Jamie: 

Well, I think in today's society, you can hire a cold caller that's anywhere in the country. I don't think they necessarily need to be in your office. If you have a CRM that will allow you to record calls and keep track of the work that they're doing, they could work from anywhere.  

So if you work in a big city, and people are expensive, it might make sense for you to go on indeed, or zip recruiter from, you know, Idaho, or you know, somewhere else where the labor is cheap. As I said, as long as you can track their KPIs, I don't necessarily think they need to be in the office. And it might be an excellent way to find someone for a little less money depending on where you are.

I think the compensation plan is important because, especially if they're remote, it's hard to get that company culture and all the things you can get when they're in the office and are likely to leave if they don't have a good compensation plan. 

It's important you're communicating with them regularly and having weekly sales meetings or KPI meetings, talking about their personal goals, things like that. So I think that's important. But I think you can find an inside salesperson from anywhere.

To track KPIs you should look at the number of calls per day or appointment set. The book covers all the KPIs for inside sales and what you should be doing.

READ: Importance Of Sales KPIs for MSPs 

Tom: 

I hired someone for an SDR role, sales development representative, or BDR, whatever you want to call them. It was someone who had much experience selling on the vendor side, and now was going to work for an MSP on cold calls. We decided his compensation was $20 per hour for making calls. Set an expectation of a certain number of dials per hour, like 20 or so. It was $25 for each booked appointment, a follow-on call, or in-person, and then they would get $50 on a closed deal. 

So it was just something that we came up with, and that seemed to work well. It gives you an example of how you're going to need to compensate somebody who's making all those dials for their time. Initially, you pay on an hourly basis,  and then you sweeten it up with some type of reward so that if a deal closes, they get something extra. 

That makes people that are making those dials start to think about whom they're calling. So they're not just going about it monotonously; they're looking for the ones that will pay them off in the long term.


“Initially, you pay on an hourly basis,  and then you sweeten it up with some type of reward so that if a deal closes, they get something extra.”

Jamie:

So just because you hire someone with a resume that said they had done cold calling doesn't mean they're good, and it doesn't mean they're good at selling your services. So actually coming up with scripts and role-playing with these folks while listening to several calls is essential.

If I'm a CEO, and I have someone calling on behalf of my company, you better believe I will be listening to those recordings for at least a couple of days to hear what these people are saying. I mean, there's all these training details:

  • Tell the prospect’s name.
  • Put your cell phone away. 
  • Do block times.
  • Be Smiling.


All these things are so important when training someone that's doing inside sales for your company.


Tom: 

Yeah, I agree.  It's actually one of the things I do at NinjaRMM, working on the sales enablement team. The software companies are very sophisticated in doing this. When you bring someone in, they're not on the phones immediately, you're going to spend a couple of weeks wanting to make sure they don't need to get taken over and understand how your business works, what you're selling. They need to hear other people making these calls on the phone. 

So using some software like SalesLoft or something like that can help. Using software where you're going to track what people are doing, and then go in there and teach them.

The idea with the script is that you write it, you work through it, and then eventually, the script goes away. People learn to adjust their pitch depending on whom they're talking to and what's working in that conversation. But give them some time to ramp up with it, and don't just throw them to the wolves. Because Jamie, we know what happens when you take someone off the street and say “Here's a script, now call these numbers.” That fails every time.

“The idea with the script is that you write it, you work through it, and then eventually, the script goes away. People learn to adjust their pitch depending on whom they're talking to and what's working in that conversation.”


Jamie:

The person ends up not meeting their quotas, not making any money, not making any commission, then they quit and now your time and the money that you put forth are wasted.


Tom: 

Yeah, it's that process you put in place that matters. I was actually looking at the scorecard part of Jaime’s book. One can get ahead of a lot of potential issues by having a scorecard like the one presented in Jaime’s book.


Jamie:

Yeah, you have to have weekly one-on-one calls with your salespeople. Inside and outside sales go over those numbers, and you'll see trends. You'll know when those numbers are low. You'll see not necessarily the next week, but the next month that your pipeline is a lot drier. So you'll start seeing trends when you start keeping track of those numbers, and you go over them weekly.


Tom:

I love salespeople. I'm one myself, but they're typically not as structured as an engineer. You have to provide some structure for them that they have to adhere to. Ensure they are checking the boxes, showing up at meetings on time,  showing up for events on time, using the CRM and other tools, and putting in the information like they're supposed to. Otherwise, it will just snowball into a situation where you can't tell what they're doing, and you're not making money.


Shannon:

We're also talking about people who are typically reasonably young hired for entry-level positions, right? So there's a personality quotient there. There's also the age. I know a woman who works creating sales teams and getting her young SDRs. During those first two weeks of onboarding, their calendar is entirely structured. This is when they're learning all of our software platforms, shadowing calls, so it might feel like micromanaging. 

But if you want to make the most of your investment. Understand that with a proper plan at the start, you're going to overcome a lot of those problems that might emerge from you, maybe having an engineering mind and being very specific.  Someone else is very improvisational and they have their talents too. But perhaps being organized isn't one of them.


Jamie:

Well, you know, I think many times people have anxiety over cold calling. So let's say you don't hire an SDR and have an outside salesperson because sometimes that outside salesperson, just like with Tom, just kind of falls on your lap. It may not even be someone you're looking for, but someone you've met and seem like they would be great. 

So one of the things in the book I talked about is what's called "Sales Jam" (sales call jams.) So what we do is the sales manager, outside sales,  inside sales, anyone who's involved in sales at all, even the marketing team, we go into a room, and we block off an hour. Usually, in the mornings with no cell phones, no nothing, we go in the room, have a phone, and go around the table doing cold calls. 

After each call, when we try to get the first appointment, we give each other positive criticism. If there is some negative, we bring that up too.


“Those sales call jams make your reps so much more comfortable doing cold calls. When they pick up the phone, it's just like another call they're making to their mom. It just becomes that easy.”


If you are going to hire for inside sales, do this, read the book. At the end of the book, I talked about the sales call jams. Make sure you do those and do them once a week.

READ: MSP Sales Playbook by Jamie Williams

Tom: 

I think that's great, Jamie, because I spent two years sitting in the sales pit, and there were many promotions around people working together and making calls simultaneously.  It's that energy created when people do it together, and you get pumped up.


Jamie:

Yeah, because if you don't do something like that, you're going to start seeing excuses. You didn't make your 50 dials today? "Well, I had to do this quote." You're going to start hearing all these excuses because they're going to do all the things possible that they can, and do those cold calls at the very last minute, and they're not going to hit their numbers, and you're going to have a problem. So making it more fun is the way to go.


Tom:

I don't have the exact stats on it. But Jamie, I know that there is magic to making a certain number of calls per day. The sales numbers say do this many calls and do them consistently. Even if it's only 10%, the fact is it's 10% over a week of 50 calls per day, and that tends to be huge. 


Jamie:

I know many people aren't doing network events right now. But one of the things I was successful with is BNI.  I know I've heard people say BNI doesn't work. It does if you're consistent with it.

One of the things I used to do in my BNI group is, and I would teach your salespeople to do this also, is when you go in there, you're not standing up, and you're not doing your 32nd pitch about your company.

Every week, you're going in there, and you're saying, This is my name. This is my company. This week, I'm looking for operations managers at manufacturing companies in this area. That's all you need to say for your 30 seconds. And every week, you come up with something new, or you can say the same thing for two weeks. But you need to make sure your salespeople are going in there and know whom they're looking for.

They know what problem they can solve, the person's title, and precisely what location they're looking for.  But that's important when going to networking events and chamber events also.


Tom:

Yeah, Jamie, that is so important. My view on things like BNI and other groups is that it takes a relatively aggressive personality style to be successful. Because what happens is people are more passive, tend to go in and repeat the same thing over and over again. 

They're not making themselves memorable. It would be best if you went out there asking people for things like, " Hey, do you have a connection that needs this?", " Can you introduce me to someone that has these demographics?" Get real specific. 

It leads me to another thing I noticed too. I would go to networking events with the salespeople. I had one of these guys named Chris. He would invariably end up talking to people that sold things like personal insurance or residential real estate. 

I don't know how many times it took me to rid him of this addiction talking to these people. But I told him no more residential real estate agents. I had to train him on who he should be talking to and can send us business. 

Make sure your efforts at these networking events are very focused on those who potentially can send you business. So that would be if you're talking about real estate agents, obviously commercial real estate agents, the proper connection. If you're talking about insurance, speak to those who sell commercial insurance and not personal insurance.


How To Specifically Target Personas In Networking Events? 

Tom:

So when doing events ask your reps to collect business cards.  Bring them back and review them or take pictures of their contact information. Then you can see trends in who they're talking to and what they're doing and you can start to tailor that a little bit.


Shannon:

Oh, I love that. That's a great idea.


Tom: 

It was an interesting thing, Jamie. Once explained the problem with talking to the wrong people, he got it. It is extremely important that you're targeting people in that room who can potentially help you and not just talking to everyone.


Shannon:

I think we've naturally covered so many things today. The training was a huge sticking point. We wanted to underline that you can make the hires you need and train them adequately. You have to understand how to communicate the value of your business best and make sure that that distills down to that sales team. 


I'm just summarising : 

  • Create a great compensation plan.
  • Have a CRM and make sure that you populate it. 
  • Have a comprehensive training program. 
  • Make sure that we're doing role-playing calls. 
  • Talk about our wins or losses, week to week, and constantly get better.


I love the sales jam that is so smart. I, as a marketer, love listening in on sales calls because that helps me understand those customers' pain points and create the appropriate messaging.


Jamie:

I don't think any CEO of any MSP is ready to hire a salesperson until they have a sales playbook. And in the sales playbook that the folks are going to get today. It's going to give you a lot of information, but it's not yours, you have to make it yours. There's a lot of questions in there that can only be answered by you and your team. So just keep that in mind that without a sales playbook, a full sales playbook. You're not ready for a sales team. 


Tom:

Yep, If we're hiring some SDR, I would, first of all, show them how I can make calls. So even you're not familiar or don't make cold calls,  someone else in your office can help with it. But I would show them what those calls look like, and I would have a written script. Probably several different versions, I would teach them how to build their elevator pitch, and  I give them a sheet of phrases that you can use with a sheet of questions they can ask. 

I would give them a couple of weeks to kind of shadow learn how we are working, and I would do a series of mock call training, probably  45 minutes to an hour, where they would do more. I would give them a scenario of who to call from the call list. They would do a mock call to me, then we would take turns, and finally, I would show them how I would do a mock call. 

That part where you show them how you do it probably has just as much impact early on as them doing it because they can hear and replicate what you do on the call. Before they hit the phones and start calling people. I will have a test. 

It wouldn't be exactly great, but it'd be like you got to pass this where I think, or maybe someone else even thinks you have a good pitch people will respond to. 

Then I would have them hit the phones. But if I have something like you need to make $20 a day, I wouldn't start them at that number. I'd start them much lower and work up because I find many salespeople get intimidated when you tell them, hey, you got to make $30 a day right off the bat. It can be a little overwhelming with all of these things working slowly into it, so they get comfortable.


Questions and Answers

Q: Is it better to hire a salesperson first or an account manager or start them as an account manager and train them into sales as they work?


Jamie:

A: Well, Tom, I think you I've heard you say before that one of the ways you pay for your outside salesperson is with your account manager being successful because they were doing all the upselling to your existing client base. So that helps you gain some revenue to be able to pay for that outside salesperson. Can you go into a bit of detail about that?


Tom:

A: Yeah, it's a great point. Because what happened is, I sat there and realized we get many people with old computers. We had several service agreements that said no computers over five years old, and then no servers that aren't under warranty any longer.

I  had gotten to the point where we had several 1000 endpoints that we were managing, and we weren't staying on top of these things until we had a quarterly business review. So  I realized I was going to transition this person over. Let's go into the RMM, run a report, and see what machines are older than these dates.  I just had that person attack that lists because we have to deal with them once they're problematic. We're proactive because now I've got someone calling down the list and upgrading all of those machines that would otherwise become problematic, reducing future potential problems.

I would have to deal with increasing revenue right now. So essentially, that person was paying for themselves and then some almost immediately, and they were also uncovering all kinds of other opportunities because they were hunting now for places where they could sell people different things. So they'd be like, " you need a new desktop because yours is five years old, we can't cover it anymore. By the way, you know, we've got a deal. We can get you a laptop as well."  I mean, it was exciting because that job took on its own life and started creating all kinds of revenue I didn't even expect.


Jamie:

A: Now that there are so many different security opportunities out there. So you have your SOC, your EDR. I mean, there are so many things out there now that you could put together a client solution roadmap. Have all your clients and all your solutions stack here and plot a red or green dot. Have your account manager go all over those red dots and call all those clients to get meetings to upsell security solutions.


Tom:

A: You know, that's a great point, Jamie. You can run an MSP for ten years. Not everyone client on the most recent agreement and stack. Many of them are on the ones you did ten years ago, and you just haven't touched it many times because you haven't gotten around to it or there haven't been problems. 

But that can be a liability for you. Because your clients are not on the SOC, you're using now or the newest EDR you're running. It can start to be a real problem. You might need to go back to them and say it, and you don't have time. However, that account manager probably does have time to review the agreement, check what they have, and prepare that. You give them some incentive to get them going towards the newer agreement and more money. Suddenly, you're getting more revenue that you never even saw coming from that because otherwise, you would have waited for before renewal or something else.


Jamie:

A: Those meetings are good to have during your QBR and upsells.  I would highly recommend that the account manager go with you to those QBRs and get that relationship going with those existing clients. Build that rapport.


Tom:

A: Often, we view these account managers as inside salespeople, but if they have contact in person with the client face-to-face, the client will start to associate that person with answers to their problems when they have these hardware issues.  Having them involved in QBR  is genius. Salespeople involved in the process lead to more sales.

Q: Is it worthwhile to hire a salesperson who works only on commission? If you can't afford to pay a salary?

Jamie: 

A: Absolutely not. Yeah.


Tom: 

A: Yeah.


Shannon:

Yeah, I think Tom gave us a formula that I really appreciate right there.


Tom:

That was for an SDR  who is like a call center, SDR person.


Jamie:

Yeah. And the reason that's an absolute No, I just want to explain that is that you need to expect that your outside salesperson is not going to sell a darn thing for at least 90 days. And if you're lucky, if it's within 90 days, that sales funnel, you know, a good nice sized deal. could take a couple of months to close. So if you think about that, and you think about how long it's going to take to build up the pipeline. It's just not. It's, I mean, how are they supposed to live and usually what happens is those types of people that take jobs like that, they usually have something else on the sides that they're doing.

“I just want to explain that you need to expect that your outside salesperson is not going to sell a darn thing for at least 90 days.”


Q: When to expect your sales hire to bring ROI?


Tom:

A: We have this natural inclination to think salespeople based on commission pay for themselves, and that's an excellent idea. But the ramp, as Jamie spoke, is essential.  You're probably talking a year or two before this person has a pipeline to the point where they're paying for themselves.

You also don't want to hire someone and have their stress be about paying their bills. You want their priority to be about generating a bunch of new business, so you need to pay them enough that they can cover their mortgage, their essential bills and can devote their energy into that sweet spot where they're going to make good money. The really good ones aren't going to probably hit until they've been with you for over a year where they have started to figure out what you do business-wise, what makes a perfect client for you, and be able to have those higher-level conversations with the larger clients that pay your bill.

READ: Selling to MSP C-Suite? Here are 10 things you should know 


Shannon:

A: So for some to hear, it might take them like a year could be discouraging. That's why we think that sometimes it's better to start with a call center and be the closer and get your feet wet with training a sales team, and then you bring on a salesperson.


Tom:

A: What one thing I yeah it's not always a year I'm just talking from my personal experience yeah my salespeople within the first six months we're bringing in some business but the point where they built up a real pipeline, and we're deal started to drop like a couple of months that wasn't until they had been with me for a year where they become they became profitable to my business. 


Jamie:

A: Yeah, and I think having that sales playbook and having the KPIs making sure you're hiring the right person is important. Make sure that it is the right person they fit in your culture and then when you bring them in make you know make it a party make it is a celebration that they're coming to work for you so the first day they go home and tell their family like oh my god I made the right decision this company's great.

I've had MSPs hire us to train their salespeople for the first 30 days because they knew they wouldn't have the time. They wanted that salesperson to feel like they invested in them. They were willing to hire an outside company to train them for at least the first 30 days working. So I think you know if you don't have the time, look at some outside resources to invest in training your salespeople. As far as getting business, you're probably not going to close any ideal deals for six months.


Jamie:

A: If you’re looking at four or five thousand dollars MRR  that's gonna take some time but it'll happen.

Tom:

A: Those didn't happen to me until I've had someone on for a year because those are more involved conversations with larger entities and take longer to land anyway.  It took my salesperson longer to have those kinds of conversations that led to those sales being in the pipeline. 

But think of it this way: you're an MSP owner, and one of your technicians wants to get a Cisco certification or security plus something like that. I think we can all agree that as MSPs, we are all over that.  That makes my business more valuable, and you're going to get the knowledge that we can use. You need to think of it the same way with your salespeople, but you need to think differently. After all, you can probably teach your technicians to be pretty good at security because you have security knowledge. If you're an engineer, don't think that you will be able to do what a professional sales trainer can do to train your team when it comes to sales.  That's why calling someone like Jamie is going to be the way to go if they want sales-specific training. 

They could do some course or go to some seminar for which I would be all for. But when it comes to actual MSP sales, I would get  Jamie, who has the playbook on how to do that, because you're probably going to miss a lot of key steps because you're not a professional sales organization.  

You might be good at closing. In terms of the sales process and bringing salespeople up to speed, you need professionals. It's going to save you money in the long run and make you a lot more. It is much less likely that a salesperson will come on and they leave you in six months. You're going to be set up for success, and you're going to get that person to stay on a lot longer until they start to hit their groove.



Q: Is it important for the account manager to have technical knowledge? Or should they be more business strategic like vCIO?


Tom:

A: I'll tell you right now, I don't want any of my salespeople. I mean, if I had someone who came from a real technical background, that would be fine. But I generally veer towards I don't really want them to have any, I don't want them to have those conversations at all.


Shannon:

A: I think that's because they can get kind of with the clients who might also maybe aren't super technical, that it'll get too far down into the weeds.


Tom:

A: I'd rather be really good at sales and asking questions and taking down that information. I don't want technical discussions going on at a sales level. If it's the technical stuff, I would rather leave that to the engineers, or I would designate my head engineer as a sales engineer.

Jamie:

The salesperson needs to know when to do that. I think sometimes when the salesperson is technical, they tend to think they know more than they do and they won't bring in the right people. I definitely would say, someone who's a vCIO would be a better option than someone technical.


Tom:

Let's face it. You're doing a QBR and vCIO role, that is, a checklist of questions and getting answers or extracting information. It doesn't require any technical knowledge. It's more of a discussion. A lot of it is a discussion with the client about what's working and what isn't. What do you need? Here's our planning. None of those things enter into a technical area. 

It can work if these people were interested in talking to them and they knew when to take that technical hat off, and they put the technical hat on only in small instances when it adds value.


Shannon:

Gotcha. Fantastic. So I think that's it for questions right now. I want to thank everybody for their time.. Take a moment right now, half an hour, just start sketching out what your onboarding and training process will look like. You can start jotting down those notes of what your pitch sounds like. You have that wonderful co-branded resource that Jamie wrote, thank you so much for sharing that with our audience, Jamie.

Q: Any final comments?

Tom:

A: First of all, Shannon, thank you so much for setting this up. I hope we can do it again. I've already got other sales topics swirling in my head. I'd love to get them out there. 

I also want to mention that I have seen the Zomentum tool, and if I had an MSP Today, I'm using it. I mean, just the connections to vendors and the quoting capability and ease, especially for inside sales and account management people. Fantastic. I want to leave you with that. 


Shannon:

A: He had no plan to plug. But he has seen under the hood of Zomentum. What I like to say it is our platform, your process. That's why we're bringing together some of the best minds in sales and marketing so that they can teach you the techniques and you can bring that to our tool.

So if you're not already following us on LinkedIn, we have webinars booked out weekly for the rest of the month. So we’re bringing more information you’d find helpful.

Thank you so much, everyone, for joining us. Thank you, Jamie and Tom, thank you for the conversations.




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