Managed service providers rely on a continual sales flow to add income and momentum to their businesses. Whether replacing lost revenue from client turnover or accumulating cash to fund expansion and pay for escalating expenses, increasing the services under contract is a critical goal for MSP sales.
Speed and efficiency are critical. The faster the sales team can turn leads into signed contracts, the sooner the MSP can start banking the income and funding more projects. Using the least possible amount of resources (typically people and their time) in that process increases profit margins and can help the firm take advantage of more opportunities for landing new clients.
So, how can MSPs get leaner and meaner with their sales teams and progression? The good news is this is not rocket science. MSP sales experts frequently share proven and time-tested suggestions for streamlining and otherwise improving these critical msp sales processes, and a plethora of tools are available to help automate virtually every step. While skilled sales professionals are still crucial to the program, especially with prospecting and closing new clients, MSPs can vastly improve their speed and success rates by tweaking how they work.
Many MSPs end up losing key sales because someone (or several people) drop the ball. Whether failing to follow up on high potential opportunities or spending far too long crafting proposals, it is far too easy to let great sales prospects slip through the cracks. Disorganization and procrastination are sure ways to kiss a great lead goodbye.
MSP sales teams need to step up their games. To convert quality leads into new clients, sales teams need to pay close attention and effectively move key decision-makers through the sales process. The steps can vary significantly based on a number of variables. For example, school districts, municipalities, and government agencies typically have an annual budgeting process, and a fair amount of paperwork MSPs need to complete just to bid their services. Targeting those prospects can be quite difficult without a well-managed system in place.
Sales teams must keep in touch with decision-makers regularly, but the frequency depends on your business model, objectives, and the unique needs of each prospective client. These conversations help ensure your company is top of mind as your team gathers information and completes a list of pre-sales objectives. That sales process may include completing infrastructure and solutions assessments, reviewing cybersecurity and regulatory requirements, and addressing all known and hidden objections. Collecting and managing all that information can be a nightmare for any sales team.
Change is a way of life for MSPs. That continual transformation philosophy should be incorporated as much in the sales process as it is with IT systems, cybersecurity, and virtually every other offering from IT services companies. What works well today for your sales team will likely lose its edge in a matter of weeks or months as competitors shift their tactics and prospects' needs change.
The objective of converting leads to new clients is a constant. However, MSPs can streamline and speed up the processes while simultaneously boosting their contract closing rates. Making those positive changes may not be easy, but those enhancements are necessary to increase your recurring revenue streams to fuel the company’s growth.
What steps can you take to optimize your MSP’s sales cycle and close more deals quicker?
A systematic review of the prospect’s technology requirements and long-term business objectives is the baseline of the sales relationship. Assessing current and expected needs based on those factors will help your team create proposals that will speed up approvals and increase closing rates.
People buy from people. The more employees that play a part in procuring managed services or other technologies, the more relationships your team needs to develop to close the sale. MSPs can uncover all influencers by asking probing questions like “who else should see the proposal?” or “which of your team members should provide input on the plan?” A valuable sales best practice is to input those names and responsibilities in a customer relationship management (CRM) system, as well as personal information such as family members, pets, and personality traits. Those details can help sales professionals build rapport and further the discussions (and shorten the time before closing).
Documenting potential and real concerns that come up in discussions with end-users and key decision-makers at a prospective client company is critical when constructing proposals. MSPs must have a system for storing, updating, and sharing that information between team members so they can collaborate and develop plans for overcoming those objections. Asking for feedback on initial IT services proposals is the first step. Those trial closes allow sales team members to formulate ideas and new pitches to overcome objections and get final approvals.
Prospects are inherently wary of salespeople. Your team must work hard to develop trust with everyone who may influence a potential deal. Without sincerity and a straightforward approach, being careful to avoid overpromising and under delivering, prospects may not respect your words and have confidence enough to close the deal.
The chances are good that your firm is not the only managed services provider in town, and your sales prospects may be already talking to those competitors. Do you know your rivals’ portfolios and their company’s value proposition to businesses? Invest some time getting to know your opponents and their team members and, when possible, learn their typical sales pitches and potential advantages. That knowledge will make it a lot easier to develop proposals that clearly outline your MSP’s competitive advantages and boost your contract closing rate.
Time is money. The quicker your team closes new managed services contracts, the sooner you can transform that monthly recurring revenue into cash flow. That steady income will fuel more growth without the need for borrowing other peoples’ money. Establishing a sense of urgency in each step of the sales cycle will keep everyone on track to reduce lead conversion time and block new competitors.
Beginning with the initial assessment, MSPs must carefully meld their talking points to match their clients’ needs with the available portfolio of services. You may need to pitch new offerings to address specific requirements since the ultimate goal is to best support that business, including its operations, employees, customers, and long-term objectives. If the sales team can align messaging to address their pain points and aspirations, it will typically take less time to close the deal.
Sales requires more than words. Your commitment must extend past the messaging to building a customized proposal that fits each prospect’s individual needs. How can your sales team personalize its presentation to gain buy-in from the key people? Today, MSPs can utilize sales tools that permit you to customize proposals to appeal to all the various decision-makers, with images and attachments that draw their interest and encourage positive feedback. These solutions make it easier than ever to help prospects see the value of working with your firm.
Where would MSPs be without applications and integration options to simplify their lives? Automation of your key management tools is essential for controlling all the chaos. PSAs and RMMs help your team manage the day-to-day operations, and connections with accounting and quoting applications eliminate many manual tasks. A true sales platform built for MSPs (like Zomentum) can automate each step of the sales process, from assessment to contract signatures, speeding up the process while maximizing the potential revenue from each new opportunity.
Digital documents save not only trees but time. The advantages of having access to electronic signature options for proposals are numerous for MSPs, especially during a pandemic with decision-makers working in multiple locations. You can create, amend, deliver, and get signed approvals on documents almost instantly and avoid many of the issues associated with physical mailings. Multi-device digital signature capture speeds contract approval so your team can get to work, and you can begin the billing process.
The good news is MSPs no longer have to suffer trying to manage opportunities and the complex process that often follows the generation of a new lead. Sales automation platforms like Zomentum allow managers to track each account's progression and their team members’ activities.
With various features for speeding up the sales cycle, including flexible assessment and quoting applications, you can quickly customize and update proposals to finalize new deals. Automation also reduces potential pricing mistakes and other possible errors.
Are you ready to speed up and streamline your MSP’s sales closing process? Contact Zomentum, and our team will show you how easy it can be and how quickly you can convert a lead into additional monthly recurring revenue.