Getting past the myths: why MSP sales reps fail
I frequently hear managed service providers (MSPs) lamenting that they aren’t getting enough sales, and they don’t know why. They want to fire their salesperson and start over. There are several areas to examine before making drastic changes in situations like this. In today’s post, let’s consider the one place you lay the blame most often: sales reps.
Yes, the MSP sales reps are often the problem, but is it because they can’t sell, or more specifically, they can’t sell your services? And if they can’t sell your services, is it because they don’t know how to sell IT services, or is it that they don’t understand your IT products and services well enough to sell them?
We frequently encounter good sales reps who don’t understand how to sell and position services and solutions. When they hire an experienced salesperson, MSPs often expect they can hand them a list, pay for LinkedIn Navigator, and the rep will know what to do.
The problem with that approach is that the sales rep needs to know two things:
- How you sell your solutions today
- Why customers buy your IT services
How you sell today
If you don’t teach your salesperson how you sell today, you leave it up to them to draw on their sales experience using trial and error to determine which strategies are most effective. They won’t know their prospecting approach isn’t working until they realize they can’t find new opportunities. They won’t know their sales process isn’t working until the opportunities they do have don’t close.
If you have a 3-6 month sales cycle, that’s a long time before figuring out their sales approach is wrong.
Think about how well you know your customers. Either you or someone on your team consistently engages in selling to them, which means you possess invaluable knowledge about the primary contacts you are collaborating with. You also know the most effective techniques to uncover their requirements, build consensus, and gain their agreement to close the sale. Withholding this information from your sales reps puts them at a disadvantage.
Create a sales process launch pad
Teach your MSP sales reps the selling techniques that work for your company right now. Yes, they brought extensive sales experience when hired, but give them a launching pad to leverage that experience into quick sales.
Although you may not possess formal sales training, it’s time to overcome any feelings of imposter syndrome. You have built a thriving business and should share your sales process. Once they’ve learned your sales process, give your sales reps the flexibility to enhance what you’ve taught them and evolve how your organization sells, making it more effective and efficient based on their sales expertise.
Why customers buy
The second area MSP sales reps frequently need to improve is positioning their services. Even if you hired a salesperson who worked for another MSP, your services and how you deliver them are unique. You may use different vendors, target different markets, or sell to different decision-makers. You may or may not sell products they are familiar with. For example, you could sell voice and connectivity solutions, and the company the rep last worked for did not.
Your sales reps don’t understand what you sell or the value of your solutions to your customers simply by reading your website solution section or listening to one of your techs. As a result, they may struggle to articulate what exactly you do and the value behind it.
How sales reps turn the why into sales
These are the same factors your sales rep must know to sell your solutions successfully. They use the “why customers buy” information to identify which types of companies to target with their prospecting. Now they can create compelling value propositions to secure first meetings. It also helps your salesperson determine the key questions to ask to gather technical solution requirements and financially justify their recommendation.
When we coach and train an IT MSP’s salesperson, we view the ”why” as the most important learning for them. We focus less on the technical aspects of the MSP’s solution and more on how to find and use the “why.” This information will propel your sales rep to find and close new opportunities.
If you aren’t sure if your salesperson understands the value of your solutions, then it’s time to train them right now.
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