Want to know the secrets to building a successful MSP sales team?
Curious to know the best time to hire a salesperson?
Looking for ways to grow sales and take your MSP to the next level?
John Martens is the founder of Artsmen, which helps companies with sales challenges. He works with organisations to identify the problems they have, including problems with people, planning, processes, and systems.
These problems can be big or small—and John helps founders address them.
In this episode about building a winning MSP sales team, we will cover:
- The biggest sales mistake made by business founders
- The skills of running an effective weekly team meeting
- How to run a one-on-one meeting
- How to develop a more effective sales strategy
- The process of developing a more effective proposal stage
When it’s the best time to hire a salesperson
The Biggest Sales Mistake Made by MSP Founders
The biggest sales mistake that many MSP founders make is that, as the business starts growing, they hire an MSP sales team. They put together a big team, and then…
They leave them to their own devices.
Sure, the sales team is prepared to handle sales. But the mistake the founder makes is assuming that they’re completely prepared to deal with the unique facets of that specific business. The sales team then settles in and does what they’ve always done—which may or may not work for your business.
Instead, founders must remember that they are the best salespeople for their business. Founders know all the ins and outs. They have the right tools in hand, whether that focuses on customising the options available for the customer or cutting a specific deal for a customer that’s worth it.
But that doesn’t mean that the founder has to be involved forever. Most founders eventually want to transition into the CEO role rather than continue as a salesperson—and you don’t have to stay stuck in that sales process forever.
Instead, create clear boundaries for your participation in the process. Set boundaries for when they can call you in and when they shouldn’t.
Gradually, you can transition away from that role and focus on your other responsibilities.
What’s one excellent tool in your arsenal? The weekly meeting.
How to Run an Effective Weekly Sales Meeting
Each week, the company sales manager or founder should conduct a team meeting for your salespeople. Team meetings, notes John, are for the team. Not every deal is going to be relevant to every member of the team. Going over them during that meeting can bog down the team and make it difficult to keep MSP sales team members engaged.
Instead, use the team meeting as a higher-level meeting. Touch on deals that have relevance to everyone. Answer questions. Give team members a chance to participate.
Use your one-on-one meetings for a more in-depth conversation with your sales representatives, one that will give you a better idea of exactly what’s going on with your deals.
How to Run a One-on-One Sales Meeting
One-on-ones are the commercial meeting. Set these meetings around the pipeline. It’s critical for organisations to make sure that they have a strong pipeline and that they’re using it. But, John notes, this is something that many organisations don’t do well. They have the pipeline, but they don’t use it effectively. Once you have this pipeline, on the other hand, you can develop your meetings around it.
Creating Your Pipeline
Start by developing sensible stages. Use stages that work for your business. This may include the initial meeting, the proposal, the customer agreement… Use labels that make sense for your specific MSP sales team. You might have six or so stages, depending on how your business works and what steps your prospects need to take in the pipeline.
Using the Pipeline Effectively
You identified the pipeline. Now, ask questions like:
- Where are prospects in the pipeline?
- Are they progressing through the stages?
- If not, why not?
- What’s the next step, and when is it?
Go over these questions regularly with your salespeople to keep track of where your deals are and what’s needed to close them. If things are stuck, the sales manager or founder has a chance to take a look at it and offer advice or a similar scenario in which they have found themselves in the past.
How to Develop a More Effective Sales Strategy
The number one thing John suggests for creating a more effective sales strategy is getting out of your rut. If you’re doing the same thing and not getting results, why is that? Your reps may be picking their own prospects and going out to visit them, and that’s how they’re creating the pipeline. But, chances are that they aren’t getting very far.
John recommends assigning territories. He notes that you can go by geography or give each rep a “territory” based on a set customer list. It could be a very small list to allow them to focus on prospects who are genuinely interested in what your business has to offer or have needs like your existing customers. This helps narrow down the list and improve results.
How to Develop a More Effective Proposal
Your proposal should not just be a regurgitated “here’s who we are” presentation. Instead, you need a specific proposal process.
Create a template. Ideally, you should fill in a lot of those sections before it ever gets out the door. It should be as easy as possible to fill out a proposal for each new client, which streamlines the sales process so that representatives can quickly put together the needed information.
Your template should contain all the information you want to share with all your clients and then specific information that the representative could fill in based on client needs. John notes:
- Put the price at the front. That’s what most people are looking for, so make it easy to see.
- Propose from the client’s perspective. Don’t just propose the tech, but say why it will benefit the business.
- Make it easy for the customer.
- Offer a single option in the proposal. The time for options is before the proposal. Customers can always come back if they want features or options you didn’t include. But ideally, you want to provide them with a solid solution.
When Is the Best Time to Hire a Salesperson?
John points out that you need to be making strong sales before you hire a salesperson (or an entire MSP sales team).
You need to be able to prove that you can make sales before you hand it over to someone else. Ideally, you want to already have the templates and the pipeline in hand.
Then, you can easily move someone new into that sales position.
Building an MSP sales team is an ongoing process for your business. With the right steps, however, you can improve your sales and enhance your team.
Download our MSP ebook, The Ultimate Guide to Marketing Your MSP in 2022, to learn more.