Me: “Who’s your target audience?“
MSP & IT Owner: “That’s easy – our target audience is ANYONE with a device that plugs into a wall!”
Me: “Seriously?” (Palm to face)
Selling your managed IT Services to EVERYONE is the worst sales strategy of ALL time. Yes, even if you’re an emerging MSP.
If you try to sell to everyone, you will end up selling to no one.
In order to sell your services, you need a specific, well-defined target audience that your entire leadership team agrees on.
How do you figure this out?
By spending time getting to know people.
Revolutionary I know.
In addition to knowing your target audience, you’ll need a plan.
Specialization, Verticalization, & Productization
In the book Scaling Up by Verne Harnish, the author talks about service-based businesses that grow and scale through a process called specialization, verticalization, and productization aka SVP.
The goal is for your IT services firm to pick one or two industries, specialize in one or two main products/services, then sell them like a “product.” The goal is to take a service and turn it into something tangible so it’s easy for your buyer to buy.
Your MSP MUST have a go-to-market strategy that supports your future revenue goals.
As part of this go-to-market strategy, SVP helps you become scalable because of your offerings, helps you pursue future expansion plans, and will reveal new profit streams and revenue potential.
Sales and marketing aren’t ONLY about leads – like marketing, it’s a business accelerator.
The goal of sales is to identify pain points for your ideal buyer, then solve these pain points through relevant services. But you can’t do that by being everything to everyone.
For the love of God, GET ON AND USE LINKEDIN
If your sales team or your salesperson isn’t using tools like LinkedIn, let me state emphatically that you need to fire them.
I’m not joking.
It’s $100 a month and can automate your sales follow-up process, along with other pieces of the sales puzzle.
You can create lists for follow-up, create segments of potential buyers based on very specific criteria so you avoid tire-kickers, and even send personalized messages that will help your sales team fill the top of their sales funnels.
- Sales and marketing are a LONG game – it takes years to get it right.
- Focus on activity, along with managing it and measuring it.
- As the CEO or President, is sales the best place for you to be and is it bringing value?
- Implement Specialization, Verticalization, and Productization.
- Use tools like LinkedIn for sales activities.
Nurturing prospects/suspects is a long-term commitment
Sales, like growth, is a LONG gameplay.
Sales is a long-term commitment, where you need to measure your activity not the results.
Selling managed services to an SMB segment, regardless of industry – manufacturing, financial services, legal, what have you, requires both time and energy – LOTS of ‘em.
It’s a million-mile marathon, not a sprint.
It’s a process that requires getting to know your audience and creating a plan, but not a perfect one. It’ll need to be refined over time and it’s a living, breathing document.
It’s going to take eight to ten “touches” to even get your prospect to take a meeting with you, let alone turn into an eventual sale. One touch isn’t enough and no matter how fancy or clever your marketing messaging is, it’s very rare that just one touch will get someone interested enough to contact you.
Unless their network completely fails, you’re not going to get a phone call after a single touch. When reaching out to prospects, you MUST be creative, honest, and original. As tempting as it is to use cookie-cutter messaging, don’t do it. Your IT firm is different from your competitors, so you want to use messaging that reflects that. To nurture prospects, don’t focus on buzzwords, rather create content that’s compelling and persuasive.
Selling CEO or hiring someone
We typically see two scenarios: An MSP where the CEO is the primary salesperson or there’s a business development person that reports to the CEO.
There’s nothing wrong with either situation but be willing to be brutally honest with yourself.
Ask yourself the question, “Am I good at sales?”
Is sales the best place for you to be and is that bringing your firm the most value?
Would you get farther, faster with an SDR for cold-calling or through an appointment setting firm?
The goal is to have a defined sales process, based on a set of specific verticals, and set goals for the sales team. THEN, you measure activity in your CRM or through some sort of accountability.
There’s an old saying that 50% of marketing works, we just don’t know which 50%.
It’s impossible to create content and marketing that works 100% of the time because there are too many variables. You can’t measure creativity.
But your focus as a selling CEO or one who manages a sales team should be on activity.
You and/or your sales team should be making 50-100 touches per day, either via phone calls, networking, email follow-up, or by using tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Again, ask yourself where your time is best spent then get to work.
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