How Can MSPs and VARs Close More Deals?

By: Carrie Simpson, CEO, Managed Sales Pros

If your IT company is having difficulty closing new deals, don’t panic, you may be able to quickly change your approach and improve your results without making a major investment in any third party vendors, new software or new headcount.  Sometimes, the best fixes are the easiest ones.

There are four basic things that you can change right now to increase your sales success.  

  1. Volume
  2. Target
  3. Message
  4. Cadence

I encourage you to evaluate all of them, then choose a place to begin, and change only one thing at a time.  If you attempt to change all of these things at once, your will team be overwhelmed by the fast and furious changes you’re making, you won’t be able to isolate where your original problem was or measure what changes made the most difference to your approach.

Volume is the easiest fix, and often the one that is ignored in favor of internet research, browsing LinkedIn, and sending elaborate personalized emails that never get read.  Are you making enough calls? Here at Managed Sales Pros, we get an appointment for our MSP clients about every 200 dials. A full-time sales executive can make approximately 80 outbound calls a day, assuming they are using industry standard calling software and connecting to ten percent of the people they speak to.  If your sales reps are spending 20% of their day doing research, that dial count drops down to 64. Alternately, If they only spend two hours a day dialing out, that’s about 20 calls. That means one appointment every two weeks. Industry standard closing ratio is one out of three or four. That’s one deal every two months.  See the problem? The easiest way to get more deals is to get more at-bats. The easiest way to increase at-bats is to dial up the volume of your calling program. If your sales team is spending more time off the phone than on the phone, your issue is probably volume related.

If you’re calling the wrong people or the wrong types of businesses, you are wasting your dials and time.  Are you having lengthy conversations with people who can’t make buying decisions? Are you calling companies that are the wrong size, or the wrong industry?  Are a lot of your calls just going nowhere? That’s a target problem. When your targets are wrong, your sales programs fail. An hour-long conversation with someone who can’t buy or hundreds of dials to companies that aren’t the right fit are just two ways that target issues can cause your sales program to flounder.  To fix your targets, identify who you want to work with – what industries are the most technology dependent? Who at those companies makes the buying decision? Buy or build a lead list that is comprised of the targets you want to reach. Now prepare for that list to be very inaccurate, and invest time in removing all the junk, so you can proceed with a list filled with the right prospects.  Better data equals more opportunities to pitch the right thing to the right person. If you know you want to work with accounting firms with more than 20 employees, and your list is comprised of up to date contacts at companies just like that, and you just can’t get any accountants interested in your offering, you have a different problem: your message.

Everyone wants to hear a story that is relevant to them.  That story will change by title and by industry. Don’t expect the messaging you’re using to pitch law firms to resonate with accounting firms.  Don’t try to sell to car dealerships the way you sell to health clinics. While every person at a company should be interested in increasing the profitability and performance of their firm, every title has different challenges.  The challenges the CFO is facing will be different from the problems the CEO is working on solving, so your message will need to change depending on who you’re talking to. It sounds complicated, but it doesn’t need to be. Talk to your current clients – especially the ones which closely mirror the types of clients you’re trying to win – they’ll tell you what is important to them and why they love working with you.  Now create your message based on that feedback. Talk to different people so you know what motivates each potential buyer. Now hone your message to suit both the industry and the person you’re calling.

You’ve accelerated your initial outreach.  You’ve cleaned up your data. You’ve tightened up your messaging.  It’s still not happening. Why not? It’s possible you’re not managing your sales pipeline effectively.  There are very few companies on that lead list who are at the exact right time in their buying cycle to consider making a change.  Reasonable people make changes to their business when it makes sense to do so. That likely means honoring contractual obligations to their current provider, and only making changes at times that are minimally disruptive to their business.  If you haven’t caught them at that perfect time, you’ll need to add them into a sales follow-up pattern – which is often called a “cadence”. Here, we just call it “follow up”. People who are already engaged with competitors are your best prospects – they understand the value of your service already, and you know this because they’re already paying someone else for it. A great prospect may not be buy-ready for a while.  Proper cadence ensures you’re in the right place at the time when they ARE buy-ready. Miss that follow up call, and your competitor wins the deal you’ve laid so much groundwork for. Create a process to keep on top of all of those “not yet” leads. You can’t win the deal if you’re not top of mind. Noticing a lot of open and overdue tasks in your CRM or PSA? That’s a pretty good indicator that your biggest sales challenge is cadence.

Volume, target, message or cadence? Isolate which of these challenges your sales team is facing, make the changes necessary, and start closing more deals!  

About Managed Sales Pros

Carrie Simpson is the CEO of Managed Sales Pros, Inc. in Canada and Everywhere Managed, LLC in the US.  Both companies focus exclusively on sales prospecting solutions for the technology industry.  Carrie has been named to the VAR Guy’s 50 Most Influential People in the Channel, and the MSPMentor 250.  She was named one of Profit Magazine’s “5 Women Entrepreneurs to Watch” list in 2016, and Managed Sales Pros the 25thfastest growing start-up in Canada in 2017 (Profit Magazine, Fast 50).  Carrie was a finalist in the Technology Entrepreneur category of the Las Vegas Women in Technology Awards 2018.  Under her leadership, Managed Sales Pros has experienced four year growth of over 620%.   Carrie’s clients include Cisco, OpenDNS, Datto and dozens of technology resellers from New York to California.  Carrie blogs on technology sales challenges for SmarterMSP, Datto, Channel Futures and Managed Sales Pros.

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