Most MSPs struggle with building a scalable sales model. It is not uncommon for MSPs to grow their business rapidly through their operational and administrative excellence to a point. Then, they tend to hit the sales "wall"; where they can’t grow using their current sales model (often with the owner acting as the prime sales person). This sales block can stagnate your growth for years.
At this point, most owners will look to hire salespeople to build the business. Unfortunately, this is often a disaster for both the owner and the sales professional(s). It can lead to the hiring and onboarding of a succession of sales people who don’t perform and leave within months. In some cases, this pattern can be repeated for years on end leading to wasted time and lost market opportunity.
In our direct coaching work and sales transformation peer groups, we have worked with many of our clients to overcome this sales chasm. The owners who successfully built their sales engine shared a common roadmap and set of best practices that other MSP owners can emulate.
Here is the steps we take to transform your sales results. We begin with a day and a half kickoff working session in Saint Charles IL to build your tailored action planThen we execute the plan on a weekly or bi weekly basis.
Here are the building blocks that we will execute together:
- Define your new job as the owner: The owner has to be "all in" and lead the charge: The owner must drive the changes within the company that we will discuss in a minute. But, even more importantly - they must change their own way of doing things. They will have to be personally dedicated to build a new sales model - complete with implementing new processes, developing a new team and mastering new ways to lead/manage. This will have to be a top personal priority or it won’t work.
- Identify investments: The biggest investment an owner must make is their own time. Our clients commit to investing 50% of their time specifically on sales transformation (often more). Secondly, they have to invest substantial money in 5 areas: 1) Sales process definition and automation 2) Hiring the right level of talent (recruiters and compensation) 3) On boarding 4) Training; Development and Tools 5) Training and coaching for themselves. We will cover each of these aspects in the points that follow.
- Train the owner in sales leadership: Leading, managing and motivating a sales force is far different than overseeing the service department or your administrative staff. The owner needs new skills to engage in the performance producing sales management activities - weekly sales objectives; daily huddles; pre-call planning; post-call debriefs, weekly sales meetings, activity tracking and one on one coaching sessions.
- Hire the right talent: You need to set standards for your ideal candidate in terms of functional skills, experience/track record and behavioral attributes. Our advice is to target sales executives with a clear track record in building their own book of business (in a B to B environment with SMB clients).
- Coach this talent to achieve top performance: The owner has to become a transformational sales coach: Whether it is in a small group setting or one on one, it is the quality of coaching makes the difference in your sales results.
Transformational coaching hits on all four of the following aspects with your team:
- Sales Skills/Call Execution
- Build out the sales process: The owner must build the sales infrastructure.
Here is the infrastructure that you will need:
- Sales Playbook: The sales process you follow systematically - including skills, tactics and stage gate criteria (how do you know you are progressing in the sales process)
- Appointment Setting Tools and Training: To set up call blocks and ensure the volume of activity and disciplined follow up required to be successful
- On Boarding: Establishing a roadmap for success by your sales force - especially in-depth understanding of your offering catalogue, quoting, weekly calendar of activities and shadowing on client and prospect calls.
- CRM/Sales Process Automation and pipeline reporting: This will make your sales force more productive by following a standard sales process that feeds into the management systems that you will use to direct effort and produce the desired results.
- Metrics to manage by: You need both activity metrics and results metrics. Fortunately, only two activity metrics matter: 1) number of new prospective clients meetings per week and 2) how qualified these opportunities are in terms of client’s “pain” points; the appeal of your business case and their readiness to change.
As you can see, transforming your sales model is fully dependent on the owner - and it is a big job. But, taking shortcuts or looking for an easier approach just doesn’t work. In our sales transformation programs, TBG clients devote themselves to an 18 month effort to transform their ability to lead, manage and scale a new sales model. But, once the transformation is achieved, the results are enduring.