As-A-Service: Adapting Your Sales Strategy

| By:
Mark Sokol

You understand why transitioning to a managed services model is key to your company’s future. You’ve taken the first steps toward a successful switch. And you’re confident your cash flow  can weather the change.

Now, it’s time to take a long—and savvy—look at your sales strategybefore your clients do.

The fact is most business owners today know what technology can do to enhance their business. And although they may talk tech to a respectable degree, they’re most likely looking for a guide to handle all the details, so they can concentrate on running their company.

If you want to be paid as that guide, it will require more than impressing them with the bells and whistles of your latest technology. You’ll have to sell the advantages of managed services. And to do that, you first need to know and be comfortable with what those are.

Here are a few helpful ‘do’s and don’ts’ to consider as you rethink your value proposition.

Don’t: Be Modest.Do: Know the Unique Value You Offer.

Your clients need help navigating rapidly evolving technology solutions. While the bundle of sales and services you offer should differentiate you from competitors, unique industry knowledge and experience is your most compelling value story. Show off your track record, particularly successes that will ring familiar to your prospective customer’s experience. You know better than anyone else what your services bring to the table, so sell them with confidence.

Don’t: Be a Stranger. Do: Get to Know Your Client’s Problems.

Obsess about their problems. Your sales strategy should be aimed at solving their challenges and using technology in the most efficient way possible for them.

Put yourself in their shoes. Be able to visualize your client’s key players, their primary pain points, the reasons behind them, and how those pains impact others in the organization.

Don’t: Think Technology. Do: Think Benefits.

Stop selling products. Help your client see you as their total solution provider. If they experience hardware breaking or software crashing, there’s a lost productivity you can help them address and resolve. Discuss how you can work together to define and manage business risks and associated costs proactively. If they’re not yet ready to turn everything over to you, offer to manage their other technology vendor relationships. Your goal is to convince them they won’t need to worry about IT-related issues anymore because you’re already one step ahead.

Don’t: Sing the Same Old Song. Do: Fine-Tune Your Sales Presentation.

Selling managed services should be more of a conversation than a presentation. Listen to your clients’ needs and respond with solutions. Outline the level of support you’ll provide and be upfront with what they can expect to pay monthly. Be ready to answer questions with an open, honest and consultative approach. Ultimately, you are meeting an emotional need for your clients—peace of mind.

Don’t: Pay the Same Old Way. Do: Adjust Your Compensation Plan.

Paying commissions the traditional way, at the front end of a deal, may be too damaging to cash flow in your new MSP model. Get creative with new methods of compensation ranging from paying a percentage of gross profits to an incentive plan aimed at closing recurring revenue deals rather than traditional sales.