MSP Sales: Mastering Pre-Sales

BY IT GLUE | June 29, 2018


If there is one little word that can instil a sense of dread in most people, that’s it. But unless you’re planning on taking your churn to zero percent, you’re going to need to do a little selling every now and then.

So you need to understand how sales works. We can help. The first step, not surprisingly, is pre-sales.

Pre-sales is the work you do before you are making the sale.

Some of the activities at this stage of the sales pipeline include:

  • Creating buyer personas
  • Researching potential clients
  • Qualifying leads
  • Understanding your positioning
  • Working on your pitch

Let’s talk about these.

Buyer personas

You have a sense of your target market, right? The persona is a more detailed version of that. You probably have 3-4 main personas to whom you sell: CEOs/owners, IT managers and techs, for example. Write out a description — a dozen bullets is fine. Draw a sketch. Get to know these people, what gets them out of bed in the morning, what they want in life. Hubspot has a great how-to guide for creating buyer personas.

Hint: Owners like money,  managers like both technology and money, and techs are usually focused on the technology service itself.

Researching potential clients

At this stage, cast a fairly broad net. Get lots of names. Attend events (e.g. small business conferences) and work your social media. Network. Shake hands, exchange cards. Referrals are still an important aspect of lead generation for MSPs, so set up a program to reward your existing customers for creating referrals for you. LinkedIn can be valuable as well. At the top of the funnel, you want quantity first, so try a lot of things and see what works best for getting good leads into the sales funnel.

Qualifying leads

This is where you fit your large initial list of potential customers against your personas. You only have so much sales time, so make sure everybody you contact fits one of your key personas. Don’t overthink it — just use a checklist.

Oh, and only meet with decision-makers. The people who have the authority to approve the purchase have to be at the meeting, or the meeting will end up as a waste of time.

Understanding your positioning

Where exactly do you stand in the marketplace? You need to know what your edge is. Do you specialize in Mac environments? Are you a HIPAA master? Do you target a particular industry? And if you don’t have an edge, get one.

The pitch

What are you selling people? Is it IT service? Peace of mind? White-glove service? Make sure that the pitch fits with the positioning and the personas. But most of all, make sure you’re pitching something clients genuinely value. Practice the pitch, in the mirror if you have to. Get to the point where it falls out of your mouth the minute somebody asks what you do for a living.

Nail the timing

You want to be in the right place at the right time. Good news – there’s data for that. Wednesdays and Thursday are the best days. Between 8am-9am and after lunch are the best times. Check out the full study on timing sales calls here. And call more. Studies have shown that around 6 attempts is ideal – you probably give up too early.

That’s fantastic. So what?

I know, I know, great in theory. But with discipline this becomes process, repeatable, systematic, and you get used to it. You lose your fear of sales. And then you start to get more leads, more qualified leads, and a stronger concept of your offering, ultimately making the entire sales process easier.

To learn more about how IT Glue can help your MSP, sign up for a demo or get in touch with your Account Manager today:

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