The currently dominant sales processes aren’t able to generate enough leads nor provide proper differentiation for MSPs. This undermines any chance for predictable growth. When they aren’t able to win new business in a predictable way, managed services providers can’t grow, develop new services, hire the ‘A’ players, develop internal processes or scale. The root problem is that the current transactional (the client is looking for an IT provider) and solution (IT Infrastructure or NIST Cybersecurity Assessments) sales models are reactionary. These methods assume that the client understands the problem and has a pretty good idea of the solution they’re looking for. These models don’t enable the managed services provider to elevate the message, educate the client about what’s important, differentiate the MSP’s offering, set proper expectations, or start a conversation without a buying intent. The IT consultative sales process does all of that and thus provides far more predictability.
Why IT Consultative Sales important for MSPs?
The IT service market has been saturated, the offerings have matured and the typical IT infrastructure problems are easily solved. Generating demand among high-value, high-maturity clients with business potential is a challenge as they very likely already have an IT service provider they’re happy with. Potential clients are not out shopping.
Once the referral channels have dried out, selling MSP services became a very unpredictable and long process. If a prospect has no visible pain she won't change her provider if only for a better price. It’s difficult to differentiate from the competition as everybody can claim to be a world-class MSP.
The current transactional and solution sales processes have proven to be successful when prospects have immediate and obvious IT needs. That’s why referrals worked so well and why inbound calls get through the website. IT infrastructure or cybersecurity assessments have been a big help to manage the process by qualifying clients and offering an IT solution.
The IT consultative sales process is a proactive one, that does not require the prospect to start the buying process and it performs better on this new landscape.
What is the process of IT Consultative Sales?
The IT consultative sales process consists of six major steps. Each works toward differentiating your MSP business from the current competition by redefining the market and services. You are not claiming “to be better, faster, cheaper, or more” you are claiming to solve different problems and defining a unique context of your IT services. The process itself helps to set their expectations of their current provider higher and to evaluate them in your context.
- Differentiate Your MSP’s Message - The IT consultative sales process starts by developing an elevated message. This message drives a wedge between you and your market competitors, reframes the problem the prospect has as well as the expectations. Typically this is a new “category” of services they have not used before.
- Capture Leads with Education on Business Problems They Want to Solve - The sales process is supported by specific, unique, and very valuable content. This content helps to educate your potential clients on the business problems they want to solve, relates to your services and exhibits the value of the “category” of your services.
- Qualify Leads Focusing on Quick Win Solutions - The lead generators are followed by a first interaction which is your introduction. This first meeting sets you apart from the current IT service provider “category” and quickly demonstrates many of their current problems you can actually solve.
- Deliver Value Connecting Business Problems to Technology Solutions - The first meeting leads to a business workshop where you are able to lay down the map for success. You can articulate their business challenges, current reality and set proper IT goals for them. This workshop helps them translate the “vision” to actionable steps.
- Gain Clarity with Proposals - Your proposal does not consist of a final and large commitment engagement (such as switching their managed service provider). Instead it’s a “springboard” engagement, which is easier to buy and solves a very specific problem.
- Upsell Your Clients - This process expands the IT strategy where the client starts engaging you, leading to further engagement and value delivery..
HOW DO I LEARN MORE ABOUT IT CONSULTATIVE SALES?
The 3 best consultative sales books:
- Let's Get Real or Let's Not Play: Transforming the Buyer/Seller Relationship
- The SaaS Sales Method: Sales As a Science
- The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation
The 3 best consultative sales videos:
- The Power of Remote Sales
- What is the Difference Between Consultative Selling and Normal Selling?
- What's the difference between Consultative and Provocative Selling?
The 3 best consultative sales blogs:
- The 6 Principles of a Consultative Sales Process
- The Consultative Sales Process: A New Model of Selling
- Digital Maturity Group
3 previously posted Managed Services Platform blogs about IT consultative sales:
- Two Ways to Differentiate Your MSP
- What is the One Business Skill MSP Leaders Can Teach Their Clients?
- Why MSPs are not Closing Business Enough