Who do I sell to? A Quick Tip for Managed Service Providers

A managed service provider is looking at a mid-size business in their area and considering offering their services. The service provider sees a good match — as the business works in the same vertical where the service provider has vast experience. The service provider has a lot to offer and can reduce costs and increase the productivity of the business’s employees, yet… all conversations with people from the business lead nowhere. It looks like the business is just not interested in any savings, any productivity increase or making more money… sounds surprising, yet it is a common situation because the service provider is not talking to the right person.

Finding your champion

To sell into a somewhat sizable business, it is important to find the person who will be the champion for you, and that champion will directly benefit from the partnership with the managed service provider.

To find the champion, consider who will benefit from the services the MSP provides earlier than others. It takes time to see the impact of increased reliability and accelerated issue resolution. Yet, the impact of new business systems is visible immediately.

I can share a story here. An MSP replacing the old, slow file server with OneDrive and Microsoft 365 helps the team collaborate on proposals. Since COVID, they work from home and have to edit the same document together during a call or take turns editing the files. It leads to multiple files named something like Customer_Proposal_v123 piling up on the file server, and sometimes people publish versions simultaneously and need to merge the changes manually. Implementation of Microsoft 365 leads to real-time collaboration on documents. No more “version hell” and a lot of time saved. After hearing what MSPs offered them, the team working on proposals immediately started to pressure the CEO to employ the MSP.

It is important to note here that the most active champion is the person or the team that is getting the benefits now. Promises to deliver something over a long time do not have the same effect, as people think they may not be in the roles they are in over that time or don’t feel it is important enough to invest their energy.

How do we discover the scenarios to sell?

Start by talking to your existing customers. Ask them what they use daily and when they save the most time and effort. Find those who love the service and understand what they did not like before or why they love the service. Then, look for similar scenarios in new accounts.

Almost nobody will provide useful information if you ask them, “What is your pain?” or something like that. However, if you start with something specific like “I guess you are spending a lot of time collaborating on documents,” you will frame the thinking of the person you are interviewing. Also, making a statement drives them to argue with you and share more information in the process. They may not have a collaboration issue, but sending large files over the network is an issue. Or the issue may be restricting access to confidential documents.

Whatever it is, start by showing that you know their scenarios. Be very specific, talking about their business process and the tools they use.

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