Two MSPs’ Tips On How To Put Salespeople On The Path To Success

At CRN parent The Channel Company’s XChange 2022 event last week, two MSPs spoke to an audience of their peers about how they are attracting and nurturing their sales teams and implementing growth initiatives.

Mark Williams, senior consultant at The Channel Company’IPED, moderated the panel and spoke with Adam Rodriguez, founder of Columbus, Ga-based MSP Network Systems Group, and Peter Kaufman, vice president of advanced technologies at Deerfield Beach, Fla. based CSPi.

“There’s a need for more specialized skills,” Willliams told the audience. “You’ve got to know what you’re talking about more and more. You’ve got to have the business side of it.”

It’s not about telling customers what the technology can do but telling them what the technology can do for them, he said.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about the relationships, which is hard to do virtually,” he said.

The XChange session outlined four ways MSPs can grow revenue and attract talented salespeople.

Customer Buying Habits

Customers are able to do extensive research before they get to a conversation with an MSP, Kaufman said.

“The challenge that I have for my sales team is to help customers not necessarily solve the problems they know they have,” he said. “We have to help them identify the problems they don’t know they have.”

Customers are buying like regular consumers buy, he said, checking out products online and reading reviews.

“They want to understand how does it impact their business and can you help them understand where there are other opportunities to make improvements,” he said.

Rodriguez said his approach to customers is very hands-on.

“We’re in their offices all the time talking to them,” he said. “Once you get that level of commitment from a customer, they pretty much [follow] what you say. It’s been easy selling managed services for us. They are completely depending on us for the suggestions of products and services that we bring to them.”

But the salesperson has to care about the customer, according to Rodriguez.

“You can teach anybody to do anything, but do they have it in them to actually care about what they’re doing? That’s very, very difficult to find,” he said.

Growth Initiatives

CSPi invested in business development reps and sales development reps this year, according to Kaufman.

“Their sole purpose in life is to prospect, and that is not exclusively cold calling, although that is still a portion of what we do,” he said. “It’s social interaction. It’s email. It’s events.”

The reality is that highly accomplished, experienced sales reps think they’re best served being in front of customers.

“They don’t have the time to do outreach, email and they’re certainly not willing to do it with the passion and energy and commitment that’s required,” he said.

He added that it takes 15 to 18 attempts before a prospect will respond.

“If you’re not willing to be consistent with the outreach, it’s not going to be effective,” he said.

The easiest way to train an MSP’s best sellers is to train them from within to understand the company’s culture and the values it stands for.

At CSPi, new salespeople get trained for 12 months and get mentored by the existing sales team.

“The opportunity for them is not to stay in that role,” he said. “They progress through the [sales development rep] role into an account manager. The opportunity for them is what’s coming next. This investment in was my way of saying, ‘I’m betting on you. I’m going to give you people that will help you drive new activity so you can go do what you do well. But in turn, you better mentor these people because I need them to be the next iteration,’” he said.

“They’ve got to have some fun with what they’re doing, he said. “They’re getting better as they’re going through it,” he said.

“If you’re only cold calling, you’re failing. If you’re only emailing, you’re failing,” he said. “It’s got to be a whole collaborative effort. It has to be personalized.” 

Vision For Future Sales Initiatives 

Network Systems Group needs to hire people, train them and get them to the point where they can go out and start doing the calls and the account management, according to Rodriguez.

There is plenty of work to be done to really educate customers about security and managed services, he said. And because of that, he needs the extra help.

“Whoever I hire, they really need to shadow me for a while and see how I do things and how you create the relationship,” he said.

And they need to be authentic, he said.

“They can’t just try to mimic what you did. If you put them with a customer, they’re pretty quickly going to confide in that person or not,” he said.

Network Systems Group has multiple offices inGeorgia with a sales presence in each office.

“We have an office in Dothan, Alabama, because we have a large customer there,” he said. “Where did we get that large customer? From another customer. It was a referral.”

Kaufman said he doesn’t think sales has changed over time.

“I think how we connect to our customers, you have to be a little bit more willing to get outside of the box and find new ways to initiate those conversations,” he said. “There is nothing new about how you listen to people, how you can understand what their challenges are and help align the solutions that meet them.”

If MSPs can help customers identify the problems they have versus just responding to the problems they already acknowledged they have, they are going to be a lot more successful, he said.

What’s changed is, he said, is how much information is available to MSPs to be more intelligent about how they target customers.

Sales Enablement

For Kaufman, the sales development rep program has also help diversify CSPi.

“The three [sales development reps] I have are from every possible walk of life you can think of,” he said. “They bring new energy, different perspectives and different ideas to the table. They help us to see things through their lens that help us connect more to our customers.”

Enabling salespeople is a constant challenge, he said.

“They have to want it for themselves,” he said. “Your job is not to give them the energy to go out and do their job. It’s about giving them the tools to be successful.”

It’s important to find the right peopleto hire, those who are authentic and curious.

“Conversations with customers is all about curiosity,” he said.

Rodriguez also talked about Network Systems Group success in targeting a vertical.

“I went after a vertical and I went above and beyond to learn more about that specific vertical,” he said. “When you can talk somebody’s language with them, they‘re more apt to use you. You can create that kinship with them.”

He told MSPs to find the vertical they’re good at and learn as much as possible.

“It’s a great sales tool,” he said. “If you don’t talk somebody into managed services then you’re doing them a disservice. They need it, they just don’t know that they need it.”RELATED TOPICS:

Back to Top


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *