Like most MSPs, your target market falls into the small and medium-sized business (SMB) category—which is where most of today’s businesses in the U.S. fall. And, like any other business, SMBs need assistance in managing and maintaining their IT environments. Managed IT services can provide the proactive maintenance, enhanced security and technical expertise they seek, but how can you convince them to choose you in their search to find the right IT provider?
The key is to win over their technological hearts and minds. To do so, though, you must be intimately aware of how they prefer to be sold to. If you apply the following strategies to your sales efforts, you’ll easily find success with your SMB clients and prospects.
1. Recognize the Many Hats of the SMB
Even in your own MSP business you’re probably wearing many different hats. While the dream is to work ON the business rather than IN the business, most days don’t allow for that. Putting out fires, handling employee issues and so many other things pop up in your day-to-day that can make you feel like you’re not focused.
Guess what? Your SMB prospects feel the exact same way. They already have a limited amount of resources, and they can’t afford to spend too much time worrying about and managing their IT environment. That’s where you come in.
Before you get into the nitty gritty of a solution for your SMB prospect, get familiar with how their business operates. Sure, this might take some extra time and effort, but SMBs like to do business with people they know are making an effort—and building relationships in the SMB space is paramount. Once you know how their business functions and what their IT pain points are, you can more accurately prescribe your services.
2. Identify as Many Decision Makers as Possible
Rarely does an SMB decision rest with just the owner. In fact, depending on the size of the company, there may be several buyers to consider. These can include the user buyer, the economic buyer, influencers and a few others.
Of course, each of these buyers have their own purchasing criteria—you should reference your buyer personas to identify what the specific criteria are. The more you are aware of the various influences on a purchasing decision, the more likely you won’t be ambushed during the buying process.
3. Recognize Where You Are in the Pecking Order
Don’t assume that your offering is always at the top of your SMB customers’ minds. In fact, if done correctly, your services should hardly be noticeable—mitigating issues in the background and providing your customers with constant, seamless uptime.
A major reason why SMBs are leveraging your services is because they’re looking to offload as much of their IT needs as possible, allowing them to concentrate on their core competencies. However, to increase the perceived value of your offering and drive potential upsell and cross-sell opportunities, you need to find out where your portfolio can truly augment your customer's business. Contributing to things like better data management, cost savings or access to newer technologies can help reinforce your value in their minds. You never want your customers or prospects wondering or questioning why they’re using your MSP.
4. Be a Thought Leader
One of the areas where most MSPs struggle is putting evidence out in the marketplace that reminds customers that they’re a leader in their field. However, this is extremely important because it keeps you top-of-mind and relevant, and showcases your expertise.
Blog posts, speaking engagements, newspaper columns and more help validate your position in the market. These provide you with opportunities to provide answers to your customers’ top IT problems, and even position yourself as the solution. Everyone likes to think they made the decision to go with a winner, and the more they see your company helping teach others, the more comfortable they become with you and the less likely they are to leave.
5. Be a Partner
Do you only connect with your customers about renewals, or do you speak to them on a regular basis and truly build a relationship with them? If you don’t connect with your customers, you run the risk of simply being a vendor. Vendors are expendable. Partners are those who grow with their customers and enable them for success. Partners are indispensable. Make yourself indispensable.
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By Nate Freedman
By Meaghan Moraes