There’s no doubt that ITSP and MSP professionals like you are proficient in IT services. What others dread to do; you consider a piece of cake.
However, any business – MSPs and ITSPs included – needs an effective marketing and sales team to ensure that traffic is generated, leads are coming in, and deals are being closed. Regardless of how amazing your skills and talents are, if your marketing and sales fail to deliver, then your efforts and expertise might not necessarily turn into sales and revenues. As such, it is important to predict when sales are going to happen and troubleshoot where sales are stuck.
When it comes to sales predictability and troubleshooting, the most important tool that any business should look into is – none other than – sales funnels. It is important to understand the anatomy of your business's sales funnel in order to better provide solutions for challenges in traffic generation, lead conversion, and incoming sales.
The Anatomy of a Sales Funnel
A sales funnel is a visual roadmap of the customer's journey from initial awareness to making a purchase, illustrating the stages prospects go through before becoming customers.
The anatomy of a sales funnel varies depending on your reference, but in general, there are FOUR important parts:
However, the sales funnel for an MSP company is actually longer than the standard sales funnel shown above. Your prospects are not yet aware that their services can be improved, and as such you have to double your efforts in making your existence known to your prospects. Using the four-stage AIDA sales funnel as our model we can create a sales funnel that is more MSP-specific:
1. Lead Generation
Lead generation is the process of finding and attracting potential customers interested in your company's products or services, with the aim of turning them into paying clients. It involves marketing strategies to collect contact information and guide prospects through the sales journey.
Brand awareness plays a huge part in this step, therefore marketing strategies such as email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing, SEO, PPC advertising, webinars and events, landing pages and forms, and referral programs come into play.
It is crucial that you understand your target audience – buyer persona – first. What are their pain points? What is their purchasing capacity? What specific services do they seek?
2. Lead Qualification
It is assessing and categorizing potential leads based on their likelihood of becoming paying customers. It involves evaluating their needs, budget, timeline, and fit with the services your MSP offers. By qualifying leads, you can focus your resources on prospects that are more likely to convert, leading to a more efficient and effective sales process.
Your follow-up process should also be set up at this point, to keep the leads engaged. Your first follow-up email should be 2-3 days after the initial contact (phone call or email. Your emails should be simple, straightforward, and respectful, to show that you value your leads’ time in reading your emails. Focus on building trust and relationships and avoid sounding overly focused on sales.
3. Offering Business Value
At this stage, you need to pique your leads’ interests by showing them the value that your services can bring to the table. Show them the benefits that they will receive if they choose your services. Offer them free, valuable resources such as free trials or demos, or case studies and testimonials.
4. Drafting a Proposal
At this stage, the MSP creates a comprehensive document outlining the tailored solutions and services you can provide to address your lead’s specific needs and challenges. The proposal includes details on pricing, scope of services, implementation plans, and expected outcomes. Its purpose is to showcase your MSP's value and persuade the potential client to move forward with the partnership.
Some leads will still hesitate to avail of your services even up to this point in the process. When this happens, do not lose hope! You can make a counteroffer to address the lead’s concerns with the proposal. Being willing to compromise, yet still drafting a second proposal that will be beneficial to both parties is the goal of this stage.
6. Purchasing Decision/Contract Signing
This is the stage where the partnership is finalized with a contract, that is, conversion from lead to a client has been made. After accepting the proposal that you drafted, the lead will then sign your contract, signifying that they are willing to commit to your services and terms and conditions. This process, along with the onboarding process, should be quick and convenient for the client.
Gaining a grasp of the tactics essential to enhance every stage will undoubtedly lead to an improved conversion rate. While sales funnels might appear complex initially, they are an indispensable asset for your company's expansion, making the investment of time and resources in their creation undeniably rewarding.