All Managed Service Providers want the best leads possible. Attracting qualified prospects isn’t easy and takes months of hard work to achieve.
“Don’t Count Your Chicks Before They Hatch”
It’s important to find new prospects, but they must contribute to the prosperity and growth of your company. You’re not working for fun. You’re working to make a profit. The following are the stages you must go through to ensure prospective leads are worth your effort.
Not all businesses are true prospects. Even though they fit your ideal company profile, they may not be worth doing business with. Do you homework. Ensure that a company is financially sound and capable of paying their bills. If not, they’re a non-starter from the beginning.
Let’s say a prospective client approaches you. They can come from a Chamber of Commerce contact, or through a response from your direct- mail marketing efforts. When a prospective client approaches you, ask some basic qualifying questions:
- How do they view technology?
- Is technology an asset to their business or a necessary evil?
- Are they using another MSP?
- Why are they looking to make a change?
- What factors are forcing them to even think about changing?
- How often do they switch technology support providers?
- Ask questions about their business and industry.
- What software or solutions are they using?
After learning the answers to these questions, do you have a good feeling about this potential client, or does your gut tell you to run? If you don’t like the answers to these questions, this may be a good opportunity to pursue. Consider backing out before you invest your time and efforts.
Stage Three: Do your research. Google, LinkedIn and Industry associations are your friends. Check the BBB or YELP for reviews. Get a feel for your new prospect. Do they have a great or even a good reputation in the market?
Stage Four: Perform this stage of the qualification process at your prospect’s office. Conduct a physical inspection of their operations.
- Do they use the latest technologies?
- Is the company professionally run?
- How do staff members use technology?
Take your time and don’t rush through this process. Get to know all the key players and parties involved. Keep in mind that you may observe “red flags” during this process that tell you much work needs to be done.
Stage Five: Another important point to consider: if you aren’t speaking to the decision maker, you’re probably wasting your time. The decision maker may not have the title of President or CEO. Sometimes, the decision maker is the Office or Operations Manager.
Stage Six: The prospect should undergo a technology assessment. Perform an internal technical assessment of the situation:
- What shape is the cabling in?
- How old are the systems in house?
- What type of firewall are they using?
- Ask all the technical questions you need to assess the situation.
Stage Seven: It’s critically important to talk with users.
- Find power users in each department.
- Ask them about their current provider.
- What are their strengths and weaknesses?
- What type of service are they used to receiving?
If a prospective client’s technology fails to meet your best practices or ideal standard, determine if they’re willing to upgrade to meet your standards and follow your best practices. All you need to do is ask.
Stage Eight: Did they pass your technical qualification?
It’s important to ensure your client is financially solvent so they can upgrade their infrastructure and technology if needed.
If your prospect is successful; if they pass all your technical checks; their business acumen meets your standards; and they can afford your pricing; you should consider moving to the quoting phase and pitch your managed services offerings.
Ulistic recommends following all the steps mentioned above; and consulting with us to perfect your MSP sales processes. If you do, we guarantee you’ll increase your sales by 80%.
Ulistic is here to help you define which prospects are worth your time and which ones aren’t. Call us today at 716.799.1999 ext 102 to arrange a no obligation consult to learn how we can help your MSP business achieve stratospheric success!
Stuart Crawford serves as Creative Director and CEO with Sebring, FL and Fort Erie, ON-based Ulistic, a specialty MSP Marketing firm focused on information technology marketing and business development. He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience pertaining to how technology business owners and IT firms can use marketing as a vehicle to obtain success.