Revenue generation is the foundation of every successful business. Without consistent increases in sales, most organizations eventually experience some level of cash flow concerns and may run low on funds needed to fuel projects and long-term growth objectives. The strongest IT services companies fund most if not all, their expansion efforts with their own money and avoid banks whenever possible.
The best way to ensure your company can self-finance expansion – making critical hires, purchasing new tools, and boosting marketing budgets – is to build an optimal sales machine. MSP firms that can continually generate greater revenue streams and higher profits are more likely to have the cash to pay for those activities. While every IT firm can benefit from less reliance on loans and credit lines, which allows the company to reinvest more of its own income, constant sales increases eliminate most, if not all, of the uncertainty.
Attaining that goal is no simple task. However, by developing a solid plan and hiring the right people to execute those strategies, MSPs can increase revenue, cash flow and profitability. Those activities help providers forge closer business relationships and generate even more opportunities. Setting high goals for your IT services firm and outlining the steps required to accomplish those objectives will significantly improve your success.
The perfect place to start is with sales processes. What can MSPs do to increase close rates and maximize the revenue and profits from each new deal?
Fine-Tune the Machine
To an outsider, sales may seem like a simple process. However, those with any experience cold-calling prospects, working through negotiations, developing designs and procuring products and services understand the complexities involved in these activities. It takes most salespeople years to build quality business relationships and learn how to communicate complex and detailed information effectively. Patience is a mission requirement, and the best professionals understand how to match benefits and features with their prospective customers’ needs and desires.
That job is never easy, and finding people with a knack for success and the ability to get things done right continues to get more complex. Identifying and hiring people who can concurrently manage negotiations with numerous decision-makers across multiple accounts while developing winning proposals is more of a mission than a task. Few people can juggle it all without missing a step or important details, whether handling calls, messaging prospects or collecting critical information.
Most companies train to hone those skills and refine all the related processes and checks and balances over time. To maintain a high level of proficiency, MSPs can adopt industry best practices and policies and implement tools that help optimize performance. Building and maintaining successful sales teams requires top-level management support and ongoing investments in programs, playbooks, and other resources to enhance talent and boost closing rates.
The quoting process is a perfect example. Most MSPs rely on a large community of suppliers to locate the best available products and pricing, including strategic vendors, IT distributors and a growing list of online marketplaces. Creating proposals for large and complex systems and projects may require IT firms to source components from across the globe with numerous delivery, warranty and support options. Sorting through that mountain of information to build a high-potential proposal in a timely fashion can be an excruciating task − even for experienced IT sales professionals.
Managers’ expectations and potential bonuses also drive anxiety. Sales teams need structure and support throughout the quoting process, from the initial conversation with key decision-makers to the final proposal, to boost their chances of closing the deal.
Optimize and Energize
Adopting (and closely following) commonly accepted best practices and implementing professional services automation (PSA) platforms and industry-specific quoting solutions elevate the proposal process. These proven techniques and technologies help improve each quote’s accuracy, relevance, and profitability.
Every IT services company can cost-effectively strengthen and streamline the proposal process. Focusing on these five areas will allow your firm to drive more revenue and profits while delivering quality solutions for each business:
How fast and attentive is your team when the clock is ticking on a potential sale? Today, companies want to know prices and availability in real-time and could quickly turn to competitors when those needs are unmet. Streamlining and automating the quoting process helps MSPs achieve those objectives.
2Act with precision
Good sales professionals conscientiously address customers’ requests and requirements. While supply chain issues may impede those goals, persistence usually pays off.
Delivering winning quotes is easier when sales teams can manage and track prices, availability and communications. PSAs and quoting systems allow IT sales teams to simplify those processes, store and easily share information, and deliver more successful proposals.
4Create upgrade options
The “soft sell” approach with quotes helps influence technical and non-IT decision-makers. Some sales teams include “good, better, best” packages or recommended “add-ons” to boost the customer experience or aid productivity. Those upgrades might include complementary products (i.e., printers, phones, wireless extenders), faster processors, or more services.
The value of follow-up calls and visits is underrated, and feedback on implementations and support can create new opportunities for IT services firms. Whether clarifying questions, tweaking solutions, or selling other products and services, follow-up discussions are essential for converting short-term prospects into long-term customers.
Every MSP can create wildly successful quotes. From tools and best practices for eliciting and sharing information to automated back-end processes, those resources are readily available at minimal or no cost.
Sales and procurement solutions like QuoteWerks are a great place to start. With integration into key managed services and accounting tools, these systems make building effective and profitable quotes quick and easy.