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Are You Selling Managed Services Like You Did 10 Years Ago?

Selling managed services has changed quite a bit in recent years.

Today, most of your best prospects for managed services are doing all their own research upfront before they’re ready to speak with you.

Why? Most of the research and shopping behaviors that we’ve all gotten used to with search engines, social media, mobile devices, and the cloud have now become part of how we solve problems in our professional lives as well.

This can really throw sellers of managed services a curveball if they’re blindsided.

In this post, you’ll learn whether your sales process is aligned with today’s realities, or whether your sales funnel needs a radical makeover.

Why Traditional MSP Marketing Playbooks are Shortchanging Sales Teams

If you look at today’s buyer’s journey, the trade shows are still kind of there in the marketing mix – although a lot of people report declining yields.

Many print publications have either gone away completely or are a fraction of what they once were.

With direct mail, think about the last time you made a major purchase that was influenced by something you first learned about by getting a piece of mail in your mailbox. And your entire buyer’s journey, your entire research process, was comprised of what you learned about from what you got in the mail.

And there still are managed service providers and IT consulting firms that rent mailing lists, importing those lists into their email software at their own peril, and emailing those people who never asked to receive those emails.

Meet the Four Disruptors of Selling Managed Services the Old-School Way

So that still is going on, but there has been some major disruption of the traditional playbook for marketing and selling managed services:

  1. Search – The first factor is search. If you think about as little as ten years ago, yes, search was out there, but it wasn’t as mainstream as it is today.
  2. Social Media -- With social, ten years ago, we were just at the very, very beginning. It was the very early days of some of the more popular social channels that are around right now.
  3. Mobile -- Mobile at that point was a Palm Treo or a BlackBerry or something like that. The iPhone and Android phones were still not yet around the corner.
  4. Cloud -- And the cloud was very, very early. Salesforce existed, but it wasn’t nearly as widespread as it is today.

These are four major disruptors.

Are You In Front of the 70% Point? Or Behind the Eight Ball?

And at that time, as these disruptors have become much more prevalent with what’s happening today, sales and marketing alignment has become much more critical.

When you talk about prospects not being ready to talk to your sales team until 70% of the decision has been made, 70% of the buyer’s journey is over, marketing has a lot more control over the paychecks of your sales team than a lot of people realize.

Because prospects are not ready to talk with your sales team until anywhere from 57% to as much as 90% of the decision has been made. Typically on average, about 70% of that buyer’s journey has been completed before prospects are ready to talk with your sales team.

TiVo, “Death of a Salesman,” and the Rise of the Trusted Advisor

Personalizing your approach is a lot more critical in today’s buyer’s journey, You can’t use a static, cold-calling pitch anymore.

People expect you to have much more context for what they’re actually looking for.

Things that started in the B2C world like Amazon, not only knowing everything you’ve bought, but everything you’ve ever searched for, and giving you personalized recommendations.

The DVR, satellite radio. iTunes. All of these things have allowed people to get information on their terms, exactly when they want it, without a lot of BS thrown in.

And those selling managed services have been forced to adapt to that and become a lot more consultative in their approaches.

To succeed in today’s buyer's journey, your sales team needs to get found much earlier, long before that 70% point, so that they can plant their flag in the ground as trusted advisors.

In today’s much more buyer-centric sales cycle, your sales team’s monopoly on information is largely gone.

How has your MSP firm changed how it sells managed services? Are your sales professionals truly perceived as trusted advisors?  Share your thoughts in the Comments box.

And to update your marketing and sales playbook, to be more relevant to how your best prospects are researching and buying managed services, make sure that you enroll now in our free 7-day eCourse: Go-to-Market Strategy 101 for B2B SaaS Startups and Scaleups.

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