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29 Tips on Selling Managed Services with a Long Sales Cycle

29 Tips on Selling Managed Services with a Long Sales CycleEvery IT marketing guru under the sun will tell you just how important the follow-up process is. Some experts on selling managed services may even give it a fancier name like “lead nurturing” or my favorite, “moving leads down the sales funnel.”

Regardless of what you call it, with a long B2B sales cycle, staying top-of-mind is critical. Many argue that it takes as many as two-dozen contacts before someone is ready to buy. With the benefit of marketing automation software, such as HubSpot, you can apply custom lead scoring based on perhaps adding points for interactions such as page views or re-conversion events.

Even when generating leads from high-trust outbound channels, such as marketing through organizations and networking, your sales cycle length can still shrink dramatically with regular and vigorous follow-up.

But when selling managed services, you can’t just keep calling and asking, “Are you ready to buy yet?” (The phrase gets “old” very fast. Like when the kids are sitting in the back seat of the car on a long trip whining, “Are we there yet?”)

You need some hook, a “reason why”, an excuse to call, write, e-mail or visit. The list below provides 29 reasons for you to stay in touch with your best leads and influencers over an extended period of time. Think of the list like your personal smorgasbord of touch points for your sales pipeline. Just sample, pick and choose whatever your tastes desire at any given time.

  1. Announce that you’re speaking at someone else’s event.

  2. Announce that you’re exhibiting at a trade show and offer a free conference pass.

  3. Ask if anything has changed since we last spoke or met.

  4. Ask if he/she knows of anyone that’s having a lot of IT problems and could benefit from your firm’s managed services.

  5. Brief on the benefits of a vendor’s upcoming product upgrade or update.

  6. Check in following a natural disaster and offer your firm’s assistance.

  7. Check in following a company- or location-specific disaster and offer your assistance.

  8. Congratulate him/her on a promotion.

  9. Congratulate him/her on a major account win or award.

  10. Congratulate him/her on positive media coverage.

  11. Discuss a possible joint-venture opportunity – such as for example a joint client, a jointly-sponsored seminar, or shared trade show booth.

  12. Extend holiday or New Year’s greetings.

  13. Get together over breakfast, lunch, dinner, or golf to get acquainted, catch up, and explore potential business synergies.

  14. Invite to an upcoming seminar or event.

  15. Invite to come on a client visit with you, so you can provide an introduction to your client.

  16. Let him/her know about a special promotion going on with how your firm is currently selling managed services.

  17. Pass along a newspaper or magazine clipping that you think would interest him/her.

  18. Pass along a website URL that you think would interest him/her.

  19. Provide educational tips, hints, or answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs).

  20. Send a case study on how your managed services firm is helping other businesses like theirs.

  21. Send a lead/referral their way for their business.

  22. Send along news about a major account win or award.

  23. Send along news about a new hire.

  24. Send along news about a new location or office move.

  25. Send along news about a new product or service offering.

  26. Send along news about a new service guarantee.

  27. Survey your leads to find out for example, “what’s driving them nuts?”

  28. Survey your leads more completely with 8 to 10 questions and a “bribe” or drawing.

  29. Warn about a virus outbreak, hoax, worm, malware attack, phishing attack, or other IT security issue.

When selling managed services with a long B2B sales cycle, make sure that your follow-up activities aren’t 100% focused on just selling features and benefits.

Instead, add some breadth and value to your lead nurturing campaigns, so that your messages are welcomed like an invited guest, as opposed to dreaded like an annoying party crasher or spammer. Use these 29 tips for more effective and welcomed follow-ups.

 

Related Resource:

The #1 Managed Services Pricing Mistake Most MSPs Make

 

What kinds of follow-up activities have proven most effective to how your firm engages in selling managed services? What’s the best way that you’ve found to stay top-of-mind during a long B2B sales cycle and ultimately drive the final conversions? Please let us know your thoughts in the Comments area below

 

And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to watch the Inbound Revenue Acceleration Webinar for Managed Services & IT Consulting.

 
Register to Watch the "Inbound Revenue Acceleration Webinar for Managed Services & IT Consulting" (Recording)

 

 

Creative Commons Image Source: flickr jakuza

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