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Selling IT Solutions to SMBs Made Easy (TFM&A Working Smarter In 2012)

Selling IT Solutions to SMBs Made Easy TFMA Working Smarter In 2012Sage was one of the main sponsors of TFM&A 2012. In addition to being a highly-visible exhibitor at the show, Sage also ran some seminars at the CRM & Multi-Channel Marketing Theatre.

I attended the seminar facilitated by Justin Mahon, the Head of International Business Development at Sage CRM, entitled ‘Accelerating Your 2012 Marketing ROI through Cloud CRM’. Attending this seminar consolidated my thoughts and experiences of the best ways to go about selling IT solutions, based on cloud computing, to SMBs.

There is no doubt in my mind that CRM systems are one of the most valuable tools in any business’ toolkit. If you own an MSP (managed services provider), VAR, computer consulting business, or CSP (cloud services provider), or are in the business of providing solutions that add value to your clients’ businesses, then it is vitally important that you watch and keep up to date with the CRM space. In addition, for selling IT solutions to SMBs, staying up to date means staying current on CRMs that are not on-premise, but in the cloud.

Some barriers have come down when selling this type of technology to SMBs. However, due to the amount of research buyers carry out prior to making a purchasing decision, it is key that when you go in to pitch your IT solution, you focus on the following four areas:

Prepare for the Pitch: Selling IT Solutions

  • Assume that everyone around the table has carried out online research about possible solutions. So, be sure to know your products inside-out.

  • Understand what the industry and business challenges are and how your pitch can solve them.

  • Know who your main competitors are, the types of solutions they offer, and how your solution differs from theirs.

  • Research the range of solutions available to meet your prospects’ individual needs, recognizing that one size does not fit all.

Allay the Fears Prospects Have about Cloud-Based IT Solutions

  • Make sure you have all the security and compliance bases covered for each solution, as security is likely to be the biggest issue.

  • Prepare standard SLA agreements for available solutions. Know what is and is not negotiable for each contract. Downtime is seen as a big issue, but the reality is that most CRM solutions have virtually no downtime: explain why this is.

  • Sell a solution that provides the prospect with easy access to export their data, so the prospect is comfortable knowing that access to their data is always assured.

  • Tackle fears about legacy systems integration head-on.

Highlight the Main Benefits of Cloud-Based CRM Solutions 

  • Show case studies that strongly prove increased revenue and decreased costs.

  • Walk through an ROI worksheet showing little or no capital expenditure.

  • Graphically compare how cloud-based CRM systems offer much smoother cash flow than traditional CRM premise-based installations.

  • Illustrate the flexibility and scalability advantages that cloud-based CRM systems offer, compared to traditional CRM premise-based installations.

  • Invoke common data loss scenarios to emphasize the value of automatic backup.

Illustrate Your Value Proposition as an IT Service Provider

  • Describe how your firm’s professional services identify best practices and mirror these in the CRM system, maximizing their ROI and eliminating the all-too-common “junk-in junk-out” experience that plagues other firms’ CRM setups.

  • Discuss case studies of how your firm has successfully implemented this type of solution before.

  • Illustrate how easy and painless the process will be for them, because your firm already has the experience to navigate them past any issues.

  • Quantify how hiring your firm decreases administrative overhead and assures a seamless upgrade.

To become a trusted advisor, you have to deal with every client individually. It is always about selecting the right tools for the job and a cloud-based, rather than an on-premise CRM, is not always right for the job. However, you will find that in most cases where you are dealing with SMBs, cloud-based CRM systems are the best option.

Don’t forget to offer prospective clients an initial consultation to audit their current systems and processes, to see where maximum efficiencies and cost benefits can be achieved. This consultation will also provide your firm with the opportunity to make sure that you are offering the right solution for the client.

“The Cloud” isn’t new; the technology has been around for a couple of decades. But mass-market availability is something new. What have you found to be the best tactics when selling IT solutions to SMBs? Please share your thoughts with us in the comments section below.

And to follow-through on the tips introduced in this short article, be sure to download your free copy of the special report on 7 IT Sales Secrets for Attracting High-Lifetime-Value Clients.

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Image Source: Screen Shot of Cover Slide from "Accelerating your 2012 Marketing ROI through Cloud CRM" (Sage CRM, Justin Mahon)

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