I’ve got a hard truth I want to share with MSP owners: Before you hire a person to do the job, you need to master it yourself, and this is especially true with sales.
I run Tech Pro Marketing, an MSP marketing agency with over 100 MSP customers who are also entrepreneurs. I’m a mentor for a digital agency entrepreneur program in my free time, so it is fair to say I work with entrepreneurs all day.
The biggest mistake I see MSP owners make is hiring someone to do a role they don’t know how to do themselves.
Just think about it. Barracuda started SmarterMSP and has curated thousands of articles geared toward MSPs. They know what topics are essential to business owners, so you always see a good post.
Hiring someone for a job you don’t know how to do yourself won’t end well – 99 times out of 100. Expectations are skewed, responsibilities are hazy, and results fall short.
If you’re an MSP looking to hire a salesperson, you need to check a few critical boxes first. In this post, I’m going to spell these out.
Have a solid flow of leads
This is an issue across the business world, not just MSPs.
Often, a business owner struggles to get leads and then hires a salesperson, thinking they will be a knight in shining armor.
I hate to break this to you, but if you’re looking for someone to find leads, conduct outreach, nurture, and close them, you’re chasing a unicorn. Anyone skilled enough to do this successfully is probably doing it for their own business. It would be best to have a healthy, consistent stream of leads before you even think about hiring a salesperson. Otherwise, they will likely end up twiddling their thumbs and not hitting their goals.
A reliable sales process must be in place
This is the most critical piece of the puzzle. Even if you have a solid number of leads, you can’t hire a salesperson, thinking they will build out your sales process from the ground up.
I recently had a customer who insisted on hiring a salesperson to manage their influx of leads. At face value, this sounds like a great idea. The issue was that there was no defined sales process within the MSP. We advised this customer that it would be tough to hire a salesperson without having a clear process in place. We told them their best bet is to develop a process, run it yourself, refine it, and then look for someone who can step into the role.
Their excuse was: but I’m not a salesperson.
If you’re running a business, you must become a salesperson. As an entrepreneur, it’s not just about closing. You need to know exactly what happens from steps 1-99.
- Does it start with a 15-minute introductory call?
- Is the next step an hour-long discovery call?
- Does this lead to an on-site IT audit?
- Will there be a proposal presentation with the decision-makers?
How will all this work? And, more importantly, how does this all fit together? You need to know this process like the back of your hand so you can teach this to a new salesperson.
You need a fantastic training program
Employee training programs are more important than many entrepreneurs realize, especially for salespeople. There’s nothing more demoralizing as a new hire than staring at the wall the first week at a new company. Going beyond the employee experience, a weak training program says a few things about your company:
- The business is disorganized.
- The job responsibilities are muddled.
- You’re making it up as you go.
- The ship could go down at any moment.
Talented salespeople will pick up on this immediately and have no problem heading for the door.
You’ll need to have your sales process mapped out in excruciating detail and then develop a training program to quickly bring a new salesperson up to speed. Without this, no new hire will succeed in the role. The last thing you want is for a talented salesperson to think, “Wow, I’m going to make no money here.”
The bottom line
“Why is it so hard to find good salespeople?”
I get this question all the time in my digital agency entrepreneur group and with MSPs.
My follow-up questions to this are:
- “Roughly how many leads are you getting per month?”
- “Tell me about your sales process.”
- “Walk me through the first week as a new salesperson at your company.”
More often than not, I get fuzzy responses.
Hiring salespeople is a step that every entrepreneur will need to take at some point in their business journey. Before you begin your hunt, you must have all the pieces in place—every last one. You can’t expect a salesperson to come in and do this for you. That job for a high-level business consultant would cost you an arm and a leg. Plain and simple, no one should know your sales process better than you.
It needs to be dialed into a near science – with a rock-solid training program so a new salesperson can hit the ground running almost immediately. Otherwise, all the leads in the world won’t do you any good. If someone were to ask you about your sales process, would you have a good answer?
If you can’t explain your sales process with 110 percent confidence, it may be time to ask for help. For any support in growing your MSP business, please message me. I help MSPs and entrepreneurs for a living and am happy to help you, too.
Photo: PopTika / Shutterstock
This post originally appeared on Smarter MSP.