A basic truth of sales is that you need to associate your services and products with the pain-points of your customers, so that what you offer is thought of when those problems arise. IT managed services providers are selling high-level concepts when the client has manifesting pain-points: slow server, slow internet, outages, severe duty service, etc. But what can an MSP do for a client who doesn’t recognize the snags and hurdles they have? Let’s take a look at an easy 5 minute solution to this problem.
Your clients have their own jobs to do - generating more revenue and growth, reducing costs, enhancing operational excellence, HR, and so on. These are the concerns that the owner/CEO/president wants to see fixed.
Our job is to identify the pains within these concerns and ease them. We can easily find some around these areas: most business leaders experience issues around growth, competition, staff and managers. Where they see an obstacle is where they want to find a business solution.
For example, business owners once were fraught with IT technology problems. It was slow, unfunctional, and poorly serviced. It slowed their growth, inflated operation cost, and dragged down efficiency, so these CEOs solved their business problem by subscribing to Managed Services.
Unfortunately that means now IT is so problem-free for most companies that they’ve stopped seeing it as a business problem. They have reliable internet, often all the software they need, and stable workstations. IT is not hurting the company goals anymore, so it’s no longer on the agenda for most leaders. This is causing managed services providers some sales issues.
Ok, but we also know they are far from getting maximum positive results from Information Technology. There’s a lot of room for improvement in their reports, communication is somewhat distracting, and collaboration is usually weak. They have the necessary tools, but most aren’t using them to achieve much competitive advantage.
What if we stop asking our customers and prospects IT related questions, and try to find their real pain points? As we’ve shown, they’re no longer incorporated within IT services.
At least not directly....
Consider the idea of business growth. Growth calls for more sales. More sales can be achieved from new clients. Of course acquiring new clients requires processes, and processes can be automated with a CRM.
So there is an IT related solution here, but it is not directly attached to a pain-point, and the chain of connection from that point to the logical IT related answer is longer.
If we start with the pain-point, we can get to the logical IT related answer sooner. This process is the consultative sales process, but it requires a lot of skill to master the questions and guide the conversation.
We’ve seen patterns - of business problems and IT solutions matching indirectly - so we’ve created a process that gets from the pain to the solution faster.
This is what the "IT Competitiveness Graders" do.
Little surveys ask questions about potential business problems in a very relaxed way. The client answers yes or no for several named problems. After the survey, with 6-10 questions, we can see how many problems they have in various areas. We attach a little hint and some available education for every problem they identify, and give them a general score. In this case, they can "Grade" themselves in a variety of business concerns.
Let's check it out live, (it’s much easier), with an example Grader on productivity.
Take the grader to see how it works You’ll receive a report with your grade just as your clients and prospects will.
There are questions on meetings, collaboration, managing emails, files, among others. These are business tasks. The client is able to review their scores and the potential issues. We’ve now converted their business problems to IT problems with IT solutions.
We can also use the graders on our website for prospecting. Salespeople can send them over to qualify clients. Account managers can use them before quarterly reviews to collect business problems. You can use the Grader scores and information in meetings to elaborate on the subject and make it a business solution - skip the IT part, nobody really cares. If we find the pain, we can fix it with a solution.
To put it simply...ask business questions and then turn them into IT solutions.