Most managed services providers will run the first appointment and try to set up a network assessment as their next step in the sales process and finally have one last meeting to close.
Unfortunately, the average business is so slow about making changes that these three marketing steps usually fall painfully short.
The only card left to play in the IT sales cycle for most providers is simply calling back and asking if the prospect is ready to switch. I don’t have to tell you that this gets stale after a while and turns prospects away.
You Need A Three Ring Circus
The average sales cycle is much longer than the 3 call close system that most computer business providers have prepared. Therefore many times they lose steam and miss out on the opportunity when it finally matures. What happens is that six months or a year later something changes within the organization and now they are ready to make a change.
However, they have long forgotten about your company since you weren’t able to effectively keep your name in-front of them or worse they black listed your company because you kept calling and asking for the sale over and over again!
The sales cycle needs to be re-engineered so that there are plenty of steps or rings after the network assessment that are not direct selling opportunities but rather more educational in nature. This way you can keep in contact with all your good IT sales leads without alienating them in the process!
The answer may lie in a service that Axcient has put together for their resellers.
Event Based Sales Cycle
I was trying to figure out an event or lunch-and-learn that we could put together and invite our prospects. Initially my thoughts were drawn to doing something educational about data-backup. I was in the middle of putting some material together and trying to devise a format when my partner informed me that Axicent had something like that already; which they do every Thursday at 10:15!
I was both shocked and delighted at hearing this news but still a little skeptical that what they were doing was going to be a perfect ‘next step’ in our re-designed sales cycle. However we signed up for the next webinar and invited one of our top prospects to our offices for the 30 min demonstration.
I can report back that the whole event was such a success that we have repeated it several times. Of course, our office conference room isn’t large enough to have multiple companies out at the same time. Therefore we could see the next step dragging out for quite a while as we had each prospect come by our office one-by-one.
So we opted to host the next marketing webinar at a local luxury Hotel and invite more prospects. It was a little nerve racking but we managed to get a decent turnout. The prospects that came were very vocal and asked a lot of good question to the Axcient moderator that hosted the event. The good news is that we actually got a commitment from one of the prospect that they had decided to switch IT services provides!
John Black is the Marketing Director at MSP Telemarketing and has over 10 years experience marketing for IT providers and var marketing to help them get more IT sales.