Your MSP business functions as a grooming ground for salespeople, if you haven’t provided them a career path. Maybe that sounds somewhat positive; in reality it isn’t. Here’s what generally happens: individuals in sales begin with your MSP, get to know the local community, establish a decent sales average, and then hit a wall. They’ve come against your business’s ceiling. Because there’s no established career path available to them, their choices are essentially: work harder for increasingly diminished pay, or go elsewhere. You’re like a plantation for salespeople. You help them “grow”, but then they get “harvested” by other companies.
Longevity of Employment Increases Your Reliance
Even with big-ticket organizations that feature hundreds and hundreds of salespeople, retaining their services makes them more integral to operations. Think about it critically. You have to train the new salespeople, they have to get their footing with a wave of new trainees, and then they must be configured into your business model such that they are the most effective. This means some salespeople will have additional duties, and focus on specific clients. When this goes on for a while, eventually a niche of sorts gets carved out around a given salesperson. As they remain in that area, like a cocoon, their company involvement solidifies. The longer they’re working with you, the more responsibility a good employee should acquire. So losing such an individual to another agency represents the loss of a prime investment. When this happens on a regular basis, it becomes systematically unprofitable. It’s like a hole in the vessel of your business tossed about in the waves of Information Technology. You need to find a solid plug.
Establishing A Visible Career Path
Entrepreneur.com lists three prime ways to encourage salespeople into remaining with your MSP:
• Modern sales tools
• Sales coaching
• Winning culture
Giving your employees the tools to succeed with cutting-edge selling solutions will naturally require some sales coaching. Certain salespeople will be more “on board” than others. But even if you don’t have modern sales tools, coaching is a great way to ensure your salespeople are continuously motivated, and using the best techniques to get the job done.
Now, there’s a fine line between sales coaching and micro-management, and that leads us to the third point Entrepreneur made: winning culture. You can’t be hovering around, micromanaging everything a salesperson does. It will inculcate an attitude of hostility if you approach your business this way. In that vein, providing your salespeople with a “winning culture” involves a certain level of transparency, and it is from this angle that the career path is established.
When salespeople have the tools they need to get the job done, and are properly motivated by sales coaches, these aspects of winning culture help them succeed. When additionally this success can be rewarded by financial gains and increased stock options with the company, then your sales team has goals which can be established and realistically attained, giving them motivation to remain.
An MSP business that rewards hard work, recognizing when salespeople stand out from their peers, likewise motivates others on the sales team. If Bob across the hall is making $1,000 more than Pat every month, because he’s getting incentives, returns, commission, bonuses, or some other available instigating sum, then Pat will be motivated to compete with Bob. In fact, part of your culture can be encouraging such a soft “rivalry”. Additionally, this makes work more engaging, strengthens inter-office relationships, and gives those in sales something to look forward to.
When you bring salespeople on, you’re likely going to be hiring based on several factors. Certainly, there are those who have experience in sales and understand, basically, how the job is done. They will need to become acclimated to your particular business’s mode of conduct. Then there are those who show great potential, but may be new to the sales game. They will need especially close training. Generally, one of the most important steps in establishing a sales force that will perpetually remain is putting the idea in their heads, from the outset, that your business has designed its model such that entry-level employees can go on to have a fulfilling, life-long career — should they play their cards right.
From there, establish your organization’s parameters, and give employees a clear way to get from entry-level to more “executive” positions — even partner, if your organization is one which can support such a climb. Also, be sure that employees are recognized when they become more integral to your organization, and are drawing higher wages. This will inspire those who’ve yet to make such a contribution.
A Place to Stay
Give salespeople a clear career path at the beginning, and provide them cutting-edge selling tools as well as continuous coaching. This helps establish a corporate culture that retains such individuals, and keeps your MSP business competitive, effective, and growing.
About the Arthor:
I Own and operate IT Network Solutions Group. We are a full IT support provider in Orlando with local offices in Orlando, Fort Myers and Naples. We have 15 IT consulting employees with the commitment to honor God in all that we do.