Companies in every industry have struggled in 2020 due to COVID-19. The pandemic has affected all businesses in different ways, but one thing remains true for all of them: companies are being forced to change the way they handle B2B sales right now. Navigating the new normal means motivating your sales team in new ways and adapting your sales and marketing strategies. When it comes to managed IT services lead generation, MSPs are desperately trying to figure out how to grow and continue generating leads during this time.
So, how has MSP lead generation changed, and what should you do to make sure you hit your sales goals?
How to Change Your B2B Sales Strategy if You’re an MSP
As an MSP, how are you supposed to continue generating leads and bringing on new clients during a time like this? The answer is by changing your approach. You may be thinking to yourself, “There’s no point in trying to sell right now; the last thing someone wants is a cold call.” However, people actually do need your services right now, you just need to be strategic about it.
Here are three simple yet effective tips for generating MSP leads during COVID-19:
1. Think like the buyer
Now more than ever, it’s important to get inside the mind of the buyer. You have to think like the people in your target market if you want to sell to them. Figure out what it is that businesses need from you right now.
Almost all businesses right now fall into one of these two categories:
Companies have transitioned to a remote environment. Are they still in need of services to help them do this as efficiently as possible?
Some companies are making a transition back into the office. Do they have a server that can handle all of their employees being back? Do they use IT staff augmentation?
Knowing that all companies are either working remotely or moving back into the office soon, what services could you provide that would be of value? Maybe virtualization? Or, maybe you offer hardware as a service (HaaS) and can offer new equipment to companies that have plans to expand in the near future. How can your company be of service in this climate?
2. Cleanse, qualify, and nurture
Cleansing contact records, qualifying those companies, and nurturing the prospect will always be important. But now they’re important for entirely different reasons. As an MSP, here is how you should change your approach for some of the most critical sales activities:
Cleanse—Cleansing IT leads is especially important now because things are changing at your prospects’ businesses faster than ever before. Cleansing is about gathering as much accurate data as possible. If you aren’t gathering data and updating it constantly, you can’t tailor your message to the unique, ever-changing needs of the prospects in your market.
Qualify—While lead qualification is always important, it’s yet another thing that has changed due to COVID-19. Think about it, have your qualifiers changed? Is your MSP looking to partner with specific types of businesses? Be picky about your ideal customer; when prospects see that you specialize in a specific area, it builds credibility. If they know you’re the expert in helping companies just like theirs, it’ll give them confidence in the partnership and build more trust. Who do you want to work with right now?
Nurture—As if it wasn’t important enough before, lead nurturing has become more essential than ever during this time. First off, if you’re not trying to talk to people in your market right now, another company will. A lot of MSPs think now is a bad time to sell, but every other MSP is thinking the same thing. If you’re the only one focused on your sales and marketing efforts, you have a chance to really get ahead of your competition. Second, remember that COVID-19 isn’t going to last forever. Wouldn’t you rather achieve top-of-mind awareness, even if you aren’t closing as many deals? When things are starting to go back to normal, you want to be the first partner that a business thinks of for managed IT services. Start having conversations now.
Before you can focus on any of this activity, you have to build a B2B appointment setting process. Above all else, make sure you’re still engaging in sales activities during the pandemic—you’ll look back one day in the near future and be glad you did.
3. Rethink your who, what, how
Things have shifted for MSPs due to COVID-19. Using the same sales and marketing strategies isn’t going to be effective. To be successful, you should consider changing things up. During this shift, have you thought about who you’re targeting, what you’re doing, and how you’re doing it? Let’s dive in a little further:
Who you’re targeting—The companies that once fit your ideal customer profile may no longer be the best fit. For example, maybe small- to medium-sized businesses used to be your target customers. However, a lot of these businesses aren’t doing well right now. They’re having to make budget cuts and struggling with their own business—they hardly have time to think about IT. While you can still focus a small portion of your efforts on these types of prospects, think of targeting other businesses. Education and financial may be good verticals to consider. For schools and banks, the show must go on. Therefore, your services are still needed.
What you’re doing—In what ways have your prospects’ top priorities and concerns suddenly shifted? When their needs change, your approach should change. Make sure you change your messaging and use exceptional sales enablement content that will resonate with prospects.
How you’re doing it—No, cold calling and trying to sell right now doesn’t make you insensitive. But yes, tone matters. As a sales manager, hold regular sales meetings with your team to talk about ways they can adjust their tone. Make sure they aren’t saying things that will make your pitch come across the wrong way. As a sales development representative, be mindful of all these things. Essentially, just remember to have empathy and realize that everyone is struggling right now and some more than others. Awareness and compassion will go a long way during a time like this.
When you rethink your who, what, and how, you can successfully sell in any situation. Work with your prospects, not against them. Cater to their unique needs and do whatever you need to do to assist their business during these times.
Learn more about how you can grow your MSP, even during COVID-19 →
If you’re an MSP trying to grow your business right now, you could rethink your own sales strategy. Or, you could hire an outsourced sales team or digital marketing services team. At Abstrakt Marketing Group, we’ve been doing these sales activities for 10+ years, and we changed our approach early on in the pandemic so that we could help our MSP partners grow. We know how to generate IT/MSP leads, even during a time of crisis. Are you ready to grow your MSP? Let’s talk → schedule an appointment today.