So, you feel like it's time to grow your managed IT business to the next level. Your operations are sublime, your services all form a perfect stack, you onboard new clients with ease, and they are excited about how you do your services and praise you month after month. It's time to meet bigger clients and bigger MRRs but, as time passes, you still don't land any that are significantly bigger than your typical lead.
In this article, we will define key tactics to reaching bigger clients and best practices for other sales processes while you are striving towards bigger MRR.
Table of Contents
Targeting Bigger Clients: Marketing, Sales, and Referrals
Focus Your Messaging
First and foremost, you need to create focused messaging for your desired client. If the client is big, chances are they have different needs. Research these needs and make changes to your current marketing message. For example, bigger clients might already have an internal IT department for maintenance needs and be searching for strategic infrastructure advice; hence, they need a strategic advisor, a vCIO in other words. You should reflect that message throughout the marketing channels that you use.
By messaging, we mean all marketing and sales materials that you employ, including presentations, brochures, ads, and even sales pitches.
In this package, you will get five guides helping to create your marketing strategy, including the guide to social media marketing
If your clientele are happy with your services and love your professional and personal approach, they will bring you more clients. In fact, many managed IT providers say that referrals are their most successful source of new prospects. So, should you just provide perfect services and wait for the big referral client? No.
Don’t be afraid to ask your clients about referrals. If you know that your existing client works with a bigger company that you want to offer your services to, ask about the possibility of a personal C-level meeting. To make your meeting request more enticing, think about creating a referral program. There are several popular referral incentives:
- Monetary, including a fixed sum that you will pay for a good referral, or a 5-10% discount based on the amount that the new client will spend during the first month. Don’t give discounts for a set period; they will affect your MRR in the long run.
- Presents. Think of tablets, gift cards, or even travel vouchers.
Don’t, however, rely too much on a referral program. Your clients’ main priority is their own business, and a free tablet won’t be the first thing on their mind in the morning.
You don’t receive referrals and no one wants to give you any? There might be an issue with the services you provide. Think of performing a satisfaction survey to define the root of the problem.
Further reading How to Get Managed Services Client Referrals
Sales is a hateful process for many managed IT professionals and yet a correct sales process is what brings leads and converts them to clients.
You might have read a book or two about sales or even attended a couple of sales training sessions that may have helped you with approaching smaller leads. But to tackle a big one, you need an experienced, well-seasoned professional who knows how to get through the receptionist, how long the pitch should be for C-level employees, which business pain points should be mentioned, and when exactly an email reminder should be sent. Find one (in itself, no easy task) and you will land your big client eventually.
Once you have contacted the prospect and managed to schedule a meeting, you need an appropriate sales message. Remember, when you meet the corporate management, you don't talk about your brilliant technical processes, you talk about business.
You will complement their processes. The in-house IT is oftentimes overwhelmed by daily routine, and don't have the time and resources to determine the most efficient way of dealing with IT processes. And sometimes, when a company grows, its IT infrastructure grows ineffectively. The reason for that is simple: when the organization is small, the solutions it uses are either simple or cheap (or both). During the period of growth, the management team thinks about logistics and sales, about new clients and offices, and tends to forget about upgrading the solutions stack. This is where you can bring sanity to their infrastructure and get rid of the legacy and inefficient solutions.
Their business will grow with you. Talk about your previous successful experience and how businesses that you worked with have thrived over the years, thanks to the successfully budgeted long-term IT strategy.
You know how to cut costs. As an MSP, you are at the forefront of the technological process. It may be that the legacy on-prem solutions that your clients use will cost them tens of thousands of dollars a year more than the similarly effective cloud-based solutions. Mention that and you will definitely be heard. Cost-cutting is one of the strongest incentives for managers in big companies.
Nowadays it might be tempting to contact the management of the prospect and pitch them the services right through their LinkedIn or Facebook pages, but that approach will be worse than useless. The person in question will most probably block your messages and put you on the blacklist for unwanted communication.
Social media can be helpful, though. Check it out for additional information about the company you are about to reach out to, in order to use it during the first contact. Another good tactic is to look for open IT positions and contact the companies in question to define their IT needs. It might well be that they don't need a tech person full-time, and so your services will fit their business.
Should You Discount Bigger Contracts?
Temporary discounts will harm your business in the long term. They will show your customers that you offer overpriced solutions and, thus, you cut prices. After a while, your clients will force you to discount even further. The rule of thumb with a discount is – a discount should not affect your monthly recurring revenue.
Discounting bigger clients should follow the same rule. You don't give discounts to clients simply because they are big and you want to get the contract. You give a discount if the upcoming workload (onboarding procedures, for example) is less due to the size of the client or the nature of their operations. You should be open about that during the early onboarding stages; your clients will appreciate both the discount itself and your transparency about how you offer your services.
Sometimes it takes quite a while even to meet a prospect of a bigger size. However, you need to be confident in the customer experience you provide, tune up your processes and don't stop trying to get new leads. In the end, it's your managed IT business and no one but you can make it thrive.