MSP Sales Process protects margins

MSP Sales Process protects margins. What MSP owner doesn't like that?

Written by Ian Richardson

April 15, 2024

MSP Sales Process protects margins

By Ian Richardson, Principal Consultant, Fox & Crow

I’ve a bit different of an article today. This stems from a question that came across my desk on social media. I’ve quoted the question below.

“Do you ever get sales guys overpromising or clients demanding unrealistic expectations? How can I stop constant rework?”

This ball of wax sounds like a few different potential causes. A full disclosure. I wouldn’t know more without performing a discovery around the topics. Make sure to perform your due diligence before changing anything at your company. Let’s start with defining the problems. I counted three.

  1. Stop Overpromising with your MSP Sales Process
  2. Managing Customer Expectations via MSP Sales Process
  3. Eliminating Project rework via your MSP Sales Process

Stop Overpromising with your MSP Sales Process

Overpromising stems from poorly designed and implemented sales process, offer structure, and accountability. If you don’t have defined offer structure (standards), a sales rep is usually left to fill in the blanks. They will default to “yes” because they have faith in the service team to solve issues.

This isn’t “bad” – you want your rep to believe in your organization. If you’re doing good work, they should have story after story of “man, your team saved my bacon with XYZ.”

Your process should reinforce the usage of standards. They apply to ALL offers to ALL prospective clients. Any deviation from standard should have a workflow. The rep should disengage from the conversation and bring in the appropriate resources. They shouldn’t have to make the call.

Accountability becomes simple when standards and process exist. Train the process, and course correct deviations from it.

Managing Customer Expectations via MSP Sales Process

Expectation management is almost always a discovery problem. It should be handled during discovery, and then stated in a SOW. Misaligned expectations occur when we do not understand what the customer wants. That leads to us failing to align ourselves with the customer.

If your customer expects something you do not deliver, you must call out the gap. This doesn’t mean to say you’ll do what you do not deliver. Instead, be fearless: “It sounds like you’re looking for XYZ, is that right?” “We don’t offer that service. We could do X, plus A&B. But we don’t do Y or Z. Is that an acceptable outcome?”

This does lead to lost opportunities. That’s ok. If you don’t do what the customer is looking for, it wasn’t an opportunity. It was a bomb you could have set off.

Eliminating Project Rework via your MSP Sales Process

Rework stems from the issues above. It’s a symptom of the problems above. If you address them, rework tends to go away. Consider creating a project audit procedure. Using this procedure, look at each part of the process. Examine from sales discovery through delivery and post project hand-off. Find the weak spots and built procedure around them to prevent recurrence.

Advice to improve MSP Expectations Management

There’s no silver bullet for MSP expectation management. The below list has proved effective in multiple organizations we’ve consulted with.

  • Document a MSP sales process and train to it. (If you need one, check out https://mspsalesprocess.com)
  • Define offers, document them, and reject opportunities that don’t align with them.
  • Start having accountability conversations with the sales team. Focus on adherence to process and standards.
  • Coach up or out.
  • Train discovery skill set to solve the expectation issue.

Out of all these items, my biggest concerns would be accountability and process documentation. Those two go hand in hand, and if they’re absent, lead to dumpster fires.

If you’re struggling with MSP expectation management, MSP sales process, or accountability at your MSP, we can help. Feel free to grab a calendar appointment at https://foxcrowgroup.com/contact and lets start the conversation.

 

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