Last week I had the privilege of attending my first IT Sales Leader Peer Group meeting called Trans4mers. It was facilitated by Mike Schmidtmann who is a well-known, and well-respected consultant in the IT channel. I have attended many MSP peer group meetings as a vendor sponsor over the years, but this meeting was different for two reasons. First this particular group consisted of sales leaders only, not owners. Two, not only was I invited to sit in on the meeting but I was also encouraged to participate and share best practices, as well as challenges I face in my Sales Leader role.
This two day IT peer group meeting was packed full of education during the day, and fun at night. Tom Snyder from Funnel Clarity was our guest presenter on day one and he taught us the 70 years of science behind sales, and how much human behavior plays a role in sales. In addition, Mike had several discussion topics for the group including MSP pricing, forecasting, how sales has changed in the last three years, how it will change in the next three years, as well as several other discussion items identified by the IT sales leaders in the group.
Any time I have the opportunity to learn from industry thought leaders in the IT channel, and other MSP peers in similar positions to mine, I take full advantage. At first, I thought my challenges would be different from the rest of the IT peer group. However, I learned that despite the IT peer group being very different in terms of what we sold, how many people we managed, and what areas of the country we were in, we all face similar sales leader challenges.
The main challenges we had in common as MSP sales leaders included:
To any other sales leader reading this blog, do those challenges sound familiar? I think that no matter what industry you are in, we all have the similar sales challenges .
When I have the opportunity to consult with MSP peers, I also always make it a goal to identify a couple of takeaways to bring back to my own team. After attending the Trans4mers Sales Leader Peer Group Meeting, here were my takeaways:
Many prospects will move back and forth within the sales process. For example, a buyer may go from research and discovery, to reviewing a proposal, and then back to research and discovery, and their needs may also change along the way which could take them back to the research and discovery phase again. However, most sales process are not built that way, and most sales people are not taught to move their prospects through the sales process in this manner. Going forward I am going to start thinking this way when taking customers through our sales process.
The goal should not be to convince the customer to come to your conclusion, but to get customers to sell themselves along the way and come to their own conclusions. It is our job as a salesperson to guide them along the way and help them reach the conclusion that is best for us and them. In addition, we as sales people should not freely offer information. We should peak their curiosity so they ask us for the information.
Continuous improvement should be a part of everyone’s personal development plan. No matter what industry you are in, read books, ask questions, learn from your peers, and find peer groups like Trans4mers to help you continuously improve and gain new ideas.
If you are interested in joining an MSP peer group, here are several that Collabrance partners have participated in to grow their managed services business:
Jim Hocking is the Director of Strategic Relationships at GreatAmerica Financial Services in the Connected Technology Group. Jim started at GreatAmerica in 2011 and has held multiple sales positions and mentor roles in the Office Equipment Group, the Communications and Data Group and most recently served as the Director of Sales for Collabrance from 2016-2018.