October 1, 2014

Everyone Wants a Superstar Managed Services Sales Professional

managed-services-sales-professionalSales. Every time I hear the word sales the first thing that comes to my mind is Herb Tarlek of “WKRP in Cincinnati.”  Herb Tarlek was your typical sales guy:  shiny shoes, nice suit and outgoing personality. But did Herb actually sell anything?

How does the average managed services provider compare to a fictional radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio?  I think you will learn that Herb’s results were not too far off from what many of you are experiencing from your sales people.

Sales and sales resources are significant challenges facing many managed services providers throughout the entire industry and around the world.  We all crave that superstar sales guy who can knock it out of the park or sell snow to a bunch of Canadians in the middle of winter.  However, many settle for a below average, so-called sales person who thinks she is in sales just because her business card says sales.

The million-dollar question is this:  What separates the sales professionals who succeed from those who continue to struggle?  It all starts with ATTITUDE!  I speak with sales people each day helping them grow in their profession and graduate from average sales people to highly talented, client focused and 100% committed sales professionals.

Many sales skills can be taught but without the right attitude, forget it.

How do you know if that sales person who’s CV looks so impressive has the ability to sell?  After all, if you are considering hiring him, he has done a great job of selling you. But that is where, for many, the sales skills stop.

There are several pre-hiring tests that MSPs can use before making offers to sales professionals.  The ones that I recommend are:

DISC – The DISC profile test provides vital insight into the personality traits that a person can offer.  Is she a driver?  Influencer?  Steady or compliant?  The DISC tool is available at http://www.thediscpersonalitytest.com/.

SSI – The Sales Skills Index will let you know if the person sitting across the desk from you can actually sell anything.  That is a vital piece of information that every MSP needs to know.  Wonder how many bad hires we could have prevented with this bit of intelligence.  Learn more about SSI at http://www.mspu.us/premium/training/on-demand-audio/sales-process-and-solution-training/02-the-sales-skill-index.htm.

PTSI – Values are the heart of any organization.  Values start at the top. You set the corporate values, which ones you want everyone on your team to bring to the table.  You must have the right people with the right values.  How do you know what values people possess? There is a test for that as well. Psychological Testing Services International (PTSI) develops theoretical and empirically-based psychological assessment tools that are administered over the Internet.

Hiring the right sales professional can do great things for your MSP and hiring the wrong sales person could cost you a fortune.  Do your homework ahead of time, and trust the data when making that next sales hire.

Remember, not every MSP needs sales people, contrary to what industry pundits say.  You don’t need to have a sales person in order to make your business a success.  Nobody can sell the business like the business owner. You can build trust with clients better than anyone else.  One of the best ways to bridge this gap is to look to outsourcing part of your front line support to a hosted helpdesk

However, there will come a time when you are ready to make that sales hire,. When it does, use the tools available and make an informed hire.

Are you looking for ways to evaluate a sales professional?  Here is a great blog post on 5 ways you can evaluate a sales professional before he makes a sale.

By the way, if I was to start an MSP again, sales professionals would be the last hires I make.

Stuart Crawford About Stuart Crawford

Stuart was co-founder of IT Matters who broke new ground in the Canadian IT community. Today, Mr. Crawford runs Ulistic and focuses on helping MSPs, VARs and cloud-service providers go to market. If you would like more consulting tips on MSP marketing, MSP website development or business consulting in general, visit www.ulistic.com or call (416) 840-9106.