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Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

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News & Articles

June 21, 2024 | Terry Hedden

The Agony of Sales: Why Being a Salesperson at an MSP is the Toughest Gig

How to overcome the challenges and achieve your goals in this demanding profession.

In the realm of professional endeavors, there exists a role that often goes unnoticed, unappreciated, and arguably unreasonably challenging: A salesperson at an MSP.

While the allure of salesmanship may beckon with promises of commissions and success, the reality within the MSP sphere can be different. Contrary to popular belief, it is not just challenging; it’s perhaps one of the most demanding roles in the professional world. Why? Because MSPs expect sales but often fail to provide the lifeblood of sales success – leads.

The Arithmetic of MSP Sales

Imagine this task: You must acquire five new clients for your MSP. Sounds achievable, right? Well, the numbers may deceive.

Let’s delve into the harsh arithmetic of MSP sales. Success in this domain is not measured by charm or persuasion alone; it’s a game of numbers. To ascertain the number of leads required to achieve your sales target, a simple formula is employed: Divide the desired number of new clients (let’s say X) by the expected close ratio.

For instance, if your target is five new clients and your close ratio hovers around 20%, the equation stands as follows: 5/0.20 = 25 new leads. That’s the stark reality. Any number less means the business owner holds irrational expectations for the salesperson. It’s akin to demanding a marathon runner to sprint without allowing them to train adequately. It’s not just unrealistic; it’s downright unfair.

Balance Expectations and Resources

Terry Hedden of Marketopia

Terry Hedden

The crux of the issue lies in the inherent imbalance between expectations and resources. Salespeople aren’t magicians. They can’t conjure leads out of thin air. Generating leads requires time, effort, and expertise. These are qualities typically associated with marketing professionals, not salespeople.

Sales and marketing are distinct disciplines with their own unique skill sets. While salespeople excel in relationship building and closing deals, marketers specialize in lead generation and nurturing.

Expecting a salesperson to single-handedly generate the lion’s share of their leads is akin to setting them up for failure. It’s a recipe for frustration, burnout, and ultimately, underperformance. Salespeople are at their best when they can focus on what they do best: selling. When burdened with the added responsibility of lead generation, their efficacy diminishes and morale plummets.

Moreover, the repercussions can permeate the organizational fabric. A demoralized sales team translates into dwindling morale across the board. When sales targets are elusive despite Herculean efforts, it breeds a sense of futility and disillusionment within the organization. The vicious cycle continues as demotivated salespeople struggle to meet unrealistic quotas, leading to further discontent and attrition.

In essence, the plight of salespeople at MSPs underscores a fundamental flaw in the organizational paradigm. Success cannot be achieved in isolation. A collaborative effort is needed wherein each component functions harmoniously towards a shared goal. Sales and marketing must intertwine seamlessly, each complementing the other’s strengths and compensating for its weaknesses.

The ‘Toughest Gig’

To address systemic issues, MSPs must recalibrate expectations and realign resources accordingly.

Investing in robust marketing strategies and lead generation initiatives is paramount. By equipping salespeople with the tools and resources they need to thrive, MSPs can foster a culture of success.

Being a salesperson at an MSP may be one of the toughest gigs out there. The inherent challenges of generating leads in an environment that expects sales without providing adequate support can be demoralizing and debilitating.

However, by acknowledging these challenges and taking proactive measures to address them, MSPs can transform their sales team from beleaguered warriors into triumphant champions. After all, success in sales is not just about closing deals; it’s about providing the necessary support and resources for salespeople to excel.


Terry Hedden is CEO of Marketopia. He formerly was founder and CEO of Infinity Technology Solutions, which sold in 2012. Visit 4u2grow.com, powered by Marketopia, for training on best practices for marketing, lead generation and sales methodology for the channel.

Image: iStock


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