Archives For managed services sales training

Every technology company should be building and selling managed service offerings – this is the foundation of financial stability (whether traditional management, SaaS, Cloud, etc. ).  It’s the equivalent of software license renewal.

If you are in sales, and your company is smart, you are being asked to sell these services.  If you are hitting the wall on this, remember, all managed services are sold like security solutions.  They are in fact, security – some form of confidentiality, integrity, or availability.  As an example, server monitoring is done to ensure uptime and response time which are availability, backups are done to ensure recovery/availability and integrity,… and the list goes on.

So stop talking about ROI, operational efficiency, or price, and start focusing on critical assets and looking for asset owners who are liable for functions that depend on the confidentiality of that data asset.  Then determine what risks exist, what level of risk is acceptable, and what managed services could be used to maintain an acceptable level of risk.  This is the key to selling managed services, and brings with it the foundation of financial stability.

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I have an idea!  There are seven things IT is doing to enable hackers… You know how?  Bold, unexpected statements cause the brain to ask, “How?” or “Why?”  The stronger the need to know the better.  A great presentation creates these “Knowledge Gaps” to draw the audience in.  One speaker I listen to calls this “Salting the Oats.” In his week long seminar he often says things like, “There are 3 purposes for money…which I will share with you tomorrow.”  Another favorite line, “While in school I went from D’s to A’s.  I found the secret to success…which I will be sharing with you on Friday.”  This keeps people’s interest for days!

All you need is 30 minutes or perhaps and hour, of which much of your time should be spent in discussion.  But take a look at your opening presentation.  Is it boring or does it create knowledge gaps?  One speaker I respect says, “We need something every ten minutes to keep the audience tuned in.”  I don’t know where his research comes from, but I can say I’ve sat through many predictable presentations.  Like another episode of Scooby-Dooby Doo…the outcome is known long before the presentation is over; it’s obvious.  There is no curiosity, no ah-ha moments, and nothing to keep me from reverting back to my Blackberry – the ultimate time filler.  Spend some time today reviewing what you present and see if you have knowledge gaps or where some might be injected into the program.

For more ideas on Mastering Board Room Presentations CLICK HERE!

© 2010, David Stelzl

Just returning from my Dallas event with Ingram Micro…what a great trip and event!  Ingram Micro always does a great job hosting these types of programs for it’s reseller community…a few follow-up notes on my talk for those who attended and even those who did not…

There is a time to charge for assessments!

1. When the fee is commensurate with the sales effort

2. When the scope includes stake-holder level people who can see it through to remediation

3. When an assessment is required by law or internal policy

There is also a time to give it away…While some people hesitate to provide anything complementary, this may be short sighted…

1. Demonstrated by three assessments I was personally involved in, I showed one that sold for $125K – no remediation work followed, however the GP was extremely high given the efficiency of the deliverable.  In sample 2, I sold the deal for $36,000 – however, given my inexperience at the time (this was over 15 years ago), we disengaged from the buyer and produced a report that did not meet his expectations.  They never paid, and we took a loss.  In the third sample, the assessment was done for free, however it landed $32,000 in remediation and $7000/month in recurring managed services work with a three year contract.  Which would you choose?

2. For smaller assessment opportunities – SMB level business, it often makes sense to perform the assessment at no fee.  If your opportunity will sell for $2500 or $3500, an experience had by more than half of my audience, I showed that the amount of GP in the deal is not worth the trade off in control of the process.  While I do make somewhere in the range of $1500 to $2000 in GP (if I really know what I’m doing), the client controls the process simply because they’ve paid for it.  If I do it for free, I can demand time with any asset owner in the organization, both as part of the discovery as well as in the delivery, where I sell the remediation and managed services.  At any point, if management disengages, I can stop the process.  It’s free, so it’s my call.  In this case, the profit does not justify the sales time unless follow-up work is sold.

3. Finally, never give the assessment away – it’s not really free.  Not to contradict point 2, but to require a trade of services.  In the case of an event, executive attendance justifies a complementary assessment.  There may be other situations that do the same.  But don’t devalue your service by advertising free assessments.  Put a price tag on it and perform it as a gift for those willing to invest the time and energy at the right level.  Discernment is required – but in the end, you’ll create the justification needed.

4. Finally, the deliverable must sell the next step.  This is never a technical paper.  Data supports the case, however the measurement of risk must be delivered in a compelling business case document.  It’s like going for angel investor money.  You’ll need the support of economic buyers to move forward, so treat this as a marketing process and remember, it is your job to convince management if there’s a serious risk at hand, not IT’s.

Meeting today with a group of entrepreneurs – some key points from this discussion group:

1. Most people charge too little…that’s right!  Your client gives you the sob story about how they can’t afford it.  In fact there’s a value disconnect and a natural tendency to want a discount.  Hold your ground, you can’t afford not to.

2. Wrong metrics.  People tend to watch the wrong metrics or none at all.  What are you watching?  If you’re in sales, forget about trying to equate number of calls leading to number of meetings etc.  Improve you ability to communicate value, reduce the number of calls, and increase close ratios.  The number you really need to watch is GP per deal, profit per project, and close ratios with an eye toward improvement.

3. Not every client is worth having.  Some clients suck the life out of you.  They will take up tons of time, nickel and dime you, and only buy on their terms.  They don’t value your expertise and are wasting your time.  Tell your story, look for synergy, and conduct business.  If not, move on.

4. Make sure you are working on your mission.  Deals outside of your focus waste your time.  Move on with a focus on what matters and what contributes to your business long term.

5. Deliver quality.  You can’t afford a bad reputation.

© David Stelzl, 2010

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