What is the Sales Pipeline?
IT marketing generally has many different strategies that are commonly employed in converting leads into long-term customers. One that has grown in popularity due to its success is the sales pipeline. This is basically a simplification of a strategic approach. Look at it this way. You can have your sales water sent to you organically, via the hydrologic cycle, or you can get it piped to your MSP’s profit metropolis in a flow like a rushing rapid. One method of sales acquisition is less effective than the other. The sales pipeline looks at where prospects are sourced and how to get them from the reservoir of untapped clients to the cool pool of your tenured customers. Accordingly, there are several steps in this process:
• Initial Contact
IT marketing outreach shouldn’t exhaust proposals on initial contact. This makes initial contact less effective. What you want to do is allude to value. You want potential clients to see how working with you could bring their business value in the long term with your initial contact. Having a cost-savings chart of some variety can be effective, depending on your products or services. Design something which fits your MSP’s marketing objective and the needs of your prospective clients.
You’re going to get contact information from individuals who wouldn’t be good clients for your business. If you act on that information, you’re wasting time and resources. Have some qualification characteristics that you can stick to, closely. Look at the size of the client. Look at their resources. Look at their existing conditions, as best you can during an initial contact. Part of your qualification prospect will be following up on that initial contact to see what sort of potential customer you’re dealing with. That means doing research online.
After you’ve contacted and qualified your potential clients, you need to arrange a meeting to determine “the details.” This is going to be as much informational as it will be promotional. You’re looking to garner information and so is your potential client. Implement a system of giving and taking, in order to better understand what may be an ongoing relationship.
Your proposal may come at an initial meeting or you may give your prospective client some space, while your marketing team irons out an idiosyncratic proposal designed to fit clients need directly. This is usually a better option because you can take what you’ve learned in the meeting and construct concrete data around that. If your customers make X amount in a year and spend X amount on an internal server array, then your cloud computing solution can stand to save them X amount of dollars, annually, by reducing the expense of certain operations. Your salespeople should get to the point where they can size up a client and determine what sort of IT services would be best for them and how much they’re likely to save in terms of cost. This will help your MSP produce more direct central proposals.
This is the hardest and most integral component of the sales pipeline. You’ve got to convince clients in many cases to buy your products or services here. Negotiation will be involved, and you need to under-sell and oversell yourself in order for this to be most effective. Here’s what that looks like. You’ve got a suite of services at a certain price below which you won’t negotiate. You sell that suite of services with several additional offerings included and at a much higher price. Then, you allow the client to talk you down and if they don’t you get to charge them more. You can “knock off” costs for certain services anyway, as doing so will build rapport, trust, and relationship with the client.
IT marketing which is strategic in its close approaches renders smart proposals, gathers the proper information during meetings, and properly qualifies potential prospects after initial contact. All of this will yield higher ROI. Your highest return on investment comes from win-win situations, so create those for clients.