Learn how to evolve into a service-based model that understands your customers’ changing tech needs
Generating consistent, recurring revenue and finding new ways to continuously provide value to customers is something that many IT providers struggle with.
Training your IT sales teams can often add to this challenge, but did you know that empowering them to sell more security services not only increases your bottom line, but also boosts customer satisfaction and retention?
In order to expand, you must have a steady flow of monthly recurring revenue, which is the lifeblood of managed service providers. To get started on the path to success, consider these tips:
Recognize what drives transformation
What is causing transformation in the IT service provider channel?
As competition and options increase in the channel, vendors are feeling the “squeeze,” creating a decline in loyalty from customers (and even staff, sales, or consultants), along with a decrease in margins. Simply put, customers have more options to choose from. And many competitors offer a diverse and evolving set of security solutions to keep their business up and running. IT trends are shifting, which adds to the challenge of growing sales and customer retention.
It’s also becoming more evident that focusing on selling hardware does not add long-term value to the business. In fact, the worldwide software market is expected to exceed $500 billion this year. Software is also at the heart of 3rd platform technologies like cloud and analytics, which, along with mobility and social media, are driving the majority of IT spending.
So how can you grow your business in this ever-changing atmosphere?
Technology is evolving – are you?
Technology as a service
More than ever, companies are seeing the value of investing in IT. As digital business systems move forward, IT will be what binds the business together. In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT), where everything is connected digitally, the goal is to make our lives simpler and faster. As such, technology has tremendous potential and will not only boost a company’s productivity, but also drive innovation.
By the end of last year, worldwide IT spending was estimated to be around $3.73 trillion, and is expected to grow 3.7% this year. Not to mention, 44% of businesses plan to increase tech spend in 2020, up from 38% in 2019.
More connected devices
This year there are estimated to be over 20 billion connected devices with IoT hardware, with spending reaching almost $3 trillion. As devices connect to the internet and new apps make it easier to share information from these devices, networks’ attack surfaces expand. Security teams now have the responsibility of keeping every device and application safe.
This introduces an opportunity for providers, as more connected devices means an increased need for management and protection. The IoT market is seeing substantial growth rates and attracting a notable amount of investments. Almost $100 billion is moving to IoT markets annually, and revenue for IoT companies is estimated to exceed $450 billion.
Moving to the cloud
Traditional business operations have been moving to the cloud for several years. From sales operations to company-wide communications, internet-connected platforms and software have taken over and improved efficiency tremendously. The industry still has room to grow too, with the worldwide public cloud services market forecasted to grow 17% this year to total $266.4 billion, up from $227.8 billion in 2019.
Hybrid cloud environments, an integrated mix of on-premises, private cloud, and public cloud services, are now the standard. In fact, 90% of organizations have some sort of hybrid infrastructure.
If you aren’t constantly aligning yourself with industry trends, it’s easy to grow obsolete.
With technology evolving, customers are also seeking a greater integration of products, services, and solutions that tie everything together. To remain competitive, distributors, vendors, and partners must have end-to-end solutions, with deep capabilities across the computing continuum to manage this complex ecosystem and deliver the business outcomes that customers need.
Offer a unique value proposition
Complexity = Opportunity
With all of the data created by connected devices at the edge and in on-prem, public, and hybrid environments, it’s clear that the way data is gathered, processed, stored, utilized, and secured has become far more complex. A fundamental challenge is unfolding: How do you manage, share, protect, and make that data secure, while interpreting it in a way that’s useful?
This complexity creates an opportunity for IT service providers because these market trends show that to meet the needs of your customers in the future, you must have an end-to-end portfolio of products and services, and the expertise to drive real business outcomes. Service providers are no longer thriving in the break-fix world, but seeing long-term success by taking the role of trusted, experienced advisors.
Know your customers
To truly comprehend your customers’ perception of value, you must walk a day in their shoes.
Do you really understand how your business customers buy? Buyers know what they want, and most of their journey is now done digitally – and that path is not linear or straightforward. They share information, obtain peer recommendations – and research, research, research. Today’s customers don’t need sales reps in the same way they used to; they now wait until they are mostly through the purchase process before contacting sales. Buyers do their own research and set their own purchase criteria, all before the first seller interaction.
In order to align with your buyer’s journey, you must adapt your sales process. Customers want advice, case studies, and relevant content, not a sales pitch! Prospects want value, insights, and information that they can’t get online.
Organize your sales and marketing processes around your customers’ behaviors, not your sales activities. Have multiple engagement methods tailored to your buyers. After all, customers only come to you when they are serious about buying! Be prepared and be online where your customers are.
Change your mindset
You are not in the business of selling products – you are in the business of selling change.
In order to reach your customers, you need to change the way you think about sales. In fact, you can no longer sell on the basis of product or price. Selling solutions and business outcomes instead of products can lead to higher win rates. A value proposition encapsulates the results that customers can achieve when you work together.
Think of yourself as a trusted business advisor, instead of a sales person. Rather than treating sales as a traditional model that should be implemented as a step-by-step process, regard it as a fluid evolution of different moving parts, changing as you gain more information about your customers’ business and desired outcomes.
As Amanda Holmes, CEO of Chet Holmes International, says: “When you come from a place of service with your prospect’s best interest in mind, your whole business improves. Your customers become raving fans, they walk around like billboards bringing you business, and they stick with you forever. Ultimately, it’s about serving, not selling.”
Want to learn more about taking your business sales to all new heights?
Expert sales coaching helps you decrease the cost of reactive services so you can provide the kind of results that keep your clients coming back for more. When clients welcome additional services, you’re able to command higher prices for your solutions. In this way, you build a reputation for quality service, which positively impacts your potential for leads and sales.
For a limited time, we’re offering FREE training modules (usually $700 per user) for current and new Avast Business partners. Your team will be able to use this training to develop new sales skills, increase close rates by up to 3-4 times, and drive more consistent and predictable growth. This sales training is designed for resellers/VARs, MSPs, MSSPs, and vendor and distribution sales teams. Your team will benefit from the actionable insights and specific sales examples, to become more successful, and increase recurring revenue.