With the beginning of a new year comes high hopes of taking better steps than we did the year before. This hope is true both in our personal lives and at work. And for many MSPs, the start of a new year is the perfect time to look ahead at reaching new heights of success.
But before you start working on your plan, do some self-reflection. Take this wisdom to heart when looking back at the beginning of 2021. Those who fail to learn from history will repeat it. What were your goals for the year? What were you hoping to accomplish, and how did you fare?
If you met or exceeded your goals, congratulations! Now you need to figure out how to replicate that this year. But you can’t just ride on those coattails; you need to think about what you’d do to maintain that growth if you were to encounter a bump in the road – and let’s face it: there’s a real possibility that may happen.
If you didn’t do as well as you’d hoped, that’s okay. 2021 was a challenging year in many ways, between deadly viruses, workforce-disrupting vaccine mandates, and supply chain constraints. Lots of people are in the same boat. Acknowledging you fell short is the first step to finding ways of doing better this time around.
This honest reflection on last year isn’t the only thing you need before moving forward. You also need to make sure you have a defined offering, sales plan, and comp plan if you want to succeed. If you haven’t got any of these crucial pieces in place, CharTec’s Academy is full of resources that can guide you.
Once you have all that information in mind, try moving forward with your sales planning with these 5 steps used by Nick Points, CharTec, and ARRC Technology’s Director of Sales.
Step 1: Develop your goals
What do you want to accomplish? For many MSPs, it’s growth. But don’t just keep your goals in mind – get them down on paper so you can succeed.
Looking at your previous sales numbers can give you valuable insight into what you can do. How many sales did you make, and how many emails or prospecting calls did you make to get that number? If you don’t have these numbers, now is the time to start tracking. Make it your new year’s resolution.
Then, set a goal, and make it actionable and measurable. Nick uses the example of adding $50,000 a month in recurring revenue. If you take the average deal size for most MSPs of around $2,000 a month, that means you need to focus on roughly two deals per month – with maybe one or two extra or slightly higher – to meet that goal.
Then work backward. To get two deals every month, how many presentations do you have to do based on last year’s percentages? If your close rate is 50 percent, you’ll need to do four presentations a month. Keep working backward to calculate how many first appointments will get you those four presentations, and how many interactions you need to get that many first appointments, and so on.
Step 2: Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Make your sales plan visible to your team so they know how you are doing every step of the way. If you start the process slowly, when do you need to pick up the pace? In addition to ensuring your forecast and sales are on the same page, you need to have a training program with detailed documents and processes for the sales team, especially if you’re bringing in new salespeople. There must be clear expectations of what needs to be done at every step of the sales process so they know how they can achieve the goals you’ve set.
Nick likes to hold a sales kickoff at the start of each year with his sales teams to look at the previous year and discuss what goals to accomplish this year. Afterward, do something fun to help the team bond!
Step 3: Set quotas
Be sure your sales team knows what their quotas are and emphasize that they are only minimums for now. These are what we call “permission to play” – the minimum expected for them to keep their job. They need to align with goals, budgets, and forecasts. Make sure everyone understands that they need to push themselves to do better than last year.
What activities can they do to reach their quotas? Maybe someone is good at closing but needs help with prospecting, for example. Set individual goals for each salesperson that line up with their pain points to help them reach their quotas.
Step 4: Create a sense of ownership among your sales team
Once your team understands how they need to work on a personal level to achieve goals, you need to work on individual buy-in. One approach is having the team present vision boards of what they want to do with the commission they’ll earn by hitting their quotas. They might have vacations, new cars, or home remodels in mind. Create a board and place it on our desks beside our phones as a constant reminder of our goals.
Nick also has his team report their individual KPIs at weekly sales meetings to reinforce that sense of ownership. They are then asked to discuss what worked and what didn’t, as well as what could be improved for future presentations.
Step 5: Review and revise
Keep in mind that your sales plan isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it proposition. You can’t just write it down and then go about your business and pull it back out toward the end of the year to see how you’re doing.
Review the plan quarterly and figure out what needs to be changed while you have time to implement any changes. If there’s anything the last few years have taught us, it’s that things don’t always go according to plan. Keep in mind that sometimes you’ll need to make small changes or reset expectations. Think of it as rerouting so you can stay on the road to your destination, even if you must get there using a different path than you originally envisioned.
MSP Sales Training is just one of the training topics we offer at CharTec. We can also help you with Onboarding a new Salesperson, how to structure a 90 Day Roadmap, and how to pay your salesperson using our Commissions Calculator. Contact us for more info or register for Academy today!