“Start as a means to go”—putting yourself on the path to sales success

As a new mom many years ago, I only read one parenting book. This incredible guide, written by Tracy Hogg, or the “baby whisperer,” offered tips on how to schedule your day to promote a calm and structured routine while managing a newborn. She broke down a daily schedule into four phases—eating, activity, sleeping, and you—and taught the clues that could signify when your newborn was moving through each one so you could better prepare. She designed her strategy to avoid meltdowns and chaos in the home. Initially, I admit I struggled to stick to the schedule and practices she outlined, and sometimes found it difficult to detect my daughter’s subtle cues, but I persevered. The nugget of advice, “You need to start as a means to go,” peppers her book, serving as a constant reminder to new parents that for the process to work (i.e., reaching your household goals of sleep, tranquility, etc.), you need to:

  1. Make a plan
  2. Make the decision to stick to the plan
  3. Implement the plan and trust the plan will work

In other words, “start as a means to go.”

That tiny, insightful, and effective piece of advice I read almost 13 years ago continues to be relevant in many facets of life today, especially as I become more entrenched in my role as Head Sales and Marketing Nerd at N-able. In recent and ongoing conversations with our partners about their current sales and marketing challenges, I often find myself reciting this bit of wisdom.

Net new customer acquisition continues to be the number one challenge impacting MSPs today and many discussions with partners center around how they can improve this. I’m constantly asked “How can I get more leads for my business?,” “How can I get better quality leads for my sales team?,” and “How can I close more business?” While a blog post doesn’t provide sufficient room to fully tackle these struggles, four things you can do to help put yourself on the right path for sales success are:

1. Embrace marketing

Marketing isn’t the necessary evil you may think it is. Marketing is a lifeline. If you want leads, you will need a strategy and system in place to attract more opportunities into your marketing funnel for your sales team. It is purely a numbers game, so make the decision to prioritize it within your business.

2. Understand your ideal target customer and stick to that profile

Creating an ideal client profile and committing to that baseline standard helps ensure you attract quality prospects into your sales funnel. If you succumb to the notion “any business is good business,” you will likely continue to attract subpar prospects who often turn into unprofitable clients. Quality begets quality, so be intentional with whom you choose to do business.

3. Craft a message that sets you apart from competitors

Your vision, mission, and value proposition statements are what defines and differentiates you as an organization to your ideal target market. Most businesses today have an incumbent IT services provider, so you must convey why they should choose YOU instead. Unfortunately, prospects often make snap judgements during their research phase, and these perceptions are informed by the strength of your statements as they appear on your website and other marketing outreach resources. Spend quality time working on these messages. Then, create mini focus groups comprised of employees, good customers, potential prospects, friends, and family to test your messages and assess the emotional responses they receive.    

4. Have someone who can reach out and call prospects

Despite what businesses may think today, cold calling and telemarketing are not dead, but evolved.  Telemarketing helps convert the virtual audiences cultivated by your marketing activities into real leads for your salespeople. Although leveraging social media platforms, such as LinkedIn and Twitter, are great tools to help build awareness of your organization in the marketplace, people ultimately buy from people. Having someone in your sales motion to proactively reach out and connect with prospects would greatly enhance your marketing efforts. Remember, lead generation is just a numbers game—to win more business, you need more leads flowing into your marketing funnel, and having a real person contacting your target market will improve your odds.

If you are interested in hearing more on this topic, I’ll be delivering a Boot Camp session during our virtual Empower event on June 8th called “Growing Beyond Referrals Through Marketing,” and I would love to have you join me! Click HERE to register.

In the meantime, whenever you feel stuck, just “start as a means to go.” Make a plan, and trust in that plan, but just start.

Stefanie Hammond is the head sales and marketing nerd at N-able. You can follow her on twitter at @sales_mktg_nerd.