When an MSP gets to a certain size, the owner starts thinking about how to increase sales. They talk to their friends, start reading up and usually say the same thing – you need to hire a salesperson.
Then the question becomes: what kind of salesperson do you actually need? Most owners function more on the operations side and do not know how to hire a salesperson, what they should pay them or how to supervise them. Another issue they run into is unrealistic expectations of how this person will help the company. The idea is they will hire this person, and sales will just roll in.
I want to share some ideas about who you should be looking for and, as important, who you should not be looking for as your first sales hire.
Why should you listen to me? I was the salesperson/owner of my MSP before I sold it. After selling my company, I worked as a territory account manager for a major manufacturer, carrying a two-million-plus yearly number for three years.
A major mistake when hiring your first salesperson
Many owners feel they need to hire a top-end salesperson with years of experience. The issues that arise from this are two-fold. One is that a person like this requires a very high salary – most high-end salespeople have a total cash package north of $200K. For an average MSP, this amount is not reasonable. If an owner digs deep and tries to come close to this number, the salesperson has to close a huge amount of sales, which is impossible in the MSP environment.
Why do very successful salespeople fail in your environment? Salespeople from these larger companies are used to operating in an organization that provided a high level of sales support. This support includes marketing, leads, pre-sales engineers and inside sales reps. None, or very limited versions, of these are available in the average MSP. The other issue is that the salespeople who would come to an MSP from these other jobs are not always the best or they would not leave the higher paying positions.
What kind of salesperson should an MSP hire?
Now that we have discussed who you should not hire, next consider who is the correct type of person, what should the pay be, what should you set as expectations and what support will you offer this person to be successful.
- Hire someone you can train who is good with people, not tech. If they have some tech, it is a bonus but not required.
- Figure out what you want their total compensation package to be including base and commission.
- Set up a commission plan based on your goals that will meet that number.
- Have a system in place that will produce leads.
- Set up a marketing/leads generation budget.
Hopefully, this article has given you some food for thought. You wouldn’t install a network without preplanning and setting goals for what it should look like when it is done. When setting up your sales department, even if it just one person, you still need a proper plan. Hiring a salesperson and hoping they will do a good job will not work. Hope is not a plan.