How Can You Rein in a Pollyanna MSP Marketing Salesman?
Look at your MSP marketing team. What types of personalities do you see? There is probably a variety of personality types that you employ to sell your products and services. They all have their own ways of selling and they are effective in different ways.
Do you have a good idea of what is coming down their sales pipes? Some of your sales staff is going to be realistic. They are aware when a client was not interested, had other ideas, or otherwise not likely to make a deal. When you talk to these people, you can get a pretty accurate idea of the revenue their sales meetings will generate. However, there are the Pollyanna sales people.
Those overly optimistic types, who think every meeting ends in a sale. When you talk to them about their day, they are convinced that everyone will buy from them. From their perspective, every sales pitch is ending in a sale. Trying to gauge their upcoming revenue is often difficult, as they are very sure that no one could say no.
Why Forecasts Matter
Some key pieces of information are needed to make MSP business decisions. A reliable forecast is one of these critical parts. Not only do your anticipated sales drive financial decisions, but it is also needed to decide on other business issues. Staffing numbers and man-hours are all related to the amount of work that you are anticipating coming your way.
When you have an accurate idea of how much work is coming down your sales pipe, you are better equipped to make these decisions. Having overly optimistic sales representatives skews this data.
Recognizing a Pollyanna Sales Member
While they can be frustrating, the super optimistic are still going to be good members of your MSP marketing team. The first step in handling a Pollyanna sales rep is to recognize that they are overly positive. The clearest ways to see that is their sales numbers don’t line up with their expectations. This is very reactionary and leads to trouble in some cases.
Most salesmen that are overly positive have some key giveaways. In many cases, the right interview questions highlight this trait. You should have an idea, even before you hire, that a sales rep is overly positive in predicting their results. This is not a bad thing; being positive is a very good trait to have as a sales rep. Sometimes it just leaks into their perceptions of their sales meetings.
Key questions to ask are related to how they judge the success of a sales meeting, and how they think their perception lines up with the outcomes. This gives you a good idea— well before any sales are done— if they are going to be skewing your forecasts.
Accuracy of Skewed Forecasts
While many Pollyanna sales members are great sales people, you still need to have an accurate forecast. To do this, you need to implement some different measures. Rather than rely on their interpretation of a sales call, find other ways to gauge the likelihood of a sale.
A better way to gauge the success of a sales pitch is by the actions of the potential client. Your pipeline should only include business where the client moved to get an audit after the presentation. Actions mean much more than words and they are a better predictor of sales outcomes.
Some members of your MSP marketing team are going to overestimate how much they have come down your pipe. This doesn’t make them bad salesmen, but it can make doing business difficult. To combat this, look to what the prospective client does. The clients that don’t make any moves to secure your services are not likely to seek you out. Having these expectations rains in the Pollyanna salesmen, and gives you a clearer idea of what business is coming your way.
About our Contributor
Jennifer Holmes is President of MIS Solutions and a Georgia native who, after graduating from Georgia Tech, became an accomplished research virologist at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. In 2000, Jennifer hung up her lab coat to join husband Lliam at MIS Solutions as President.
In the past 16 years, she has led the MIS Solutions team to become the leaders in Metro Atlanta IT Support. MIS Solutions, Inc. is on a mission to provide managed IT services to Atlanta businesses to help them grow and support their businesses. MIS Solutions provides a wide range of IT services to Atlanta-based businesses and, combined with Jennifer’s passion for sharing effective business strategies with her clients, they are able to deliver the best business IT Support for each client’s unique environment in Atlanta.
In 2013, Jennifer’s leadership and marketing skills won her the title of Spokesperson for the nationally acclaimed Technology Marketing Toolkit, an industry group of over 550 top U.S. She is a graduate of the Leadership Gwinnett program and has acted on the boards of the National Association of Women Business Owners’ Atlanta chapter, Gwinnett Great Days of Service, the Buford/North Gwinnett Rotary Club and the Gwinnett Chamber’s Technology Board.