December can be a hectic month of vacations and celebrations, so it can be easy to assume your customers and prospects will be difficult to reach or that they’ll be slow to make a buying decision. As December comes to a close and a new year approaches, though, many small and medium-sized businesses are looking for ways to spend their remaining IT budget. This creates a big opportunity for MSPs that are ready to capitalize on it.
By being persistent about reaching out to your customers and asking the right questions, you can create a sense of urgency that could help you close more managed service business or add more services to existing contracts before the end of the year. Matt McCarthy, director of new MSP sales at Barracuda MSP, shared this advice about creating urgency in your sales cycle:
“To trigger decision-making, you need to create urgency throughout the sales process. Ask yourself: how will this product or service benefit your client? Answering this question will help you position your message to create urgency.”
4 Ways to uncover more end-of-the-year business
Before you can create a sense of urgency around end-of-the-year spending, first you need to identify customers that are worried about losing their unspent IT budget. Here are a few tactics you can use help find customers and prospects with this pain point.
1. Schedule planning calls with current customers. December is a good time to have your sales team or account managers reach out to current customers to discuss 2018 planning. The topic will naturally bring up any concerns they might have about using up remaining 2017 budget. Prepare a few suggestions for projects or services that you think would be helpful for them based on what you know about their IT environment, whether that means adding a managed security service, updating legacy systems, or migrating solutions to the cloud.
2. Run a December contest for your sales team. Motivate your sales team to pick up the phone and make more calls in December by hosting a fun contest. You could reward the team based on who makes the most dials in the month, who has the most conversations, or who uncovers the most opportunities. Pick the metric that makes sense for your team and celebrate the winner at the end of the month with a gift card or a special meal.
3. Send a “use it or lose it” email campaign. End-of-the-year spending can be a good topic for your email newsletter in December or for a targeted email campaign to perspective customers. Often, unspent funds could mean a lower IT budget in the coming year. Ask if that’s a concern, and include a clear call-to-action so it’s easy for SMBs to follow up with you.
4. Host a customer appreciation lunch. Celebrate the holiday season by thanking your customers for their loyalty by bringing them together for a special event. This could be a casual open house with coffee and donuts at your office or a formal lunch-and-learn at a local restaurant. Either way, it will give you a chance to connect with your customers face-to-face and learn about their current concerns and plans for the coming year.
Once you’ve identified which customers are concerned about using more of their IT budget, follow up and ask more questions about their underlying IT needs. This will help you create a sense of urgency and ultimately close more business before the end of the year.