With more than 150,000 MSPs globally, winning business, retaining clients, and increasing profitability is a challenge that every MSP needs to address. There are a lot of things you can do to improve relationships with your clients and see the benefits from that reflected in your MRR (monthly recurring revenue). One of the best is cross-selling to existing clients.
It’s easier to have a selling conversation with an existing customer than finding and approaching a new lead and winning brand new business. However, an MSP should never take existing customers for granted. You must put in the work to cross-sell effectively.
Starting The Cross-Selling Conversation
Let’s be clear: Cross-selling differs from upselling—we’ll talk about that at another time—in that it is selling new services to the client, rather than replacing their existing service with a higher-tier. To make that work, you’ll need offerings that complement the client’s existing services. A great way to start the cross-selling conversation is to introduce a new service to the customer. Smart MSPs periodically create new services to offer to their existing customers that complement their core offering. This could, for example, be something that clients have been asking about but which is not in the core offering, such as email protection, vulnerability assessment, or staff security training.
For your cross-selling to succeed, what you’re offering has to benefit the customer. All businesses are going to need a good business case for taking on new expenses. For small and medium business (SMBs), they’re likely to be most conservative in their spending. But if you take the time to talk with the client and understand their concerns and discuss their pain points, you can find ways to help.
Remember, business benefits are not tech specs. They’re things like saving time, saving money, speeding up workflow, or reducing downtime. There is a time to discuss the technical details of what you’re offering, but that’s usually after you’ve determined it addresses a business need. Offer to discuss the technical details if the customer wants to. However, be aware that some SMBs want to know the nuts and bolts, others don’t. Tailor your approach and provide the level of detail that suits their interest.
Keeping The Conversation Going
Once you’re talking with the client, you’re going to have to show why what you’re cross-selling is a good business case. Draw on your knowledge. Keep it real—case studies from similar companies are a compelling selling tool. If you have clients that give a testimonial, share those. You might even want to give early-adopters a discount in exchange for a quote to use.
Another way to really make what you’re saying resonate is to find numbers that pop. This could be dollars saved per month, percentage reduction in service calls, increase in MRR, or improved client satisfaction scores. A strong number can really make your selling points stand out.
When it comes to closing the sale, consider offering a promotion or discount. Three months of the new service for free or a 10% off a bundle of services, for example. This gives the client something upfront for trying the service and you’ll make it back in MRR over the long term.
Finally, be prepared to go away empty-handed. Not every selling conversation is going to end with a signed contract. But if you’ve had a good conversation, they’ll be thinking about what you’ve said. They’ll probably discuss it with colleagues. So, if the conversation does not end in a sale, have something to leave with them—a brochure, a link to service information, or even an agreement to talk again.
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Author Josh Pederson is senior director of global product marketing at Malwarebytes. Read more Malwarebytes guest blogs here. Regularly contributed guest blogs are part of MSSP Alert’s sponsorship program.