If you work with or own an IT service provider, you no doubt face the never-ending challenge of finding new customers in an effort to build your business.  Since so many technology companies and service providers were founded by technical professionals, selling IT services without an actual sales department often seems impossible. Companies that exist to help other companies solve their technology challenges (as opposed to those inventing or manufacturing technology) often find themselves stuck in the mud when it comes to booking new business. After all, solving technical problems is very different from finding a potential customer and convincing them to buy. It is admittedly awkward to have a conversation that potentially ends with, “So, are you going to buy from me?”

Be honest when selling

Selling is about genuine relationships, not deception.
Image courtesy of Stochastic Geometry.

As a result, “I need a salesperson…” is a common refrain from IT service business owners.  Generating sales can be difficult, and – for those that have never done it before – uncomfortable. Many people see selling services as something better left to professional salespeople. Frankly, that is as it should be.  Sales is a profession just like being a network engineer or database administrator. Relegating it to part-time duty is a disservice to your company, since the results will likely reflect the low priority your sales efforts are being given.

The problem with that line of thinking in an IT services business is that even professional salespeople find it challenging to sell these services. Why? Because demonstrating the unique value of a service, an intangible good, means taking client feedback and forming it into a real solution. That process is far more complicated than simply illuminating the features and strengths of an item the customer can touch or demo. Furthermore, selling IT solutions and services requires far more technical expertise then a hired-gun salesperson is likely able to provide.

But what about finding a client in the first place?  IT lead generation is even more challenging then the actual sales process. Cold calling, networking, referrals…it can be a full time job just to locate the right person at the right company at the right time so you start talking about what services they might need that you can provide.  Most sales professionals across any sector will tell you the same thing: the hardest part of the sales process is finding quality prospects. If you can identify a person or company in need of what you are offering, the actual selling tends to take care of itself.

Sales funnels are not essential

Lead generation doesn’t have to be so complicated.
Image courtesy of Steven Diebold.

There are many schools of thought regarding lead generation.  Some will tell you that there is a step by step way to gain new perspective clients and customers.  Others will tell you IT lead generation is more art than science, reliant on guile and wit over a formulaic process.  There is no one right way.  What I do know is that my way, this Playbook, works for IT service businesses looking to find new clients and customers. If you follow every step laid out over the next few days in ernest, you can expect to reap the benefits of new clients and customers and the growing bottom line that accompanies such growth.  If you try this strategy half-heartedly, then you can expect mediocre – or even poor – results. I’m sure you have a lot of questions, so let’s get many of them out of the way now…

Will this strategy teach me to find new prospects for my IT services business?

No. This strategy will enable potential clients for the services you offer to more easily find you.

Will this strategy teach me to gain new prospects to whom I can sell IT services?

No. This strategy will teach you to turn prospects into paying customers without “selling” them anything.

Who will this strategy work for?

Any IT services business interested in growing its customer base.

Will I have to make cold calls as part of this strategy?

No. There is a place for cold-calls, but you likely don’t have the time for that. This strategy for IT lead generation is more time-efficient and reaches a broader audience then dialing one potential contact at a time.

What is required of me to make this strategy work?

You will need commitment, passion that your service offerings are truly valuable, and diligence. This strategy is not “fast” and won’t lead to quick sales.  It will, however, lead to the right clients finding your organization at the right time so you can start a mutually beneficial relationship.

Selling is organic

Learn to get orders and contracts without feeling like a salesman.
Image courtesy of Triad Strategies.

In this three part series, we will examine IT sales prospecting from start to finish. No, you won’t be an expert rainmaker by the end of the last installment. But you will have an excellent system that helps identify potential clients, connect with them in a non-pushy manner, and earn a place as a partner in their success, and not just a vendor. Click here to learn how Mosaic NetworX uses this strategy to develop new relationships. Otherwise, let’s get started…