Impact Questions – Evaluating Managed IT Services Prospects

managed services sales

Managed Services Sales Qualifying Questions

Not every lead is a good fit for Managed IT Services – no matter how strongly a managed services sales person believes they are (or wants them to be). Buyers don’t buy just because they have identified a serious need, an impending deadline, or money to shell off their pockets. Yes, you got it right. A managed services sales is not just decided on the potential IT budget the client is willing to spend. They buy because of a combination of all of these factors, and more – the big driver being “How effectively does our offered solution solve client’s business pains.” We at DEV IT ask the above question repeatedly to ourselves. If you’ve flexed your muscles in business development for a while, you would have probably come across IBM’s BANT opportunity identification criteria method. According to BANT, an opportunity is considered validated if the prospect meets three of four of the BANT items. BANT stands for:

Budget = What is the prospect’s budget?
Authority = Does the prospect have decision-making authority, or is he/she an influencer?
Need = What is the prospect’s business need?
Time frame = In what time frame will the prospect be implementing a solution?

Strong and successful managed services sales professionals use qualifier questions to help prospects better understand their challenges, needs, budget spare and decision approach process thus ensuring clients gain value from the prospecting process. So how do you go about prospecting?

Here are 30 client discovery and probing questions that I ask my managed services sales team to use to qualify potential managed IT services prospect. What about you? What are your favorite customer probes?

managed services sales tips

Tip: The best managed services sales professionals spend more time listening to clients than talking. Ask the right questions to get the right answers.

  1. What portion of IT have you outsourced before? (mail services, infrastructure management, customer support, etc.)
  2. How has the experience been (good, bad and ugly) with Managed Services Providers?
  3. Which is the most important criteria that you consider for a successful business relationship with an MSP (experience, skills, costs, support quality, ease of doing business, service delivery features etc.)
  4. Which are the applications that can’t go dark in your business (apps you run your business on, that help you make or save money)?
  5. If you could get away with managing one application, what would it be?
  6. How are you notified when systems go down?
  7. Has the boss or IT users within your organization ever called you about an outage before you knew about it? What and when was the last outage?
  8. How do you proactively monitor your IT infrastructure? Do you have an access to your IT assets performance dashboards?
  9. How adversely does downtime affect your business?
  10. What is your highest IT cost that is currently delivering the least value?
  11. What according to you is a high IT priority but never seems to get addressed in your organization?
  12. How often do you apply security patches and system updates?
  13. What measures are in place in case for recovery in the event of a disaster (natural or man-made) striking your business? How often is the backup performed?
  14. Are you into customer service? Does your help desk run 24X7X365?
  15. Who/which department supports IT? Who/which department always complains about IT? Does the business leadership team see IT as a value enabler?
  16. Who is involved in your IT decision process? Who approves the budget?
  17. Are you getting pressure from senior management to move to the cloud? Can you tell “Cloud Hype” from “Cloud Reality”?
  18. What types of devices do your employees bring to work? (smartphones, tablets)? Do you support those devices on your network? What measures are in place to ensure those devices properly access your network?
  19. What is the current size of your internal IT team? Are they multi-technology proficient?
  20. How many times have you been called after business hours in the last quarter?
  21. Are you hiring or firing IT staff right now?
  22. Is your IT team able to plan ahead at finding solutions to your strategic and critical business needs or is always busy resolving day-to-day issues that might arise?
  23. Can you or your IT team enjoy a holiday without worrying about IT?
  24. Are you stretching your team past their capacity? Worse… have you lost your best engineer due to that?
  25. Do you have to ask your MSP to advise on improvements needed in your infrastructure performance, or is your managed service provider proactively offering them to you?
  26. What projects are you not able to cater to OR might want to cater to in near future?
  27. How strategically important are they for your organization? Are they revenue driving?
  28. Does your current IT plan align with your business plan? (growth, customer service, etc.)
  29. When was the last time you reviewed your service level agreements?
  30. How can we assist?

If you had to evaluate a prospect for managed IT services by a single question, I would recommend qualifying the opportunity with question #1 “What portion of IT have you outsourced before?” The best prospects have seen the good, bad and ugly of MSPs. They know exactly what they need and don’t. My previous blog talks about Managed Services Provider Evaluation Checklist that helps prospects in making better decisions regarding their choice of an MSP.

Download the Managed Services Sales Qualifying Questions PDF

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Zenul Jinwala

Marketing Strategist at Dev Information Technology Ltd.
I am passionate, a dynamic thinker and team player responsible for planning, developing, managing and executing marketing strategies to enhance the brand value for DEV IT.

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