MSP Cold-Calling Needs a Serious Makeover

“The purpose of my call is to set up an introductory meeting with our MSP.”

“How about next Wednesday or Thursday?”

The second a prospect feels pushed, that’s when they are ready to slam the phone on you.

Unfortunately, this cold-call not only results in fewer appointments, but it also burns bridges with hundreds of great prospects.

Okay, this stinks, but who’s fault is this really?

It’s not the cold-caller’s fault.


Sure, SDRs (Sales Development Reps) make mistakes all the time and they need to handle objections better, no doubt about it.

However, the larger problem is not the caller, it’s how MSPs view cold-calling that's mostly at fault.

Remember, it’s a Long Sales Cycle…

“Our clients stick around for 5 years.”

“Our managed services retention rate is very high; most clients are over 7 years old.”

Okay, that is great! This is why the MSP business is awesome!

However, if client retention is usually excellent, then we have to also accept that sales cycles with cold prospects will usually be long.

Because we know that great prospects are not single! They are dating another provider or may even be married to a contract.

In a recent meeting with an MSP partner, we created a sales report of all the closed managed services contracts from last year and the “average days to close" turned out to be 382 days.

What does the long sales cycle have to do with cold-calling?


Resetting Cold-Call Objectives

Imagine you’re a defender on a professional soccer club in the English Premier League. On the pitch you have your goal keeper a few yards behind you and in front are 9 teammates, 11 opponents and the opposing goal 120 yards away.

Before the match, your coach looks you sternly in the eyes and issues a command:

“Steal the ball from their forwards and then send long overheard passes up to John (the striker) every time. If you do anything else, I swear, you will do sprints tomorrow. Got it?”

That’s what the grind is like for many cold-callers in MSPs. They are told to treat all prospects the same and threatened with a lower paycheck if they don’t get  appointments for their Account Executives.

But what if the coach viewed the SDR's objectives differently?

“Steal the ball and stay composed, okay? You got Tom in the right wing as an option, Sean may receive it in the middle, and worse case scenario, you tap it out of bounds. Read the game and go have fun!”

How the coach perceives the defender’s objective plays a major role in how the defender plays and in the results for the team as a whole.

Similarly, when an MSP perceives the SDR’s job the right way, the SDR will approach the cold-call differently and the results will improve as a result of that shift.


Next Steps

So look, in order to get better performance from our SDRs, we need to start giving them different options for how to handle conversations.

For example, if the prospect is unhappy in their current situation, these ought to convert into appointments for your MSP.

On the other hand, if the prospect is satisfied and not really in the buying cycle, these ought to convert into your newsletter lists.

Both outcomes are awesome because they give the SDR options and this in turn releases pressure.

Let's stop backing prospects into corners and let's stop treating SDRs like they only have one way or the highway.






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