The DNA Aware Sales (and Marketing) process

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    Whether you’re selling or marketing, remember that you must build trust and relevance for someone to buy.

    The process of building trust is very akin to dating, especially at the SMB level. (It’s like dating with enterprise clients, too, but the rules are slightly different. Here, I’m focusing on most B2B sales for most MSPs, which are small and medium-sized businesses).

    This is the process part. You must take prospects step-by-step through the process of getting to know and trust you. The good news is that since this is dating, the steps to build that trust and relevance are well-defined. They are built into our DNA.

    Step 1: “Hello,” A prospect becomes aware of you.

    Nobody can buy from someone if they don’t know the seller exists. If this isn’t obvious, well, I don’t know what to do about that.

    This can be the most significant challenge if you are unknown, whether because you are new or simply haven’t promoted yourself.

    Making people aware of you requires some sort of content and outreach. The purely manual way of doing this is cold calling: you get people on the phone and explain to them who you are. The purely automated way of doing this is an advertisement.

    When you start, this is likely a lot of manual work, and you will need to build on warm contacts that you already have.


    Call this awareness.

    Step 2: “How are you,” you start a conversation.

    A conversation is how the buyer expresses interest, and the seller shows what they can do.

    This conversation can continue for a long time – it involves your prospect considering your content and getting to know you. Content can mean blog posts or published papers. But it can also mean talking.

    The point is that you move beyond hello and into sharing information.

    Once the prospect becomes aware, what’s next? This step is content-driven: you share content that addresses their problem, pain, and needs.

    Note: you do NOT share content about what you do yet. They don’t care.

    Content can be a conversation, a blog post, a report, a video, stories, or anything that talks about their problems and how they can address them.

    Call this Engagement.  

    Step 3: “That’s cool,” they want to learn more and you follow up

    To progress this to a sale (or purchase), the buyer must give the seller their contact information with the expectation that the seller will follow up.

    Digitally, you might offer a lead magnet, but you can’t until you know what your target market wants. So, this could also be exchanging business cards or an agreement that you’ll follow up.

    “The fortune,” as the great luminary Joe Rojas says, “is in the follow-up.”

    While up to 3% of your target market is interested in buying now, only 30% will never buy. That means that 67% of your sales are in follow-up.

    To follow up, you must get your prospect’s contact information and have a way to follow up. 

    This is not the same thing as collecting contact information in awareness: they expect you to follow up at this point.

    Having a way to nurture your contacts is crucial at this stage

    This is the first place to automate: MSP email marketing is crucial to your follow-up, engagement, and sales. There is a ton available on nurture in marketing, but I like this post on the importance of nurture because it’s got numbers. Numbers are always good.

    Anyway, your process should go beyond email to include other touchpoints, but you can automate many of these using your CRM.


    • Exchange contact information in person.
    • Have them agree to another meeting.
    • Have them agree to receive some information in the mail/email.
    • Add them to a long-term nurture/keep-in-touch email queue.
    • BAMFAM: Book a meeting from a meeting.
    • Later, you will get their contact details from a form on your website.

    Call this subscription.

    Step 4: “Here’s what it’s like,” the prospect gets a taste of the magic.

    This is where your prospect sees what you do and how. They know how this could apply to them.

    Maybe this is your proposal or a sample of your work. In this stage, the prospect is actively involved and figuring out what they want to do.

    In this step, you show them the value of your offering. 

    One way to do this is to have your prospect agree to a pitch or sales conversation in which you talk about their problem first, the solution second, and your offer third.

    Or you find a way to give them a piece of your total package: this could be an assessment or an analysis that they would find helpful; we call this an entry point offer.

    You need an entry-point offer here: something you can invite people to that doesn’t cost as much as your full offer (and can be free). Your entry-point offer should provide a ridiculous amount of value for a low price. Your objective is not to make money here but instead to show your capabilities and inspire them to want more.


    • Use the PASTA framework to design your pitch. 
    • Create an entry point offer by splintering a piece of your core offer and delivering it.
    MSP marketing and sales shows the pasta framework: Problem, accentuate the problem, solution,transformation, amazing offer.

    Call this conversion.

    Step 5: “Oh, I get it.” The prospect sees how working with you changes their life.

    In step 4, you set up or engineer an ah-ha moment. You inspire them to want more.

    When you demonstrate value, you want them to get it. They should see what’s in it for them and why they can’t live without what you offer.

    Your demonstration of value, either your pitch or your entry point offer, should prompt them to get it, so plan this.

    To do this, focus on the transformation and the opportunity. Show them what life will be like working with you.

    Call this the Ah-ha moment.

    Step 6: “I want it,” The prospect buys your complete offer.

    Finally, the prospect becomes a full client, and your emphasis shifts from the sales process to delivery.

    Crucial in this step are exceptional onboarding, stellar delivery, and regular strategic business reviews. SBRs are an essential part of your sales and marketing strategy because they are how you build on your amazing delivery to increase the services you deliver to your clients (and encourage them to give you referrals).

    Then, your sales and marketing shifts to adding value and expanding your offering. Sales don’t stop, but they become easier because they know you, trust you and know you deliver outstanding results.

    Your Strategic Business Reviews become your core sales process for up- and cross-selling.

    Call this Ascension.

    Steps 7 & 8 Testimonials and referrals

    I’m lumping these two together because our emphasis in this post is on how to bring more clients into your business. But once they are happy, ask for a testimonial and also a referral. Testimonials become a crucial part of your social proof and allow you to continue to sell more and more easily.

    Looking for some actions you can take now to start marketing your MSP? Check out these 5 simple, immediately implementable MSP Marketing Ideas.

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