Blog | April 27, 2016

From ASCII Milwaukee: MSPs Can "Hack" Prospects, Grow Sales

jim roddy

By Jim Roddy, VP of Marketing, RSPA

ASCII President Jerry Koutavas kicked off the ASCII Success Summit in Milwaukee today instructing nearly 100 MSPs (managed services providers) how to “hack” their prospects. No, no, no – he didn’t encourage attendees to break into someone else's computer network.

Instead, Koutavas shared best practices on how to effectively research prospects before making an initial outreach to them during his talk titled “Opportunity Hacking: How to find new business through set process.”

“This is all about digging at information on the internet to get a sale,” Koutavas said. “This information gives you an idea on how to make the approach. These are small little things, but they do matter. They help you make a connection.”

Koutavas said that too many MSPs rely on “surface opportunities” such as ice cold calls, stumbling into opportunities, and an over-reliance on referrals. “You don’t want to rely on these to build a pipeline,” Koutavas said. “If a salesperson relies on these, you want to get a new salesperson.”

Koutavas recommended “subsurface opportunities” which are obtained through online research and profiling before making a connection. “You have to learn as much about them as possible,” Koutavas said. “Figure out a way to make that connection.”

The following are some of Koutavas’ top tips for researching prospective clients:

  • LinkedIn has advanced search capabilities that can help solutions providers find target prospects. VARs can search prospective clients based on market/industry, zip code, employee size, and more.
  • Koutavas recommended that MSPs always search anonymously. “If you view his profile and then call him the next day, he’ll know it’s a sales call,” he said. “You don’t want to do that. You’re trying to get a connection in the smoothest possible way.”
  • Scour the company’s website for key information that will help you match your solution with the prospect. On the careers page, you can learn if the company is in growth mode. A page about the team gives you an idea how many employees they have in their office. And by reviewing testimonials you can better understand the typical client base.
  • Koutavas recommended utilizing the website which is essentially an engine that digs into the website of the company you’re searching and details what technology they are using in the background of their website.
  • We all conduct Google searches, but we could dig deeper. Koutavas recommended searching the prospective client’s name along with the extensions “.ppt” and “.pdf” which  will help you find articles that reference your client.
  • Facebook profiles, even those that are light on information, can offer insights through interests, pictures, and posts. “I can see what’s he’s about,” Koutavas said. “You can see their hobbies and what they focus on. Are they more family-oriented or business-oriented?”
  • Koutavas also recommended using the website to obtain a prospect’s email address. The website says its tool uses publicly available data to connect and validate email addresses on over 1.5 billion social media accounts.

The ASCII Success Summit – Milwaukee is being held April 27-28 at the Crowne Plaza Milwaukee Airport. It is one of nine solution provider-focused conferences ASCII will host in North America in 2016. For more information on ASCII, go to