Multi-faceted approaches are required to grow an MSP business. To be a valuable partner to customers, you need to be able to focus on many areas. Tracy Pound and her guests discuss how to manage growth and meet today’s market demands. They also share best practices to help you achieve success. Multi-faceted approaches are required to grow MSPs. You must ensure that you are not only focusing on technology, but all aspects of your business to become a highly valued provider.
MSPs can face challenges as companies shift to remote workforces and manage safety restrictions and large-scale digital engagement.
Tracy Pound, founder, managing director of MaximITy Ltd., and chairwoman on CompTIA’s board, recently recorded a YouTube series in which she interviewed guests weekly to discuss how to manage growth, meet today’s market demands, and instill best practices that will help them succeed. Here are some highlights of the Pound for Pound series. All videos are available on YouTube.
Market Skills: Get Better
SMBs have not always had to market an MSP. In the past, providers were able to continue their business operations without much support. The pandemic changed the way we view technology and our business models. Many providers were sought after for services they might not have been fully equipped to provide, as a large portion of the workforce was moving to WFH. Many businesses began to look for new marketing opportunities and competitive solutions. MSPs can no longer ignore marketing, with 75% of customer journeys taking place online.
James Steele, Zen Software’s managing director, stated in one episode that salespeople are the ones who work directly with companies. “Sales requires the finesse of marketing. But marketing can’t succeed without understanding the challenges faced by customers. They must work together to create a marketing plan for your MSP.
Steele says that it is important to offer value and not sell too much when marketing your MSP. Customers will appreciate your authenticity and real content via webinars and social media channels.
Change the conversation in sales
It can be difficult to sell your MSP’s services in today’s competitive market. Fiona Challis, founder and CEO of NextGen Sales Academy, warns that MSPs must be considered business consultants rather than solely focused on technology. Challis says, “Make sure you have a framework that allows for a business conversation and not a technology conversation.” Tell your clients that we sell business outcomes, and be open and honest with them.
This can be a problem, especially for those involved in the sales process. MSPs aren’t always able to make the transition from the consulting framework to the sales process. Challis suggests that the conversation with MSPs start the process by determining these four items.
What are the key business outcomes?
What are the financial results?
What are your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)?
What are their capabilities and what are the processes they want to improve upon?
Challis stated that once you have identified these items, you can create a 12-month roadmap with phases to each outcome.
Challis offers advice on cross-selling, upselling and social selling to assist MSPs. She recommends a whitespace analysis to determine sales opportunities with clients. This involves listing the services of each client and identifying the gaps. She suggests that MSPs use social media only to educate clients and that you leave the selling to your sales team.
Communicate with the customer in his or her language
The help desk is often the first line of support for technology. However, helps desks are often criticized as being difficult and a challenge to many IT providers. What makes a good help desk a key component of MSPs? Martin Bannister, Kogo Limited’s managing director, recommends focusing on customer service. Bannister suggests that customers should understand the pain they are experiencing. “Be patient, understanding, and empathetic about the disruption it’s causing.”
A good help desk can be an extension of the business rather than a separate department. Bannister’s team holds workshops to teach the help desk how to speak customers’ languages, instead of using tech-focused vocabulary. He said that MSPs need to be proactive in order to provide value and find solutions to problems before they become a problem.
“Proactiveness is key to customer service. Your staff becomes an extension to your clients, and that’s when you can be proactive.”