Let’s face it: The pace of business today is super-fast, and at times the only constant seems to be change. In this accelerated environment, it can be easy for MSPs to overlook their IT vendors — both the ones they use to operate their businesses more efficiently (e.g., PSA and RMM vendors), as well as the vendors behind the solutions they sell to customers (e.g., BDR and security). Each of these companies likely offers value well beyond the products they make, and taking the time to leverage this value can serve your business well. Here are five specific IT vendor value-adds that often are underutilized by MSPs:
- Free Business Assessment/Consulting. Your vendor likely works with many companies similar to yours, and if it’s been around awhile and has a strong channel focus, you can be sure it’s gained plenty of insights about what its top partners are doing that your company might be missing. Your vendor has a number of good reasons for gathering this information, and one is to share it with you. After all, the stronger your company becomes, the better positioned you are to continue doing business with them. Meet with your vendor and find out if they’d be willing to evaluate your company and offer feedback on a few key areas you could improve. For example, your vendor may be able to let you know that your peers and competitors are consistently charging higher prices and achieving larger margins than you might be, or that they’re having success in a vertical market that you may want to explore. You may be surprised at what you find out.
- Sales and Technical Training. In today’s app-driven economy, we’ve become accustomed to intuitive apps that we can learn on our own. But, business apps are usually more complicated and come with a lot more features. Instead of settling for using only a fraction of an app’s potential, find out what kind of training your vendor offers so your sales team and technicians can shorten their learning curve and take advantage of the full functionality of the solutions you have invested in. Many vendors offer free training, and, even if there’s a small fee, it will be money well spent.
- Sales and Marketing Collateral. As an MSP, you can easily appreciate the value of security and backup technologies, but conveying that information to a prospect isn’t always as easy. Rather than trying to create collateral from scratch, contact your vendors for assistance. There’s a good chance they’ve already done most of the legwork for you and can provide you with rebrandable sales and marketing collateral, similar to what we offer our partners at Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda through our Partner Toolkit. Also, ask vendors for success stories that highlight how their product/solution solves a particular business challenge that will resonate with your prospects and existing customers.
- Marketing Assistance. Besides assisting your company with collateral, many vendors will provide market development funds to help you get that information out to prospective customers — whether it’s through email blasts or newsletters, direct mail, or even in person at a lunch-and-learn, for instance. Market development funding is another way a vendor can complement your marketing efforts, so do your homework and find out what’s available from each of your vendors in terms of MDF and what the approval process is.
- Professional Services. Once your staff nears capacity for the number of customers it can manage, you might think your only option is to hire another tech support person before you can close more deals. However, you may want to reach out to your IT vendors and inquire about their support and service offering. For example, they may be able to provide services that position them as an extension of your workforce and handle all level-1 help desk support, which can free up your staff members and allow them to focus on more strategic — and profitable — activities.
You already know what an important role your IT vendors play in operating your business and serving your customers. Don’t forget that their success is closely linked to your success. The closer you work with them and can leverage their resources, the more it will benefit you both.
Lindsay Faria is a seasoned marketing professional with more than 13 years of experience managing marketing programs for growing, cutting-edge technology companies. She currently leads the Partner Marketing efforts at Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, where her team is dedicated to providing tools, resources and content that enables Intronis customers to be more successful and ultimately grow their businesses. Additionally, she is responsible for promoting adoption of the company’s growing solution portfolio among Partners, empowering them to streamline their operations and provide more comprehensive security and data protection to their customers.