There are three types of MSPs today.
There is the lifestyle MSP--the guys or gals who realize the value in recurring revenue and understand that there is margin where there is mystery. (If this is you, rock-star, you were probably one of the firsts.) These MSPs standardized their solution stack quickly, and bundled their unique value into an hourly rate that secured lucrative profits. Now they’re enjoying the fruits of their labor.
Then we have the transitionary MSP. This is the VAR + MSP who caters to anchor clients (big hardware deals that keep the lights on) while establishing what the lifestyle MSP capitalized on early. The transitionary MSP understands and believes everything that the lifestyle MSP does, and is the big target for the current merger and acquisition trend.
And last, but not least, we have the modern MSP. These are the startup MSPs just hitting the industry. Their goal is simple: make money, do little work. (Damn millennials.)
Let me just note that there is nothing wrong with any of these strategies. And, not everyone fits within this scope. However, I’ve noted each because, regardless of strategy, there is one thing in common across all three: Things are changing, and their focus is not on the end user. This may be the Achilles heel of the MSP model as whole. [Whispers] Is that an amazon.com success story I hear?
Thankfully, what I’m sharing today isn’t revolutionary. In fact, it’s something you and I practice every day as consumers. The problem is: How does this ease of consumption translate into our business world? What am I talking about? Autonomy.
We all know that the power is in the hands of the end user. (Is that Amazon I hear again?) Yes, regardless of how many value-adds you think you have, the end user drives the buying decision both from a vendor perspective and a consumption perspective. That means that we need to be empowering the end user, not just spouting our differentiators and “pick me” tactics.
So, how are you empowering your end user? Here are three real things to really think about:
- Is organic growth present within your organization? Are clients consuming product or services without any upfront sales interaction?
- How are they purchasing product / services from you? Can they purchase it online? Can they pay by credit card?
- Are the solutions you provide contributing to their bottom line? Does this help them acquire or manage more business and/or recruit new talent?
I’m certain you’ve all done an amazing job with your internal processes, but the advent of the internet and the habitual nature of instant gratification leaves all MSPs with a choice: automate or lose.
I’ll leave you with a little insider information. Many partners I’ve worked with think you have to pick: complete customer management vs. self-administration (autonomy). You don’t have to pick, but if we’re not focusing commercial consumption with our consumer habits, our value just becomes white noise around the click of a button, and you will lose.
An outspoken and passionate millennial, Brittani Von Roden, has more than 10 years of Channel experience. Brittani is the Principal and CMO of CloudPlus, a true hosted services distribution company. Known for her impressionable branding strategies, she uses her MSP/VAR experience and sales & marketing expertise to help drive higher margins and profitability for Channel Partners. Prior to CloudPlus, Brittani was the VP of Sales/Marketing for ETS, a VAR/MSP out of Cedar Rapids, IA, where she rejuvenated a 50-year-old company into an innovative, outcome-focused solution provider.
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