Ryan Walsh, Senior Vice President of Partner Solutions at Pax8, a Denver-based MSP software vendor, shares three suggestions he’d apply if he were launching an MSP from scratch today:
1. Build recurring revenue through cloud services – If I had a choice of a hybrid, or some on-prem and cloud-based services, I would be a born-in-the-cloud MSP. Because mostly recurring revenues are the most powerful force on the planet, and with Gartner saying that a trillion dollars will shift to it by 2020, I would be cloud-first. Because that is definitely where the puck is moving to.
This may sound obvious. But as part of the advice for this, I want to say that to do it effectively, I would focus on knowing and lowering my customer acqusition costs and I would implement internal processes that can take a subscription from quote to cash. I don't think it's good enough to just say, "Go to the cloud." I think you have to go down another level. To do that effectively, you really have to look at your internal processes and you have to speak the language of customer acquisition cost.
2. Own a niche – You have to be one or two in whatever that niche is. By niche, that could mean, a vertical industry – healthcare, manufacturing, we've even come across something as specific as healthclubs focusing on yoga. Whatever it is in a vertical industry, own it.
It could also be geography. We deal with a lot of partners who have a geographic focus. So, if you're going to be in a tier-2 city, or you're in Colorado Springs, own that niche. If someone's looking for services, focus on being a number one or two on a short list.
A third niche could be a technology itself. That could be your focus on Microsoft products, workspace as a service, or migrations to the cloud. Be known for that.
It could be a blend of all three if you really want to win. You really have to look at it in terms of who your in-customer is that you're serving, knowing them very well, and being the best.
Go with what you know and what your expertise is. Don't deviate too much from that. Because that's really going to set you behind, if you start something. Start from a position of strength, whatever it may be.
3. Sell solutions not technology – Even if you focus on a technology, today's buyer is having a business conversation. Focus on having and being good at having a business conversation, and specifically focusing on business outcomes.
Iinstead of saying, "I can migrate you to the cloud," you need to supplement that language with, "I am removing costs and headache," "I'm freeing up employees to focus on what's core to the business," "I'm increasing reliability because of my expertise," rather than just, "I'm giving you this technology," "I'm performing this function."
That language, focusing on solutions and business outcomes, I would encorporate that into my MSP messaging. IWhen you message it, you're being very clear about the outcomes that result from working with someone of that focus.
Editor’s note: Comments are edited to improve readability.
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