MSPs can use best practices to grow: Tune up specialties, leverage partners, train and nurture current staff.

Paul Hager

July 20, 2023

4 Min Read
Professional services


Paul Hager

In the competitive landscape of managed service providers, finding ways to grow your business and maximize existing resources is crucial. The challenge is many partners don’t have, make, or take the time to reflect on their existing customer database and the areas of growth and specialization they already have at their fingertips.

By understanding the main factors influencing (or hindering) success, channel partners can go from a small and scrappy startup to a streamlined enterprise-caliber operation able to scale strategically, adequately and profitably.

MSP Best Practices

Here are a few best practices MSPs can leverage with minimal risk and maximum gain:

Leverage existing customers. One of the most valuable assets for MSPs is their existing customer base. Channel partners can unlock significant growth opportunities by providing exceptional service and building solid relationships. Engaging with customers regularly, understanding their evolving needs, and offering tailored solutions can lead to upselling, cross-selling and referrals. Cultivating customer loyalty pays dividends in the long run.

Focus on high-revenue accounts. Analyze existing customer data to identify accounts that generate the highest revenue for your business. Consider contract value, purchase frequency and average transaction size. By understanding which accounts contribute significantly to revenue, MSPs can prioritize their sales efforts accordingly.

Focus on areas of specialty. Become an expert in your niche by specializing in specific IT service areas. This focus allows MSPs to differentiate themselves and attract clients seeking particular expertise. It can also help them develop deep knowledge, hone their skills, and deliver exceptional value to clients. However, balancing specialization and staying versatile enough to address broader market demands and shifts is essential.

Develop and nurture existing talent. With the IT talent shortage, your current IT team is and remains one of your most valuable assets. Invest in their development and provide opportunities for training and certification. Encourage cross-training to broaden their skill set and create a more versatile workforce. Foster a positive work environment — promoting diversity, innovation and collaboration. Retaining skilled IT professionals will ensure business continuity and enable your business to offer clients a broader range of services.

Leverage your IT stack. Start by thoroughly assessing your offerings, including hardware, software, networks and support. Identify areas where you can make improvements to enhance efficiency and scalability. Consider implementing automation and virtualization techniques, consolidating servers and optimizing storage solutions to maximize use of your existing IT resources.

Expand service offerings. Identify additional IT needs or pain points your clients may have and develop new service lines to address them. Conduct market research to identify emerging trends and technologies that align with your expertise and can be effectively delivered to your customers. In addition, add products and services to your stack that provide monthly recurring revenue (MRR). By diversifying your service portfolio, you can capture new market segments and increase revenue streams.

Nurture strategic partnerships. Strategic partnerships with other IT service providers, vendors or complementary businesses can provide tremendous growth opportunities for MSPs. And don’t underestimate, or undervalue what your distribution partner and fellow peer-to-peer partner community members bring to the table, especially when you ask them directly — “How can we grow together?”

Encourage collaboration and knowledge sharing between your organization and your partners. Share industry insights, best practices and emerging trends. Engage in joint projects or initiatives that leverage each other’s strengths and resources. Demonstrate your commitment to the partnership by going above and beyond and contributing to your partners’ success.

Leverage Growth Opportunities

Whether you’re just starting or have an established MSP business, there are plenty of growth opportunities already within your organization that you can leverage and expand upon.

Remain focused on existing customers and partners, optimize your tech stack and nurture your human resources. Be ready to abandon tactics, processes and tools that aren’t working. Stacking IT in your favor requires a strategic and holistic approach, adaptability, accountability and staying attuned to the ever-evolving IT landscape.

Paul Hager is vice president of services at Ingram Micro. He previously was director of solutions at Elevity, CEO at Information Technology Professionals and CTO at VoVision, a hosted voice-to-text system. He earned a law degree at the University of Wisconsin. You may follow him on LinkedIn or @IngramMicroInc on Twitter.

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