Top-performing MSPs will share tips, strategies and best practices on squeezing more from existing professional services.

Jeff O'Heir

October 13, 2023

6 Min Read
Professional services
garagestock/Shutterstock

Professional services generate about 20% of revenue on average for most MSPs and channel partners, no matter their size. But choosing the right mix of services and investing in the talent and marketing strategies to deliver those can be difficult. Channel Futures will help MSPs, agents and other channel partners overcome those challenges and take their professional services to the next level of profitability at the upcoming Channel Futures Leadership Summit, Oct. 30-Nov. 2,, in Miami.

The conference will host two panels on Nov. 1 – “The New Professional Services: Driving Fresh Streams of Revenue and Profit While Beating the Competition,” and “Pushing the Professional Services Envelope: A Fresh Approach to Delivering the New Breed” – featuring top MSPs who have spent their careers developing and delivering professional services that have generated the highest levels of customer satisfaction, operational excellence and profitability.

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MSP Toolkit’s Len DiCostanzo

Channel veteran Len DiCostanzo, CEO of MSP Toolkit and a well-known mentor to thousands of MSPs, will moderate both sessions. DiCostanzo will use his years of experience developing successful professional services and a renowned sense of humor to deliver the tips, strategies and best practices channel partners need to squeeze more from existing professional services, create new offerings and develop the leadership skills needed to move all services toward new heights.

Get in on The New Style of Leadership. Register now for the No. 1 channel event for current and future leaders. Hear industry experts and meet with more than 150 sponsors and exhibitors serving the channel at the Channel Futures Leadership Summit, Oct. 30-Nov. 2, in Miami Beach.

Many MSPs and agents that have attended past Channel Futures and Channel Partners conferences might be familiar with DiCostanzo’s popular “MSP Mentor: Accelerate Your MSP” workshops. They include tips on creating successful business and sales plans and best financial practices, to name a few.

We asked DiCostanzo to tell us more about the two panels and some of the most important practices MSPs and other channel partners will learn from them.

Channel Futures: What are the first steps an MSP should take to decide which professional services to develop and deliver? 

Len DiCostanzo: A key first step is determining the market need for a new service: Does it meet the clients’ needs, wants and demands? When planning the sales strategy behind the service, it’s often best to start with your existing client list. While some MSPs will use new services to find new business, it’s much more cost-effective to target sales and marketing efforts to your base, compared to trying to find net new clients. 

You then need to understand the timeline to begin offering the service. Is this an urgent need to solve for clients? If it is, can you partner with a peer or a vendor to get started quickly to build your new practice?  Building a new practice requires time, money, resources and technology. It may be better to partner while you determine how to build your practice going forward. 

CFIt seems almost inconceivable that small MSPs can compete against bigger ones on services, but it’s done all the time. What’s the best advice you can give smaller MSPs on how to do that? 

LD: I have worked with many vendors and MSPs and the best way to compete is to deliver a solution that is proven to work; that is, deliver your new solution to closely held clients and gain a track record – including case studies and referrals – you can share with other clients. Most importantly, your local service delivery capabilities can …

… outweigh any big player not positioned in your market.  As you expand service delivery outside your client base, success with clients will make a huge difference in your sales process.

CF: What can MSP team leaders do to help their people develop and deliver the right services? 

LD: MSP leaders need to provide the resources their team needs to deliver services right.  What automation tools can you use to set up any hardware or software deployed in your solution? What vendor and distributor support teams do you have relationships with? Are you providing the right technical and business training to the team, or do they learn on the job?  Are you hiring “A” players who can adapt to the situation at hand?   

CF: What do leaders have to do when trying to build, drive and deliver new services that they may not have had to do in the past? 

LD: They may have to partner with a peer or a strategic vendor in their market to deliver new services. While partnering is not a new concept, it does bring in issues to contend with such as bringing in a potential competitor to your client list or a different viewpoint on guiding a client to the right solution to deliver the desired outcomes. Other factors include having to market these new services to clients and prospects, and putting together compelling assets and campaigns, especially because sales and marketing have not always been strong points for MSPs. 

CF: Does most of that advice and strategy also apply to the telco side? Do the telcos/agents have to take a different approach? 

LD: From my perspective, agents are very used to bringing in strategic partners to sell solutions to their clients. They bring in a vendor or partner who sells a solution and they earn a commission or fee from that partner.  As long as they or their technology services distributor has vetted the partner, it typically works better for agents than MSPs or other ITSPs. 

CF: Are there any new services an “average” MSP should be exploring that they may not have thought of? 

LD: This is a long list totally dependent on what individual MSPs deliver today, what the make-up of their client base is and what needs they have. Cybersecurity is certainly at the top of the list for MSPs deploying and managing infrastructure. Networking and cyber go hand-in-hand when building out a SASE solution stack. MSPs selling Microsoft 365 should be thinking about how to monetize beyond the license and consider building a collaboration practice or services around related M365 offerings like Defender or Power BI. MSPs can go far outside their comfort zone with Dynamics or other FinOps offerings. 

CF: What would you be looking at if you were running a smaller MSP today? 

LD: I would think about everything we have discussed in this piece! Do you start out with cyber and work back into the infrastructure? Do you get involved in FinOps? Or even more targeted with process and forms? Do you start traditionally and go with infrastructure and build on that? 

Want to talk to Jeff about other professional services stories? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email  or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

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About the Author(s)

Jeff O'Heir

Jeff O’Heir is a journalist and editor who has spent much of his career covering the business leaders, issues and trends that define the IT and consumer technology channels. His work in print, online and on stage has showcased, educated and connected small and large solution providers, MSPs, channel pros and vendors. During his career, Jeff has also covered engineering technologies and breakthroughs, crime, politics, food and the arts.

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