Why Flexibility May Be Your Biggest AdvantageWhy Flexibility May Be Your Biggest Advantage
As an MSP and trusted advisor, you’re better positioned to meet the needs of SMBs because you can be flexible. You can deliver a more customizable and still cost-effective approach to IT services that takes into account a customer’s wants, needs, challenges and goals.
May 31, 2014
By N-able Guest Blog 2
Without question, delivering an exceptional customer experience is critical to any MSP’s success. It’s what differentiates the good from the great. But one of the biggest competitive advantages an MSP has is one you don’t hear about very often – Flexibility.
As an MSP, you determine the rules of engagement. If your customer wants you to manage all the tablets and desktops, but steer clear of personal smart phones – you can do that. It may not be what you’d recommend, but your model can accommodate and make it happen. That’s a point of value big services companies, copier dealers and many master MSPs cannot, or will not, deliver. They come in with cookie cutter service level agreements in order to scale and that’s where the deal ends in many cases. MSPs, on the other hand, can establish a baseline offering and build from there. It’s a great model that simply can’t be replicated by the big guns and should be at the forefront of an MSP’s value prop.
SMBs have unique needs
Another huge advantage that plays in favor of the MSP is the fact that small and midsize businesses are not all the same. Sure there are some similarities, but unless you’re looking at a highly specialized vertical, each SMB will have a unique ask. What’s more is that SMBs tend to require a little more hand-holding and guidance when it comes to IT services, solutions and brands. They don’t know what they don’t know and need a trusted advisor that has their best interest at heart and sees the reality of how IT can make or break their business. They don’t want an automated system or a do-it-yourself tutorial. They want a live and knowledgeable person on the other end who can beam in or drive in, and fix the problem now… not within 24 to 48 hours from now.
Flexibility can mean value
As an MSP and trusted advisor, you’re better positioned to meet the needs of SMBs because you can be flexible. You can deliver a more customizable and still cost-effective approach to IT services that takes into account a customer’s wants, needs, challenges and goals. You bring choice, flexibility and value that goes beyond keeping their IT environment up, running and secure for a set fee. To you it’s not just business, it’s a relationship. You take pride in owning the customer relationship, and want to ensure the customer experience is not only turnkey, but white glove. It’s not just about the technology. It’s about helping the business grow and making sure your customers don’t fall victim to technologies, predators and glitches.
Being the Virtual CIO
The role of the MSP is changing from technologist to strategist. Many of you are fast becoming the virtual CIO, or are sitting shotgun with the business owner. Your role is to come up with a service plan that is flexible and secure, yet checks all the boxes and accounts for growth. Although the IT services industry is commoditizing as a result of increased competition and irrational pricing behavior, the needs of the customer are becoming far more customized, which again, presents a problem for larger IT service companies and a great opportunity for flexible, business-minded MSPs who aren’t interested in recurring revenue alone. A successful MSP is focused on the long-term opportunity of growing its business with clients and uncovering the right prospects, not just any prospects.
Remember, in the SMB market, people buy from people. It’s a defining moment for a small or midsize business owner when another business owner sincerely looks them in the eye and says “we will take care of your business.” No large service provider can replicate that, which why the channel is best suited to meet the IT needs of the SMB market.
Mike Cullen is vice president of worldwide sales and business strategy for N-able by SolarWinds. He brings over 20 years of corporate sales experience to his MSP customers, and has assembled an equally experienced sales force. Prior to joining N-able, Mike was vice president of sales (Ottawa Branch) and interim president of the Québec region for IKON Office Solutions. He grew the Ottawa business to $24 million in just five years, resulting in the Ottawa office’s recognition as the branch office of the year in 2000. Mike joined IKON in 1995 as a result of an acquisition of Fulline Office Products, an office equipment company Mike co-founded in 1988.
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