Five Factors to Consider in Managed Services Partnerships
MSPs need partnerships to deliver their services. Partners help your business round out offerings with services such as security, CRM, and data backup and recovery. But, whenever selecting a partner–be it a cloud services provider, large technology vendor or another MSP–you’ll want to conduct due diligence to avoid any potential conflicts.
You should have clear goals in mind whenever entering a partnership, and make sure your partner understands those goals. If you own the customer relationship, set clear rules of engagement for any partner services that touch the customer. For instance, in the event of a service outage, who’s responsible for indemnifying the customer if it comes to that?
Other factors come into play when choosing partners. Here are five important ones to consider:
1. Reliable Technology
This one is a given. If the technology doesn’t work as promised, it will frustrate your customers and possibly jeopardize some accounts. With that in mind, be sure to test your potential partner’s technology and consult with other MSPs that use it. The more information you gather about a tool, platform or service before signing a partner contract, the more likely you are to make a good decision.
2. Easy Integration
As an MSP, you most likely use at least one RMM (remote monitoring and management) platform and perhaps a PSA (professional services automation) platform, as well. RMM platforms offer more and more functionality these days, but you still may want to add services your platform doesn’t have. So in choosing the services and platforms to serve your customers, make sure they offer the compatibility and integration you require. You want to avoid wrestling with integration issues that take you away from other tasks and potentially interrupt service.
3. Alignment of Goals
As an MSP, you should aim for as high a profit margin as possible without making your services cost-prohibitive. Partners that care only about adding more customers without providing enough margin are best avoided. Your partners should share with you the common goals of running a profitable business with healthy growth potential. If they don’t, you’re bound to end up with irreconcilable differences.
4. Partner Support
Reliable partner pre- and post-sales support is key. If any issues with your partner’s technology come up, you need prompt access to a support organization that can help you solve the problem to the customer’s satisfaction. As a partnership requirement, this one surpasses even how good the technology is. Partners can have the best technology in the world, but if they can’t support you when you need them to, it won’t matter how good their technology is.
5. Ongoing Communication
Ongoing communication with your partners is just as important as staying in touch with the customers. You want to stay abreast of upcoming releases, new features and functions so you can prepare for the changes. By the same token, it’s important to provide feedback to your partners to help them refine their technology offerings and support infrastructure.
Partnerships always involve some measure of risk, but if you take these considerations into account, you’re more likely to have good partners. And you’ll be a better partner, as well.
Marvin Blough is StorageCraft’s Vice President of Worldwide Sales where his focus is on expanding the company’s global reach by establishing channel partnerships that enhance the profitability for the channel partner.