Selling Inside the Box
Growing your business doesn’t always mean getting outside your comfort zone, finding new customers or breaking new ground. More often than not, there’s money to be made within your existing base and within your existing market niche. Yes, doing so may require some tweaks to your business model or an investment in a new expertise or service, but the payoff is worth it and will help you build and deliver greater business value to your clients.
Now don’t get me wrong – broadening your reach and getting outside your comfort zone is also good for business when done correctly, but the facts are, much of the growth we’re seeing within our partner base stems from MSPs earning more share with existing clients and building on their success within a particular vertical or leading with a niche technology expertise – such as managed security, VoIP or IaaS.
So the question, or questions, to consider with your business are as follows: do you support 100 percent of your clients’ IT infrastructure?; are there any technology-based services or solutions your clients need or have been asking for that you don’t deliver or provide them?; and are you providing a strategic service to your clients that ultimately helps them meet and exceed their business and customer service goals?
Whether you answer yes or no to one or all, the conclusion is the same: there’s certainly opportunity within your client base to grow your business.
Earning More Share of Wallet
The next question is always the same…how? How do you grow your share of wallet with existing clients without coming across as that sales guy who’s just looking to sell more stuff?
Here are two strategies to consider:
The first is to run a comprehensive assessment using your RMM technology to better understand the makeup and performance of your client’s complete technology infrastructure. Call it a complimentary health check — quarterly, half-yearly, annual – whatever works, but get it done.
Why? This check will show you where opportunity lies and tell you what you’re really up against by uncovering performance issues, potential failures and other concerns you may not be aware of. The results and proposed resolutions are also a great “in” with your customers to discuss needs and address where you can help them optimize the performance of their infrastructure and ultimately, their business.
The second strategy is something I call the “thin edge of the wedge.” It’s when you figure out a way to seed a managed services solution – such as managed security or managed storage – into your customer base with no risk and little-to-no cost. Not all solutions are created equally, so this approach may vary depending on who you’re partnered with.
For example, at N-able, we provide free software called Essentials that gives our partners a no-risk way to offer select managed services to new or existing clients, but many RMM providers don’t do the same. If you’re working with one of those providers, consider using any shelfware (unused licenses) you may have on hand. It’s paid for already – you might as well use it to boost customer value and your sales pipeline.
Once you’ve found your easy entry point, you can run the software as a trial, fee-for-service or just a give-back to a valued customer. Whatever route you choose, be sure to show your customer a business /performance report that details how that managed service is working so the value of the service is clear and can be easily replicated throughout the entire network or on another point solution as needed.
These two strategies aren’t radical, but they are proven to work. In the last 12 months, we’ve seen a significant jump in our partners’ share of wallet with existing customers using one or both of these two tactics to earn 100% IT coverage of their clients’ infrastructure. It’s all in the approach and your ability to demonstrate the results in a way that makes sense to your customers. Reporting is going to be critical here, so don’t skimp. Get to know the reporting functionality that your RMM provider brings to the table and if it’s anything less than stellar, start looking elsewhere.
As we move to a more connected world, your success in selling to new and existing customers will rely heavily on your ability to track and manage all of their devices, and to effectively report on the health and performance of those devices as well as the network and everything attached to it. So, get your monitoring, management and reporting tools in order, and as you move to grow your business through the balance of 2012, start inside your comfort zone, with existing customers. You may find more opportunity there than you thought possible.
Marco LaVecchia, North America Sales Manager for N-able Technologies, which develops remote monitoring and management automation solutions for MSPs and IT departments. Monthly guest blogs such as this are part of MSPmentor’s annual platinum sponsorship.