Over the past few years, I’ve had countless conversations with PacketTrap MSP customers and prospects. In most cases, the topic of conversation shifts to revenue cycle and ways to use PacketTrap MSP to better service customers. Even at industry events, MSPs spend far more time at sessions or talking to industry experts about revenue generation, rather than checking out the latest wares from vendors. Perhaps the simplest recommendation I can offer is that MSPs begin to shift away from the traditional ‘Break/Fix’ model to a professional services model of billing and service delivery.
Let’s look at the process by which a customer contacts an MSP. Most of our MSP customers are working with small- to mid-sized businesses that have limited on-staff IT resources. Beyond initial projects to set up networks, add new users or manage implementations of new hardware or software, you only get a call when something breaks. Assuming you receive the call in a timely manner and actually have a technician available to service the customer, at best you’re looking at only a few billable hours for the technician and, depending on the issue, perhaps an opportunity to upsell new technology or services to fix a larger issue. As worst, you can’t accommodate the service call, which will send your customer elsewhere and damage your service reputation. More importantly, what the SMB might not realize is that getting into the habit of calling an MSP when they have an issue or failure costs them as well, specifically in terms of IT system down time.
While this scenario illustrates the inefficiency and business risk associated with a break/fix approach, selling a professional services contract to SMBs is much easier said than done. So, how can you make the case for selling a monthly, ongoing IT monitoring and management program? It begins with being able to outline the value of ongoing monitoring and management. The single best way to do that is to be prepared to discuss your value proposition. Practice these lines for use when talking to clients and prospects:
We have technology in place to provide ongoing monitoring of your critical IT systems. For you, that means we can identify – and in many cases address – and IT issue before you or your employees are even aware. That means less downtime and less worry. Let us focus on your IT while you focus on everything else.When discussing the value of delivering real-time monitoring and management, it will helpful to define IT system down time and lag time, and resulting costs. While it’s easy to understand the cost and productivity that could be lost from a catastrophic IT incident (for instance, an e-mail server going down leaving employees without one of their core IT systems), consider this: even if employees experience a 10 second delay when accessing an IT system they use every day, throughout the day, adds up to poor productivity and wasted costs. You can become an SMB’s CTO, evaluating all IT systems to optimize network resources and ensure that employees have immediate access to the systems they need to do their jobs.
A good sales team can help transition current clients to a recurring revenue model and sell monthly professional services contracts to new prospects. But, it’s important to hire a sales associate that is familiar with selling services.
Mike Byrne is director of MSPs at Quest Software's PacketTrap division. For information about PacketTrap MSP, go to www.packettrap.com or email [email protected]. Monthly guest blogs such as this one are part of MSPmetnor’s annual platinum sponsorship. Read all PacketTrap MSP guest blogs here.