If I Were Launching an MSP Now | Thomas Angelo
Thomas Angelo, CEO of Clark, NJ-based Spire IT, shares three suggestions he'd apply if he were launching an MSP today:
1. Build out a sales process early on – Often times when you start a business, you depend on referrals or scattered marketing techniques to build your sales.
In today’s MSP and cloud space, there is immense competition and it is important to build your sales funnel early on and develop a strong process for building sales, through a combination of lead generation, cold calling, social media marketing, external sales and account management.
Your sales process will help predict your growth.
Our firm waited to build out some of these processes but if I were starting over, I would have implemented this process first.
Often times, companies are underfunded in the beginning and the sales process is often looked at as a luxury item.
Businesses need to define themselves as a “sales-oriented company.”
Only through strong growth can you build out a team that will have opportunities for advancement as well as creating long-term value for the owners.
2. Build an automation platform and defined processes – It is very easy to just go out and purchase a professional sales automation and remote management solution from one of the many vendors in the MSP space.
However, this is only the stepping-stone.
A strong setup of best practices, checklists and procedures for all of our services is a must.
Of course, as a startup, we just went head first into many of these things and then worried about building the process later.
This often costs you in terms of time, money, employees or customers.
It makes sense to spend the time upfront building the processes around reducing reactive support, as well as ensuring that you are delivering world-class service to your clients.
Building a profitable business with high customer and employee retention is done through excellent culture, which is often defined by your processes.
In addition, take the time to listen to your employees and customers, since they often provide the most valuable feedback.
3. Don’t be inclined to set your prices to low – When you start a business, your first reaction is “Let’s offer it a discount,” in order to build sales.
The problem with this approach is that after a few years you are spending more time on unprofitable customers because you can’t service them properly.
While it is tempting to book these sales, the long-term game is to build a portfolio of high value, profitable clients that will allow you to hire the best employees, as well as create opportunities for growth.
Running a successful MSP involves many moving parts, including excellent service, world-class technical skills and an awesome culture.
All of these things require that you generate enough margin to hire the best people, purchase the tools they need, as well as provide the culture that allows for growth.
We certainly offered a number of “discounted deals” early on, and often times, while we thought these were helping us, it just created a lot of busy work without much profit.
Over the past few years, we have redefined our portfolio of work to include many profitable clients and I believe we have an awesome team that we continue to invest in.
Of course, I still maintain some of the early customers, but our attention is focused on the high growth and profitable clients.
Don’t be afraid to believe in the value you deliver to your clients.
Your confidence in your product and service should allow you to sell it at the right price.
Editor’s note: Comments are edited to improve readability.
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