Five Best Practices for Growing Your Managed Services Business
With low barriers to entry (i.e., low up-front costs) and the potential for signficant recurring revenue, many service providers are moving into the MSP market. But what is the key to successfully growing your MSP practice and retaining customers so they will not turn elsewhere for their IT needs? By keeping some key best practices in mind, you can differentiate your services so that you not only survive, but thrive in this challenging economic environment.
Here are five ways to succeed in the MSP market:
1. Customer Service. Commit to giving your customers better customer service than the next guy. Everyone provides customer service. Make yours exceptional. At Intronis, we’ve branded our customer service as Gung-Ho Client Service™. Our goal is to let our customers know that we are truly committed to doing whatever it takes to make them successful. Don’t make customer service an afterthought. Make it part of your overall business strategy. Go the extra mile and your customers will remember you for it.
2. Understand your customers’ business culture. Get to know your customers’ way of doing business so that you can deliver your services in a manner that best meets their needs. Don’t deliver cookie cutter services. Know how to tailor and execute your services in a way that is compatible with your customers’ unique way of doing business.
According to a recent report (CompTIA’s Annual Managed Services Best Practices Survey), one of the key factors in determining the success of today’s MSPs, is whether they are able to develop a deep understanding of their customers’ business. By having a laser focus on their customers’ needs, MSPs can offer higher premium services that add the most value to their customers’ business. In doing so, they can command higher fees and generate higher profits.
3. Education. Educate your customers on the value you are providing to them and get them to move away from thinking about point solutions and cost. If you can’t show value, you will always be competing on price. You are providing a valued-added service and you should be able to give your customers an ROI that will show them why you are the best choice for their business. If you can’t show them the metrics, you don’t deserve their business.
4. Ongoing communication. In order to retain their business over time, you need to maintain contact communication with your customers. Whether it’s phone calls, social media, or on-site visits, you need to build a rapport with your customers so that they will eventually see you as a trusted business advisor rather than just a vendor. When other business opportunities come up, they will automatically think of you because of this trusted relationship you have established.
5. Commitment. Commitment is the key to growing your business and adding value to your customers’ business. If developed properly, an MSP practice is a sophisticated business that needs to be given adequate dedication and resources. Whether you’re going into the MSP market in a big way or on a smaller scale, commit 100% to that level. Make the investment in the right people and the right technology in order to deliver the best value to your customers. Don’t do it halfway; you will only end up with unhappy customers and low profits.
Eric Webster is VP of sales and client service for Intronis. Find Intronis partner program information here. Guest blog entries such as this one are contributed on a monthly basis as part of The VAR Guy’s 2009 sponsorship program.