How to Transition Your Clients to Managed Services
You’ve realized that the old break-fix model of IT service isn’t sustainable—from a profit perspective or for your peace of mind. You know that the managed services model allows you to build steady, recurring revenue, allows you to proactively manage your clients’ IT needs, and allows you to maintain systems remotely. But how do you position this evolution in service to your clients? Here are some thoughts.
First of all, go slow. By transitioning to managed services, you are altering not only your business model, but your entire business philosophy. Your clients may need time to adjust to a new pricing structure and your new model of service, so start with a few clients with whom you have trusted relationships. Explain how this change is mutually beneficial to both you and your clients.
Be sure that you leverage the value of proactive management: less downtime, regular updates and patches, and glitches solved before they become problems. Not to mention, your profit incentive has shifted. Under the old model, breakdowns were incentivized—especially lengthy fixes that increased billable hours. With managed services, position your incentive as keeping your clients’ business up and running with as little interruption as possible.
Also, explain to your clients the how the managed services model benefits them financially. They will be able to anticipate a regular monthly fee instead of unpredictable service charges. The monthly service contract you choose to offer could include a variety of services such as network management, security, and email.
Choose the initial services you offer carefully. It would behoove you to start off with easy, affordable support tools that are easy to manage and apparently valuable to your clients.
One of the easiest tools to resell to clients is online backup and recovery (that’s our specialty at Intronis). Safer and much less expensive than onsite data storage methods, online backup is an easy sell to your clients. Plus Intronis charges you a flat rate (no startup or licensing fees), so figuring out your projected profit is a simple calculation.
Lastly, tread softly with the pricing. It may take you some time to determine a monthly rate that is profitable. Ease into one or two services with a few clients before launching a full-fledged managed services structure. Once you establish yourself as a trusted advisor, you’ll be able to comfortably add to your service offerings and adjust your pricing accordingly.
Although one of the major cost savings of managed services is that the majority of your work can be handled remotely, be sure to schedule a few onsite visits per year to maintain your client relationship.
As IT services become increasingly commoditized, it the relationships that you establish with your client base that will determine your success or failure in the long run.
Eric Webster is VP of sales and marketing for Intronis. Find Intronis partner program information here. Guest blog entries such as this one are contributed on a monthly basis as part of MSPmentor’s 2010 Platinum sponsorship. Read all of Eric’s guest blog entries here.