Recently, our company was brainstorming new and creative ways to get a foot in the door with SMBs to sell Managed Services. Times are tight, so it takes a little ingenuity to nail down an initial chat with business owners. You need something that will get them excited, and Managed Services doesn’t always do that by itself.
Most business owners see IT support as a necessary evil -- kind of like going to the doctor for an annual physical. It’s not fun for them. You need something that will get them excited, while addressing a need.
Here's the challenge: The average business owner could care less about monitoring the event logs on the Executive Assistant’s workstation. Let’s face it, only geeks are concerned with that kind of stuff.
Here's a potential solution: What if you could offer customers something of real, tangible value? Maybe a weekly report detailing user browsing habits and bandwidth abuse. That sounds like valuable intelligence to me. Every business owner wants to know how their employees are using their time.
Not by coincidence, we're pushing into that market (and others) with a series of additional services including offsite backups, spam filtering, and our hosted SonicWALL Global Management System (GMS). We see secondary services as a way to get your foot in the door -- again and again -- with existing and new customers. This could also be used as a passive way to prove your worth and eventually lead to discussing your managed services offering.
Tempting OfferHowever, you might need a little more umph to crack the door wide open. I say get brave and offer them a chance to try it out for free (assuming they have the firewall to do it with). I am a big fan of free trial and so are most customers. It gives you the ability to prove your worth without any risk to the buyer. It’s a win-win. The easier you make the path of entry for the client, the more likely they are to buy.
You can do this with any of your secondary services. It doesn’t have to be GMS. The concept is to get your foot door with a valuable secondary service and start conversations about managed services after you have proven your worth. It’s like fishing. Pick the right bait, get them on the hook, and then reel them in. And remember, reeling them in is the easy part.
Paul Barnett is marketing director for VirtualAdministrator, which offers hosted solutions for managed service providers. Guest blog entries such as this one are contributed on a monthly basis as part of MSPmentor.net’s 2009 Platinum sponsorship.