If I Were Launching an MSP Now: Don’t Put All Your Eggs in One Vendor Basket, Says Marco’s Matt Kanaskie
Matt Kanaskie is all about efficiency. He believes in picking a lane and staying in it when it comes to product offerings, choosing the right vendors, and delivering standard consistency and a repeatable process.
Kanaskie says that the manufacturer relationship is just as important as the customer relationship, and that customers are increasingly shying away from complexity – they just want a solution that works.
“Customers just want simplicity and efficiency,” says Kanaskie. “They don’t necessarily want or need to see everything under the hood, especially these days with the MSP model. The complexity rests with the MSP.”
Kanaskie sat down with us this week to share his simple, non-complex advice to MSPs just starting out.
1. Establish your product offering.
Figure out how you want to structure your product offering and your go to market plan.
You can’t wing it. You must have a good grasp on the technology, or simply don’t manage it. You don’t want to ride in on a white horse, waving your sword, valiantly shouting “we’re IT experts, we can make anything work.” No. Nope.
It doesn’t make sense when you think about managing something on an ongoing basis. It’s not sustainable.
“Could you go the “one and done” route? Sure. But if you, as the MSP, need to manage this thing every month, you must find the components that will make it work long-term,” says Kanaskie.
So, figure out what you’re going to offer and how. Are you going to come in and simply manage whatever they have, or are you going to require them to be on standard hardware? Are you going to price per device in their network, or are you going to offer an all-you-can-eat buffet? Will you have a silver, gold and bronze-type package? Are you going to do a one, two or three-year term, or month to month?
Pick a lane, and don’t deviate. It will be tempting, but once you’ve defined your manufacturers and how you’re going to offer your service, you will have to support it for the next two or three years and beyond. Keep it simple. Complexity, bad. Efficiency and flexibility, good.
2. Don’t put all your eggs in one vendor basket.
It is key to align with manufacturers. But how many, and which ones?
Choose two or three that have a wide portfolio of products that can cast the biggest net. For example, Cisco, HP, and Dell do it all – firewall, wireless, security software solutions, servers and so on.
Pick just one, two or three manufacturers, depending on your capacity as a provider, so that you can give a holistic, consultative approach to your customers. This gives you flexibility long-term, and doesn’t leave you with all of your eggs in one vendor basket.
Further, stay away from one-trick pony manufacturers. That will force you to run around trying to find someone for each and every little service. Align with the vendors who “do it all.” This way, you can capture the widest variety of customer environments, but also get the efficiency of scale, the strength of partnership, the sales volume and marketing development funds and you establish a solid relationship with that provider.
This will help you later down the road when you need a special warranty situation, or you need a return on something, or there’s a bug in a product. Because you have that tenure, experience and that loyalty with that manufacturer, they’ll be more likely to help you.
If you have that strong relationship with the manufacturer, you can deliver better service to the customers you manage.
3. Deliver a repeatable process.
Don’t create custom one-off packages for customers. Don’t chase the business so far that you’re changing your contracts or entitlements or however you support customers because it will inevitably burn you down the road and throughout the lifecycle of that customer relationship/contract.
Standard consistency and repeatable process. That is key to long term success, sustainability and profitability.
Matt Kanaskie is the Sales Manager of Recurring Solutions at Marco, a technology services company founded in 1973. Matt has been consulting, designing and implementing complex IT and telecommunication solutions for business clients for over a decade. Matt’s experience has traversed individual sales contribution, sales engineering, subject matter expert, product management and sales leadership within IT and telecommunications industry. He joined Marco in 2015 to assist in development and execution of multiple cloud communications service offerings. Matt is currently the Sales Leader for Marco’s recurring solutions which include Managed Services, Cloud Services and Carrier Services.