We work with a number of excellent managed service providers and they come in all shapes and sizes. Some are MSPs, some are MSPs and VARs. Some have a small shop with a handful of people, while others are larger, national companies. Working with this large variety of IT industry experts puts us in a unique position to learn what the best managed service providers are doing to make their businesses more successful.
Whatever your current situation is, these are the things all of our best partners are doing to be successful in the billion dollar IT industry.
- Provide value and be an authority
It’s easy to say that an MSP should have low prices, but that’s a common misconception. Let’s look at it this way. If everybody in your niche is priced the same, you’ve got to offer a lower price to standout and get the business, right? Well, as marketing guru Seth Godin said in a recent talk, “The problem with a race to the bottom is you might win.” Authority comes from being the one who says no—I won’t be undervalued. Do you think brands like Ferrari are working toward being less expensive? No, they’re busy being the best and their cars cost what they decide they’re worth. Does it work? Well, last year Ferrari achieved record profits with fewer sales than normal, so you tell me.
No, you’re not a multi-million dollar, well-respected car manufacturer. But the fact is that if you’re offering better service, it comes at a price. Smart consumers know this and smart consumers will pay more money for more value.
Don’t focus on being cheap. Focus on being the one who can set prices higher because the value is better.
- Participate in community groups
Some of the most successful MSPs I’ve come across participate in community groups like HTG, ASCII Group, and CompTIA. These are groups that help your technology company improve. You can get ideas, instructions, advice, and just about anything you need to develop your business by being a part of one of these community groups. They’re very open and collaborative and provide nearly endless resources on how to grow your brand.
The other benefit is that you can give back to the IT community by sharing what you know. The real authorities on MSP business can be found at events held by these community groups, and they’ll be the ones to share what they know about success. Whether you’re a speaker or an attendee at one of these groups, you’ll learn something and give something back to the IT community we all depend on.
- Use and follow through on service agreements
A lot of the value you’ll be providing will come from your quality service. When you provide a service agreement, you’re signing a document that says you will perform. This can be a comfort to your clients who now know exactly what to expect from you and that you intend to provide that service to the best of your abilities. Actually making good on the promise you laid out in your service agreements is essential.
Not only that, but it benefits you as a business as well. You should use service agreements because they not only manage client expectations, they also show you exactly how much recurring revenue you should be expecting from various clients. Plus, you can understand exactly what’s expected of you—service agreements just make sense.
Take a look at Karl Palachuk’s great guides on service agreements to learn more reasons why you should use them, and what to put into yours.
- Educate people
The top MSPs know that their employees are their best assets. With that in mind, they’re not afraid to help their staff become better educated so they can provide better service to their clients. Investing in employees is a great way to build loyalty between you and employees, plus it creates more value within your organization and gives you a stronger, more capable work force.
On top of educating employees, good MSPs also make sure their clients have greater understanding of IT systems as well. It’s not only good for employees to maximize their productivity, it also allows them to keep things more secure and to take care of small IT issues on their own. This will ultimately free up some of the MSP’s time as well.
For more information on how to educate your clients through a variety of excellent methods, read our article Six Ways MSPs Can Empower Clients Through Education.
- Use RMM and PSA tools
Our alliance marketing manager, Bret Dayley, is fond of noting that when a managed service provider gets to a certain level, i.e. a certain number of clients, they really need to be using remote monitoring and management tools to keep track of them all. It’s a huge advantage for an admin to look at a pane of glass and see what’s happening with all their clients’ infrastructures. They know if backups are happening and if network items are functioning, all without doing much more than clicking around. Not only that, but an MSP can roll out updates and patches, install software, use ticketing systems, and more, all within the RMM tool. These tools are a great way to get a lot done easily.
If you’re curious, StorageCraft has integration with a number of RMM vendors.
- Stay on the cutting edge
The tech industry moves faster than many others and part of your job as an MSP is to stay on top of new technology that comes out. You’ll want to keep an eye out for new technologies that make things easier and less expensive for your clients so you can continue providing the value that’s so important to your success. Whether it’s through online research, trade shows, community groups, or distribution channels, make sure you’re consistently up-to-date on the latest technologies.
- Use marketing strategies
Marketing is a four-letter word for some businesses. For the record, marketing is a nine-letter word and your business needs it no matter how you feel about it. We’ve gone over a number of MSP marketing strategies in the past, so instead of going into that, we’ll just say that you need marketing and it’s not as scary as it seems. In fact, for StorageCraft partners, we have dead-simple, turnkey marketing materials that you can brand and use with little effort. Just visit our partner portal to learn more.
If you’re not a partner but want to be, visit our Profit-Ability partner page to learn what StorageCraft can do for your backup and recovery strategy and for your business at large.
Photo Credit: Simply CVR via Flickr