Every managed service provider has a set of tools they can’t live without. In a recent post, we talked about quite a few that come in handy for streamlining system management, improving efficiency and adding a much needed dose of simplicity to the rigorous daily operations typical of the IT environment. Today is opposite day. Well, sort of. This list isn’t necessarily comprised of tools per se, but ‘things’ MSPs are better off without.
1. Bandwagon Technology
Technology throws more trends our way than we know what to do with. The right trends can open up paths to lucrative roads, but as Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin alluded to many years ago (Chaucer, Shakespeare, and J.R.R. Tolkien also alluded to this), all that glitters is not gold. Rather than hopping on every smoking hot bandwagon that rides by, MSPs should limit their technology adoption to what they can handle. If you don’t have the expertise to manage it effectively, you shouldn’t be offering it – no matter how much money it promises to bring in.
2. Lackluster Testimonials
Testimonials are powerful tools. They tie into that whole word-of-mouth thing. The same message you’re trying to pitch to a potential customer carries significantly more weight when conveyed by their peers. But while testimonials can be very effective, they can also work against you if they don’t:
Put a face to claim. A testimonial looks mighty suspect without a good photo beside it. I mean a photo of a real client. Not those cheesy pictures of John and Jane Doe you can grab from any given stock photo site. You’ll start losing all kinds of cool-points when prospects see those same photos of so-called clients on sites selling password-cracking tools and other wacky products.
Specify what’s great about your service. It’s nice that John Doe (the real John Doe) thinks your company is great, but does that really help the prospect evaluating your offerings? Whether it’s touting the superior customer service or cost savings your company delivered, you want to showcase testimonials that sum up some specific benefits of your service.
Highlight the client. Who are your clients? Web hosts? Email marketing firms? Cable companies? Whoever they are, make sure their name, position, and company is attached to the testimonials they provide as this will add validity and credibility to their endorsement.
3. Incompetent Personnel
Few like to talk about it, but if you’re in a management position, you’ve probably hired one if not a couple of dimwits. They aren’t necessarily bad people. They just aren’t good at the jobs they were hired to do. These type of employees slip through the cracks every now and then, but can be disastrous in the MSP environment. One dude may have his server specs and jargon down to a science, but that doesn’t automatically mean he’s cut out for maintaining control panels, database servers, and other systems that may come an IT administrator’s way.
Employing a staff of competent workers can be more challenging than it sounds, especially in a field where implying competency is often a matter of flaunting a list of technical skills and accomplishments. That’s when MSPs have to focus and target their recruitment efforts based on specific IT needs. Team those specifics up with desirable traits such as hard work ethic and a tendency to play well with others and more often than not, you’ll find the right people for the job.
Securing a Slice
The digital age is developing tech innovation at an amazingly fast rate and on cue, IT analysts are illustrating the MSP forecast through projections and predictions. And the future looks bright. An Insight Research study estimates that the global market will reach $235 billion by 2017, with the U.S. alone accounting for $51 billion. The study suggests an increased awareness of the benefits of managed services as a major driver for the market’s growth.
Like specialists in many fields, a managed service provider walks a very thin line along the road to success. That’s why some things are just best avoided. The process of eliminating the negative gives you a higher probability of producing positive results. Sounds good, but what else should be left out of the MSP diet?