In last week’s blog I discussed three areas that managed IT services businesses must focus on: sales and marketing, pricing and account management. Now, let’s look at the three remaining items to consider in your reality check.
1. Generating more project work: In part one, I discussed account management and how it is paramount to task your team with reviewing client accounts on a regular monthly and quarterly basis. Not only will this help to ensure there are no year-end surprises, it will allow you to focus on lead generation and new business. When speaking to prospects, mention how you now (as an MSP) have the ability to offer tools like network assessments, security vulnerability scans, PC life-cycle management and updates. The relationship with your clients is changing — instead of servicing them on a reactive break/fix basis, you are now proactively looking at their networks as a whole. This is an opportunity to bring in new business from areas not previously available.
2. Partner for the telecom piece: If you were a telecom solution provider that has moved to incorporate a managed IT services model, you are now looking at your business differently. Instead of reactively providing and servicing phone systems, you are working on a proactive basis and selling on the basis of the quality of your service management, the customer’s overall long-term success and help-desk services that provide your clients with a direct place to call and timely service. Again, this is an opportunity for more business!
Be sure to look for outside partnerships when it comes to clients’ telecom needs. Instead of thinking about it from a competitive perspective, approach it as more of a way to ensure that you can provide a high level of services and offerings for your clients, which could also lead to additional partnerships and business. I know of many MSPs that currently partner on these types of projects, and it often leads to bigger and better opportunities.
3. Rebranding Your Business: Once you have switched to managed services, ensure your brand is in order. Consider:
While you might think that you already have a solid sales and marketing plan in place, your brand is completely separate. You need to have your new image and services in place before you offer services and seek out new clients. Be clear on what you are trying to accomplish and what you hope to gain by offering new services. Leveraging your well-known brand while launching a new offering and services to clients can be helpful, but at the same time, make sure they understand that you are providing the same services with the same people, now at a higher level.
By now, you should be looking to solidify your new business model and taking advantage of new revenue opportunities. With the items I mentioned in both last week’s blog and in this post, you should have much of the information you need to be successful — provided that you keep up with the changes and the different levels of services that you will now be offering. In order to ensure long-term success, remember to also focus on the day-to-day, short-term items that help keep your MSP business operationally sound and employees and customers happy.
Raymond Vrabel is Continuum’s director of Technical Account Management and participates in product and service growth initiatives. He manages Continuum’s Technical Account Management team which supports over 3,500 partners worldwide. Vrabel has more than 15 years of experience in the IT industry, specializing in managed IT services, disaster recovery and cloud solutions. Follow him on Twitter @rayvrabel.