In today’s competitive business climate, managed service providers (MSPs) and other IT service providers must work harder than ever, not only to ensure the survival of their businesses, but also to foster true growth. Strong sales, stronger connections, and the proper mix of technology play a key role here. So too, does carefully selecting and catering to the right target market or markets. However, there is more to the equation than this. Producing order from the chaos that MSP businesses encounter daily contributes equally to their ability to expand, prosper, and set themselves apart from the pack.
For most, if not all MSPs, every day is rife with interruptions and distractions. In addition to client visits and putting out fires, there are seemingly endless strings of emails and phone calls. Only MSPs who can rise above these distractions and remain focused on their most mission-critical activities, can experience true success. Such focus, coupled with organization, paves the way for higher customer retention rates, makes it possible to close more deals, and opens doors to potentially lucrative new opportunities.
Successful MSPs know that details are important—they can’t be ignored. Failing to properly document and track your services, support, and success will make it difficult, if not impossible, to deliver the experience customers want and even demand, and to reach your revenue—and profit-generating potential.
There is no getting around the fact that not even the best MSPs have a magic formula for grappling with these challenges and coming out on top. However, there are four best practices MSPs can follow from the MSP Elite to achieve greater profits and provide their customers with the best possible business outcome. These include:
Remaining cognizant of and controlling the details is important, but it’s essential to go one step further by creating and building an MSP business with consistency at its base. Consistently documenting best practices and standard operating procedures is a good start. The scope of these should be broad, incorporating everything from written instructions for how to handle routine helpdesk matters and new customer onboarding to properly executing sales pitches step by step. The more detailed your documentation, the less time your team will waste on completing tedious administrative tasks that detract from focusing on serving existing and prospective customers alike.
Figuring out the rationale behind each sale is the easy part of an MSP’s job, because it’s all tied to metrics. Determining what makes each member of the sales team tick—and using it to motivate them to deliver a top-notch sales performance—is more difficult, but it needs to be done. Observe carefully. Is it a competitive spirit that motivates a salesperson? Or is an obsession with new technology what makes someone tick? Then apply each individual’s psychological profile in ensuring that anything that is done for them, or with them, drives the desired behavior that supports the MSP’s overall mission.
Professional services automation (PSA) software designed to facilitate IT project management is readily available in the marketplace. However, it is typically too complex and expensive to suit the true needs of MSPs and service providers. A far better approach entails assessing your pain points and figuring out where you want better visibility. For example, tools that assist with such MSP basics as ticketing, time tracking, knowledge management, and billing are practical and essential to running an MSP business, but there’s no sense paying more for tools with other features and benefits that are simply unnecessary. Instead, choose a cloud-based service management tool that costs less and enables you to pay only for the features and benefits you need, while achieving your objectives better and more thoroughly.
Small, medium-size, and large MSPs alike must leverage automation as a lynchpin for streamlining as many business processes as possible. The higher the degree of automation in the organization, the higher the level of enterprise-wide consistency and standardization—and the more leeway to operate the business in the organized fashion that supports growth and competitive differentiation. MSPs would do well to select a remote monitoring and management (RMM) platform and service management tool that offers myriad automation options and covers all aspects of their business.
The bottom line: The MSP’s recipe for success should include a dash of psychology, coupled with a heap of commitment to the diligent management of activities along with consistency across all lines of business. All of this should be brought to bear using powerful, compatible PSA and RMM automation tools. Follow this recipe, and the potential for success and team achievement could be limitless.
Julie Ritzer Ross has been covering technology and its application in multiple vertical markets for more than 25 years. Her work has appeared in a variety of vertically focused publications including Transaction Trends, Hospitality Technology, Consumer Goods Technology, Integrated Solutions, Integrated Solutions for Retailers, Government Technology, RIS News and Vertical Systems Reseller (formerly Retail Systems Reseller).
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