Some recent studies have predicted that the Managed Service Market will continue to grow at a rate of 12% over the next few years.
This is due to the fact that companies are increasingly combining VOIP phone systems as well as wireless devices such as iPhones and iPads into their networks, while at the same time reducing staff costs.
So the opportunity is out there, which is a good thing, but, at the same time, you're going to have to be aggressive and jump on opportunities in order to keep your MSP very competitive in this kind of marketplace.
So what's an MSP owner to do? Here's a few tips that can help your MSP gain that edge over some of your competitors.
1) Go After the Small Business Market
We've talked about this in several other articles on the site, but business clients are really the way to go. There's no way you're going to be able to keep a competitive MSP running in the marketplace while you're running around to residential installations trying to repair someone's Windows 3.1 installation.
With small businesses, it will also be easier to sell them on the managed services model, rather than a break/fix structure. With a break/fix plan, you'll suffer through the ups and downs of repairing systems and then waiting for them to break again, while a managed services model will provide you and your business with a steady and reliable source of income.
2) Competitive Pricing
Keep an eye on what your competitors are charging and adjust your prices accordingly. That doesn't mean that you always have to be undercutting other MSP prices, but, rather, adjusting your level of service so that it is more appealing to clients (and potential clients).
3) Remote Support
Taking care of your customers systems remotely will save you inordinate amounts of time, not just in time at customers sites, but travel time as well. Consider using a remote solution that integrates everything you might need to take care of your customer's systems properly, such as patch management, scripting, automatic tasks, managed antivirus and remote logins.
Many remote supporting tools are now coming with built in apps for the iPhone, iPad and Android enabled phones. These apps allow you to quickly respond and take care of potential issues before your customer is even aware there might be a problem.
4) Prove Your Worth
The problem with doing your job well and efficiently as an MSP is that your customers won't ever see you. Pro-active management and remote support mean that you can take care of most of your customers issues from your office without ever having to see your customer.
Remind you customer what you're doing by providing them with monthly and weekly reports. Among the data points you could touch on are the number of viruses eliminated, disks defragged and patches applied. Combine all these metrics into an eye catching report and you'll show your client exactly the type of services that you're providing for them.
5) Put Up a Professional Website
Sure, you might be a Microsoft Certified Engineer and know the ins and outs of every operating system, but if you're sending emails to your customers and clients from a @hotmail or @aol address, you might not come off as seriously as you think you do. Invest in a professional domain name and a website.
If you don't have the time to build your website, there are a number of website templates out there you could use for your web presence. These websites can be as complex or as simple as needed, but keep in mind that they're also a great marketing tool and with good Search Engine Optimization (SEO), can help your business find new customers.
This is my no means an exhaustive or comprehensive list.
What are some of the tricks that you're using to keep your MSP competitive in the marketplace?