It occurred to me that there are many managed service providers (MSPs) still struggling to get into a managed services model. There are a large number of you who are managing less than 250 devices and trying to reach the next level. I know I have told my story before, so I will not retell it here. The important part is I started with one client with 35 workstations and one server. I also started using an RMM (remote monitoring and management) platform and a PSA (professional services automation) tool within six months of starting that business. I had the same challenges all of you do and here is my best advice…
Sell them one more thing.
Yes, new customers are important, but getting a customer who is on monitoring and antivirus (AV) only to then add backup or web protection makes a huge difference over time, and it is so much easier. If they won’t pay for the whole lot up-front, drip-market until they do. Over time, they will trust you more and complete their portfolio of services with you.
Here’s why this works:
There are a lot of MSP evangelists out there who profess that you should only take on FULLY managed clients. They say this because technically it is true. Practically though, there are still a large number of customers who simply will not buy into a fully managed contract. These customers will rarely (if ever) be as profitable as fully managed clients, but there is still profit to be made and it is a niche geared toward the smaller MSP. They still ALL need AV, backup, and other services—you just need to get them to use yours.
So, how do you do that? Here are four things to think about and help get you started:
Offer it free for a set period of time, report to them all the issues found, bill them hourly to fix them, and then it should be an easy sell to get them on basic monitoring at a three times mark-up.
Security is a hot topic; use the benefits of managed AV, web filtering or offsite backup to get them to adopt one or more of these recurring revenue sources. Off-the-shelf products will NEVER compete with the personalized service of someone actively monitoring those services for them.
Beyond standard outreach, use quarterly and annual reviews as sales opportunities. Customers view these in a whole different way than sales calls, especially when you provide them with reports and solutions to fill any gaps they may have. At the very least, they will appreciate the personal touch of a face-to-face meeting.
None of the above will matter unless you actually invoice your customers. This means an automated way to bill recurring services through your PSA or accounting software.
Eric Anthony is director of customer experience at SolarWinds MSP. Before joining SolarWinds, Eric ran his own managed service provider business for over six years.
You can follow Eric on Twitter at @EricAnthonyMSP
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