MSP Advice Project: Article - Differentiating Yourself in the Market

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starting up
growing pains
Differentiating Yourself in the Market

November 05, 2018

FULL TRANSCRIPT

Body

Question: How do you differentiate yourself in the market?

Brent Morris: That's a really challenging question, and I feel fortunate for having been at Success for the time that we have because I think, as Bruce mentioned, we've invested in the manufacturing approach called Theory of Constraints, which basically means we have too much of everything. And in our industry, where many of our competition operate in what we call an efficiency model, they have just enough to deliver for the clients that they have. They frequently aren't able to deliver when a client needs something today. So in a world where we're ruled by Murphy or opportunity, we find that having made the investment in additional resources means we're always able to follow through on the promises that we make to our clients. And that's huge. And that's one of the biggest messages that I think our market really seems to accept and navigates toward. Now, to your second question, how would I, how would I encourage the business to articulate their differences? I think you really need to spend a lot of time determining where your value is, and I don't believe it's enough to say we have great people because I think all of us go into the business with the expectation of having people that believe in the same way that we do. I think you need to find a way to differentiate—whether that's through speed of service or through investment in the tools that you use, but there has to be something more beyond, “we’re better.”

Jamie Wolbeck: I would say people are one of the things that sets us apart. We look for people, right? We want to get individuals that can plug into the organization and aren't afraid to go out on-site and work in front of a customer, but then too, it's really about understanding what role they're best suited for. It's okay if they might not be the most sociable person—we might have a better role if they're strong technically to do something in the remote support capacity. Whereas if we find somebody who's more sociable and can plug into that environment, we want them to be on the field team. And not only that, our customers, we require them to have a field visit. So when a new client comes in, facetime is so important… and so those people wind up being the face of our company, and they need to have those skills and we hire for those skills in particular. You need to be able to go in front of a C-level executive and talk about it, woes of the things you worked on or potentially the things that they're curious about. You need to be able to answer those things and not have kind of this—we'll break this perception of I'm just going to sit in the server room and work on things and I'll tell you when I'm done and I'll see you later after that.

Fred Alonzi: Well, two of the real obvious ones. First of all, there's not a lot of IT companies that have been in business for 25 years and made it through several different downturns. So certainly, leading off that experience is important. Secondarily, because we do work with companies in the financial industry, we have kind of a culture of security and privacy when we handle data, so we have that going for us also. I think also when I sit across the desk with a prospective client and I come out and tell them that I'm in a people business—again, that raises their eyebrows. I don't think they've heard that before. And again, stressing the communication skills, stressing our ability to work and partner with our clients to long-term arrangement, knowing that we're not a reseller… we're not pushing product on them. We want to come to a solution that's mutually beneficial. So I think all those things are what distinguish Par 3 IT.

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