Technology is no longer a primary focus for business owners. Few are rarely, if ever, concerned with the “speeds and feeds’ of devices and applications running behind the scenes in their organization today. Owners and managers simply want results and solutions that address the issues that keep them from adequately supporting their customers and maximizing company profits.
Channel experts often suggest verticalization as the perfect way to support those clients’ needs and to strengthen commitments. While some MSPs are limited geographically, and others have long-term obligations to non-vertical, yet highly profitable customers, there are real advantages to targeting specific industries or client types. Not only can you gain a greater understanding of the operations and challenges of those organizations, but your firm may realize significant savings in system design, onboarding, and support costs.
In other words, targeting the right verticals is a way to boost profitability. Whether your focus in on law offices, regional banks and credit unions, or CPAs; there’s money to be made offering the best-fit solutions to the right clients.
The Solution Differentiator
For those outside the IT industry, technology is merely a means to an end. Businesses use it to get things done, but relatively few people have a desire to know how it works. Successful MSPs continually remind their employees and partners of that fact and focus their sales and marketing efforts on more purpose-built solutions. For the most part, they leave technology out of the conversation unless reviewing proposals or discussing implementation requirements.
Your attention should be squarely focused on the everyday concerns of current and prospective clients. What are their business goals and what obstacles could prevent them from being successful? Which specific industry rules or government regulations elevating the owner’s stress level or affecting his or her operations?
Of course, if MSPs could get the answers to all those questions, closing new sales would be a snap! That’s where a strong vertical approach comes into play. Similar organizations typically share comparable issues, compliance requirements, workflows, and objectives. If you can meet those diverse needs for one organization, it will be easier to replicate those solutions for other businesses in the same field.
While no two businesses are identical, once an MSP understands the common factors involved in a market and get experience support those organizations, it strengthens their sales and marketing position in that community. Providers who “talk the talk” and “walk the walk” command higher rates ‒ becoming the valued consultants and industry experts their clients want in their corner.
The Voice Solution
Case in point: in today’s highly competitive environment, business must communicate effectively with their customers, suppliers, and partners. Your clients could likely use more insight and advice in this area as MSPs can provide a host of services related to voice and text-based communications, including platforms that integrate with key business systems and security measures to ensure their integrity.
That’s why hosted VoIP is gaining traction in the channel. These technologies are becoming the tools of choice for MSPs based on their solution flexibility and pricing. Some of these platforms, including ConnectMeVoice, allow you to configure features and integrate with the vertical-specific applications your customers need to compete and remain profitable.
Consider VoIP to be your canvas. Channel pros who specialize in one vertical often start out developing a complete communications solution (voice, email, IM, etc.) with support services for a single client and then roll the offering out to other customers with few if any changes.
For example, you could configure a hosted-VoIP system to help a regional restaurant chain improve its ordering and reservations processes and eliminate missed or dropped incoming calls. Installing the app version on a client’s mobile devices would speed their answering times, or you could configure the solution to shift calls to their other stores or a person in the home office during peak times (who would enter orders and take reservations using their corporate POS system).
Providers can also integrate a host of other vertical and non-vertical specific applications into their VoIP platforms, including general business tools like Outlook or many of the other systems used to run a restaurant chain. ConnectMeVoice has other for the channel, including Autotask (Datto) and ConnectWise integrations that are designed to optimize VoIP management, reporting, and information flow for our MSP partners.
Reduce the Learning Curve
Vertical solutions should never be considered a “cookie-cutter” approach. While commonalities will exist across your clients’ sites, including the base platforms and some workflow processes and integrations, each implementation and support program will still need to be configured to address the unique needs of every organization.
Of course, the real value for providers comes from reducing the learning and implementation curves. Using a common pre-designed infrastructure decreases development and training requirements, improves your team’s expertise and ability to troubleshoot issues, and simplifies the installation and configuration processes.
Vertical solutions also help focus your sales efforts. When you identify and target a high potential market, it’s easier to leverage references and testimonials from your existing customers. In effect, every company in that vertical becomes a prospect (if not today, maybe tomorrow).
When your team can effectively communicate the firm’s expertise in that specific field, and can show the value of the solutions and support programs you’ve created to meet their unique organizational needs, those deals become easier to close.
If you enjoyed this blog, you might also be interested in the blog: Why Hosted VoIP Should be Part of Every Business Continuity Plan