Do you have what the experts refer to as a “complete services play?” That’s essentially a portfolio that supports your clients’ entire technology ecosystem ‒ a soup-to-nuts offering that addresses virtually all of their computer, network, compliance, policy, and strategy needs. That approach helps MSP ensure customer loyalty and secure new business. After all, when your firm delivers clients a wide array of services, there’s no reason for them to look anywhere else. Many organizations prefer to have one company manage it all, to be the architect and general contractor for their critical business infrastructure and policies. The value of MSPs who can deliver on that premise is rising as quickly as the complexity of technology and its impact on businesses’ bottom lines.
Gaining wallet-share with existing customers is also less expensive than landing sales prospects. Remember the premise that 80% of your business comes from 20% of your clients? In the managed services space, the best sales opportunities come from businesses where you’ve established trust and built relationships. Those situations typically give you and your team members greater insight into your customers’ strategic (as well as tactical) business plans.
That “big picture” view helps MSPs become valued consultants. When you’ve established that level of trust with clients, they will look to you for advice on a broader range of organizational issues and opportunities. More importantly, they’ll look to your firm to deliver it, from cybersecurity and regulatory compliance to workflow and process improvement. Your MSP will be in a better position to address customers’ pain points while increasing the long-term viability of your business.
Focus on Valued Services
The not so secret part of that strategy is securing more revenue from existing clients. Increasing the revenue streams from your customers is great when it mutually benefits both organizations. However, use caution when suggesting new solutions so you don’t appear to be simply padding your own bottom line. Those MSPs usually don’t last long in the channel.
Ask yourself if the innovative new idea can help your clients improve their sales, profitability, customer service levels, or other business objectives? Will the cost of new services provide a meaningful return on their investments from a financial, compliance, or image improvement perspective? MSPs should only proceed when the answers to those questions concerning the addition of new services are positive.
The second step is to develop a plan. Determine which services would most benefit your customers’ operations or allow them to meet new business objectives or compliance requirements. That list of potential options is quite extensive and changes rapidly with the introduction of new technologies and business requirements. Common provider portfolio additions include:
- Cybersecurity—these services are differentiators for MSPs and vital to the safe operation of virtually every business today. From network and dark-web assessments to next-generation firewalls, password management, and end-user training, the requirements and consulting opportunities continue to grow every year.
- Physical Security: in a similarly stealthy role, demand for access control and video surveillance solutions is rising as more companies look for better ways to protect their people and property. Many businesses are implementing these systems to ensure the personal safety of employees and visitors and to monitor and restrict access to data centers and other critical assets.
- Business applications: from customer relationship management and accounting software to ERP enterprise resource planning and computer-aided design solutions, the list of potential options is virtually endless. Partnering with peer experts for one-off sales and support needs may be more profitable in the short run before building a vertically-specialized IT service. However, MSPs may choose to expand their focus over time and build their own practices around more lucrative markets, applications, and services.
- Big Data: Many small businesses are already running ERP and CRM platforms to obtain metrics on their sales and marketing operations. In the coming years, SMBs will be looking for more top-line analytics relating to customer purchasing habits, accounting and financial data, inventory and project management, and a host of other business activities. That information is increasing in value and the MSPs who can help their client best leverage that data will likely see their own prospects and profitability rise quickly.
- Internet of Things: Gartner Research estimates approximately 26 billion IoT devices will be in use by 2020. With the research, training, and smart investments, MSPs should get a fair share of the opportunities in this space. IoT applications are essentially the next step in computing and data collection. Providers can profit from designing, implementing, supporting, and securing these platforms.
- VoIP: businesses rely on phones for key communications activities including sales and customer service. MSPs can boost productivity by integrating their clients’ business applications with VoIP platforms, which puts more tools in the hands of remote workers and automates time-consuming (yet crucial) tasks. The financial savings of moving from traditional phone lines to hosted VoIP are simply icing on the cake for your customers.
The best news is that each of these valued services creates additional recurring revenue streams for MSPs. In turn, the increased cash flow can fund a variety of other business expansion activities, including marketing, sales and support team hiring, training, and facility improvements.
Whether offering these options on your own or collaborating with partners to design and deliver these services, each will help your firm strengthen its client relationships and financial situation.
Does your team actively look for new service opportunities during client visits? If not, get everyone (employees, management, customers, and end users) thinking about the big picture and start adding more valuable MRR options to your portfolio.
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