Communications are critical to every business. If your managed services firm isn’t delivering email, instant messaging and collaboration tools, or phone solutions, your clients are likely sourcing them from some other company. Few organizations can run their operations successfully without those services.
No matter how big or small, regardless of industry or client size, businesses rely on a variety of communications platforms today. Fortunately for MSPs, most SMBs can use help with design, procurement, implementation, integration, and support, and will likely need a hand developing procedures and policies for keeping those systems secure and operational. Those are formidable (and profitable) tasks.
Gaps in those services create opportunities for the competition. In some cases, they may already support some of the communications needs for your clients. MFP (multi-function printer) dealers are a great example. With the advent of network-enabled devices, their support teams started gaining a critical foothold in the SMB segment (as well as with larger businesses). Many dealers are now leveraging those relationships to grow their technical support options, including managed, cloud, and cybersecurity services.
That’s one reason many MSPs got into the MPS (managed print services) space. Not only do those offerings generate a fair amount of revenue with minimal effort, but they block or minimize your clients’ interactions with MFP dealers ‒ keeping those potential competitors a little further away.
The same situation applies to VoIP. Some businesses still rely on landline phones with support from a local or national telco. While some MSPs may not see those suppliers as their competition, most phone companies (even small, regional players) already offer internet and a bevy of computer-related services and may already be pitching your clients on additional support options.
Between M&A activities with large regional and national MSPs and organic service development, phone companies are a real threat to the channel. Failing to acknowledge those trends (outsiders making inroads into the IT services space) could be detrimental to your company’s profitability and future.
Recognize the Threats
MSPs don’t have to offer everything themselves to be successful today. That “one throat to choke” philosophy is still prevalent in the business community, narrowing the responsibilities for all IT-related services to a single phone call, email contact, or ticketing system. However, many MSPs leverage the resources of multiple partners today ‒ including peers, vendors, distributors, and other third-party organizations ‒ to support various clients. They may offer a core set of services and coordinate the delivery of the remainder to address the diverse needs of a growing list of customers.
In other words, MSPs don’t have to do it all themselves. A collective community of IT services professionals can effectively support virtually any organization’s needs today.
However, you still have to recognize and neutralize potential disruptors to this ecosystem. Not every IT services company is a prospective partner, and the largest members of the food chain (telcos and national retailers are perfect examples) present a real threat to your current and future income opportunities.
Take a Proactive Approach
One sure way to increase your company’s competitive advantage is to support your prospects’ primary communications needs. Comprehensive support for email and collaboration suites, from implementation and security protection to ongoing maintenance, is a must. Voice solutions are just as critical, if not more so, and every MSP should understand the underlying network and support requirements.
Phones are essential for every business. A history of quality service delivery is just as important, which how traditional telcos often get their foot in the door to pitch their IT services offerings.
MSPs should proactively promote adherence to industry standards and leverage their own customer testimonials to emphasize an ongoing commitment to excellence. With the right guidance, existing clients can be your best sales and marketing resource, telling prospects the things they need to hear to make critical business decisions like contracting for a new phone system and service.
If you enjoyed this blog, you might also be interested in the blog: Five Questions MSPs Can Ask to Uncover New VoIP Opportunities