One of the most vexing challenges MSPs have always faced is explaining to prospective customers what “managed services” means. But if you have to explain it, you’ve probably approached the conversation the wrong way.
It may sound strange, but often the best way to talk about “managed services” is to not talk about it. Instead, tell prospects how you can solve problems and address their business needs. That’s what they care about. They have challenges and expect you to provide solutions.
If you can’t articulate how you can help them, you’re bound to leave money on the table. Any business person worth their salt isn’t about to pay for something when they don’t understand the benefit to their organization.
So next time you are out looking for new business, try following these simple guidelines:
- Don’t Get Mired in Nomenclature
When approaching prospects, don’t use terms like “MSP” or “managed services.” To them, you’re still some version of “The IT/Computer Guy.” Wear that with pride, and show them you’re better than the next guy. You’ll run their IT systems so they don’t have to. The cost will be fixed, which helps customers with business operations and cash flow. Plus, active IT management means hardware failures are easier to predict — or avoid altogether — which prevents costly downtime.
- Be Easy to Find
Make your website easy to find by using words and phrases that people search for. A business owner looking for “computer services” may blow right past a “managed services” website because they don’t know what you are selling. Try using common terms like ‘IT support,’ ‘reliable backup,’ ‘data protection,’ or ‘IT security’ and avoid complex terms like ‘remote monitoring’, ‘redundancy’, ‘virtualization’ etc. Choose the words that potential customers type into their browsers when seeking IT services. It also pays to make it clear on your website precisely where in the world you operate, as Google and other search engines tend to boost local results based on device location. Do this, and save time looking for new prospects…they’ll find you!
- Avoid Tech Talk
Once you get your foot in the door with a prospect, be ready to articulate your services in business terms. Don’t try to dazzle prospects with speeds and feeds because chances are that sort of thing won’t impress them. Clients want to know how your services meet their needs, and they want to hear it in language they understand. Follow the K.I.S.S. principle: “Keep it simple, stupid.” After all, you’re setting an expectation for how future billing, customer service, or tech support calls with your company will go. That matters because when the next inevitable system outage occurs, companies want an IT provider that acts quickly, communicates clearly, and leaves the jargon on the sidelines. Save the tech talk for the IT manager — if the company even has one.
- Find Out What Ails Them
One of the most effective ways to win business is to uncover pain points. Ask prospects about the biggest challenges they face, and be ready to explain how they can overcome those challenges. Don’t just barge in with a hard sell. That just makes people suspicious. Keep in mind each customer is different and has specific needs, and if you don’t take the time to listen, you might miss a great opportunity to win a loyal customer.
- Maintain Communication
After onboarding a customer, keep communicating with them. You should regularly update customers through health checks and executive summary reports on the work you’re doing so they don’t forget why they pay you. Keep them informed of new services and solutions, and any technology advances relevant to their businesses as well. And, of course, always make yourself available for inquiries or problems so clients know you have their best interests in mind. A responsive MSP is a successful MSP.
Getting your foot in the door with a prospect isn’t easy, so once you get in, don’t waste the opportunity by failing to clearly communicate what you can do for them or not listening to what they tell you they need.
Richard Delahaye is Senior Director of Marketing for Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, where he manages the company’s global marketing strategy. Richard has 15 years of experience in high tech B2B marketing with a track record of spearheading innovative campaigns.
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