Bundles are magic! For managed service providers (MSPs), creating bundles is an excellent opportunity to maximize the profitability of your offerings. Part of the magic of bundled services is that they’re particularly easy to sell, implement and maintain, especially in vertical markets.
The default sales process for most providers is to sell everything separately—like a cafeteria plan. Instead, focus on building bundles for both your core offering (can be sold to anyone) and your vertical clients.
Start with core bundles
A “core” bundle allows you to create an offering that you can sell to every single client. After all, you’re going to sell every client storage, email, spam filtering, anti-virus, monitoring, patch management, backup and perhaps more. Bundle all that together so the client only sees one item on their monthly invoice.
Bundles are easy to sell because you can make the argument that it’s comprised of the basic technology every business has to have. With only one item on the invoice, you avoid “invoice fatigue” from all the items listed and sold separately.
Bundles are also difficult to sell against. When someone tries to lure your client with a deal on backup or email, for example, the competitor will have to work to put together an offer that includes everything in your bundle.
Bundles are also a great starting place for new clients. They get you into the client’s invoicing system, which makes it easier to add additional services and eventually move to a managed services model.
In addition to your core bundle(s), it’s also a good idea to pick one or more vertical markets to create specialty bundles for. These might be specific services for medical, legal or manufacturing sectors, for example.
Again, start with what you’re already selling. If you have a set of services you regularly sell to accountants, simply turn that into the accounting bundle.
With a vertical market you can quickly learn their specific language as well as their technology. Specialists can always tell whether you really understand their business; given the choice between someone who speaks their lingo and a technology generalist, they’ll prefer the specialist every time.
Selling your bundles
Sell the core bundle to everyone, then add whatever else you need on top of it. If your core bundle is all cloud-based and the client still needs a server in-house, you can simply add it.
The biggest challenge to selling bundles is the conversation inside your head. Technicians are very analytical, so they come up with all kinds of objections to bundled services, but clients don’t actually have those objections! Many technicians will argue that clients don’t want to buy pieces of the bundle they don’t use. But clients do this all the time with their phone bill, cable TV bill, and other monthly expenses. Bundles are all over the place because they work!
Don’t be tempted to break up your bundles, either. And don’t worry about possible objections until you get real objections from your prospects.
Creating bundles allows you put together sets of services you know work well together, that you’re familiar with, and that you can make money on. There’s great truth that you make more money when you sell fewer options. For example, you should sell one or two brands of printers, not twenty brands. That allows you to learn those products more deeply and eventually make better recommendations.
Bundles achieve the same result for your services, and you still end up with custom services for each client. You just build it with core bundles, plus vertical bundles, plus whatever else they need. At the very least, your core and vertical bundles are guaranteed to be profitable.