As businesses look for more ways to improve revenue and profits, they increasingly turn to managed service providers (MSPs) to handle essential IT functions. As a result, the MSP market is expected to reach a valuation of more than $300 billion within the next five years.
Naturally, as the market grows, so does competition between MSP companies. So how do MSPs set themselves apart and take full advantage of the accelerating demand for their services?
Here are few suggestions for MSPs looking to ensure their business grows alongside the market.
1. Understand your clients
While businesses that sell products thrive when they have loyal customers who return time and again, the client relationship is far more important for MSPs. Your clients are entrusting the ongoing health of their businesses to the services you provide. So you need to understand your client’s goals and needs in detail. If your clients know you’re genuinely interested in their success, they will do your marketing for you.
Having a deep knowledge of your customers does far more than help you provide better service. It also allows you to better understand who your ideal clients are. And you’re more easily able to define your value proposition for future clients, a notoriously tricky exercise for many businesses.
Use your existing relationships to build ideal customer profiles. You will then be able to better focus your marketing dollars on clients where your likelihood of closing the deal is high, increasing your marketing ROI. Scattershot marketing efforts can undoubtedly get you new clients, but they are generally more expensive and less effective than targeted campaigns directed at potential clients already primed to hear your message.
Knowing your clients is also crucial when you evolve your services. As you learn from your client relationships, you can refine your service offerings and highlight those that your current clients (and likely future clients) value most, those that make your clients work with you rather than another MSP.
2. Align values
ESG (environmental, social and governance) factors are increasingly important to clients and shareholders alike in today’s business world. And organizations that can show their potential clients they have shared goals in this space have a head start in closing a deal.
Part of understanding your customers is knowing their values and how your business fits with those values. For many clients, it is essential that you can show a commitment to diversity. For others, it is important that you are addressing your business’s carbon footprint. And for others, it is your commitment to the local community.
Consider if your ESG efforts can be an effective part of your value proposition and your brand. If the answer is yes, push common values when marketing. If the answer is no, look into whether you need to reconsider how your company deals with ESG.
3. Constantly reinforce client relationships
Keeping your current clients happy is just as important as bringing in new clients. Minimizing client turnover reduces strains on both your financial resources and your employees’ time (likely your time as well). And happy clients can help introduce you to or even sell you to new prospects.
Building client relationships involves more than simply contacting your clients when you have to or when there is an issue. Finding so-called “authentic reasons” to contact your clients is easier than you think. Indeed, there are many ways you can keep in frequent touch with your clients without feeling like you are intruding.
Provide them with useful content
Clients love content as long as it isn’t generic. Instead, clients are usually receptive to information that can help their business or is relevant to their personal interests. So think of ways you can deliver personalized content for your clients.
Perhaps you can start a blog focused on maximizing MSP-client efforts and minimizing costs. Perhaps you can send a client an article about a new solution for a problem they are facing, or a whitepaper about trends related to their services.
Remember, however, to use personal contact with care. While it is effortless to connect with people on social media, it can also be a pitfall when using your personal accounts rather than a business account. Use your discretion!
Find events where you can meet in person
Never underestimate the power of the personal touch. Getting face-to-face time can be one of the best ways to cement long-lasting client relationships.
You never need to look far to find an opportunity. Invite your clients to an MSP conference, or go to conferences in their industries. Set up a client event at your company or, if it fits your budget, at a community event (e.g., a concert, a sporting event, or a charity event). Invite them to coffee or lunch so you can introduce them to a colleague that can help them with another part of their business.
4. Sell value, not low prices
If you focus on always being the lowest price offering, you are doing your business a disservice. You will get clients, but they will frequently be clients that are difficult and unpleasant to work with. And the second another competitor drops their prices, those clients will drop you.
Low price work also creates stress within the company to find other ways to drive profit. Employee morale suffers and managers and owners will constantly be on edge about reducing expenses. If, instead, you focus on the value you provide your clients, price becomes a secondary issue. This does not mean that your clients will never question your prices. But if you show your clients that you provide a unique value proposition, you will be able to charge more for it.
5. Build the best possible user experience
Your service may be the most technologically-advanced and effective of all your customers. But if it isn’t easy to use and interact with, you will lose customers to simpler offerings.
Make sure that your clients have simple, attractive, and engaging ways to connect to your offerings and simple and effective ways to communicate with you. If part of your service is delivering data, create easy-to-use, customizable dashboards for presenting information. Integrate highly functional collaboration tools into your services.
User experience is also important internally. Apply automation at every possible stage of your workflow to maximize your employee user experience. Automation increases your own efficiency and lets you create constant contacts with your clients. Whether using pre-generated documents like profit-and-loss statement templates or automated sales emails, your organization can benefit substantially from automation.
Work with a partner who can help grow your MSP business
It is a great time to own or work for an MSP, especially in the current age of remote and hybrid work. Tremendous opportunities for growth are out there, and only a little effort is necessary to take advantage of them.
Nevertheless, working with an expert partner can help. An award-winning cloud solutions provider like Sherweb has resources and expertise available to help MSPs capitalize on the strategies mentioned above. Explore our Partner Guide for more information, or join our partner network to get started.