As a partner to a number of top Managed Service Providers I want to pass along five common traits many of these MSPs have in common. Hopefully this insight will help you retain existing customers, win new clients, be a market differentiator, and grow your MRR.
First some background. I spend hours each week on the phone and in meetings speaking with owners, executives and decision makers within the MSP channel.
The number one trait they all have in common is customer service. I didn't include this in my "top five" for a simple reason; any business with clients should have customer service as the number one priority- Business 101.
Great news to report on the MSP channel - every partner I speak with shares this drive and delivers unparalleled customer service. Other businesses occasionally miss the mark (we can all name a few) but from my experience the top managed service providers already have this dialed in!
High flying MSPs share 5 similar traits
1. Adapt to changing technology
Technology is moving at warp speed. No longer can you be comfortable with your tried and true service mix. Innovative technology is coming out constantly. I refer to an interesting infographic we recently came across highlighting Office 365. Isn't MS Office just Word and Excel? Depending on which plan an organization chooses, end-users will have up to 22 business applications included in their subscription. MS Office in no longer just Word and Excel!
2. Deliver a cloud strategy
Cloud is being aggressively marketed to your customers already. Many are already comfortable in the cloud using technology to get work done. And those technologies are probably not supported, things like Dropbox and iCloud. Three years ago my IT department found out I was using unsupported Dropbox with my marketing team. After a stern lecture regarding backup and security I understand why not to do this. With personal adoption so pervasive those top managed service providers are already on board. Your clients are going there and you should lead them.
3. Align with innovative partners
Leading MSPs are in tune with the value of having a strong network. Choose industry leading peer networks, distributors and vendors to partner with. A strong network enables you to stay in touch with latest technologies yet do what you do best: manage and maintain your client networks. Referring back to the Office 365 example, have you seen the Office 365 Roadmap? There is no way you can provide a knowledgebase and support for on average of 30 updates per month, month after month while maintain your customer base/networks and monitor the IT landscape.
4. Execute a mobile strategy
Smartphone and other mobile device use has skyrocketed. Gartner data reveals 40 percent of US employees of large Enterprise organizations use personal devices at work. Why should companies allow this? According to a recent Samsung/Frost & Sullivan survey mobile devices add an estimated 34% boost to employee productivity: "the minutes gained are slightly higher for very large enterprises, while the efficiency increase is strongest among mid-size organizations. Either way, that’s a lot of measurable value."
5. Integrate services with sales
When service and sales are fully aligned they can focus on strategic, forward-looking business objectives, growing your MRR. The most successful MSPs attribute value for every service delivered often by monetizing technical support. Don’t give away the services! One example can be if you find you're repeatedly answering the same questions for the same client, or you see an obvious area for improvement from your interactions with them, upselling an end-user training solution—like KnowledgeWave—is an easy way to increase MRR. With it, end-users benefit from increased productivity, service is freed up to assist with other issues, and clients appreciate the value-added offering you extend to them.