Did you know that two in five MSPs call out limited time and resources as the reason why they struggle to get new business? There just aren’t enough hours in the day.

 

With an estimated 130,000 Managed Service Providers worldwide, and 40,000 in the United States alone your MSP business is certainly in good company!

 

This article will look at the misconceptions in the market over how to find new customers and turn prospects into loyal champions, and how you can help to differentiate yourself from the competition.

 

Looks turn heads, but tools gain loyalty

 

A lot of today’s IT service providers are highly focused on their image. This could be anything from their marketing materials to their branding. Perhaps they put a ton of effort into regular blog posts and social media content, or launch a snazzy website redesign every 2 years. These are all great ways to attract attention, but they aren’t necessarily the best way to hold attention. Answer the following questions:

 

  • Do you get a good amount of website visits, but these don’t translate into leads?
  • Are you struggling to turn discovery calls into signed contracts?
  • Have you experienced a growing amount of customer churn over the past few years?

 

If the answer to even one of these questions is YES, then you might be focusing your attention in the wrong direction, and leaving hundreds of thousands of dollars sitting on the table.

 

Of course, there’s nothing wrong with looking good. You certainly don’t want to be invisible, so it’s worth keeping a minimal level of attention on ensuring you have an online presence (a LinkedIn account and an up to date Google My Business should be a baseline). However, your main focus needs to be on what value you’re providing to the customer, and what tools you have in place to make that value happen.

 

How to talk to customers about value

 

Most customers aren’t starting from scratch. They have usually put the feelers out into the industry because they aren’t happy with their existing solution for IT management. This could be an in-house team who are overstretched or too expensive, or a competitor who isn’t listening to their needs. Either way, it’s time for you to shine.

 

Start by understanding the goals of the prospect. What do they wish their current IT manager understood? What does their ideal IT infrastructure look like? What challenges are they currently experiencing? A discovery call should be equally for you to discover what the client needs, as it is for the prospect to discover what you can provide.

 

Once you know what the business is looking for, you can then provide a tailored solution that meets their needs, and you know how to describe your offering. Many MSPs struggle with communication, as they come from a background of hands-on technical support. However, as an IT pro it’s essential to have both. Customers will expect transparency and dialogue so that you can become a true partner in their business growth.

 

If you simply monitor and fix problems behind the scenes, you’re in danger of becoming invisible, and if you can’t describe how you’re adding value – the customer will have to work harder to see it for themselves.

 

At the sales stage, by listening to what the customer is looking for, you can communicate exactly how you can meet their needs. If for example they are worried about their data hygiene, you can focus on security technologies and processes, discussing backup, encryption, storage, and compliance. If costs are spiraling, you can discuss cloud optimization, consolidating software tools, or with Atera – how you can support cost-cutting initiatives through a per-technician pricing model that allows you to monitor all of their devices for a more transparent cost.

 

A balanced tool belt of offerings for each customer

 

To be able to tailor your offeringS to specific prospect requirements, you need a hefty tool belt of technology and tools. You never know what will be most important to a customer during their research process, so having a wide array of tools at your fingertips lets you personalize your pitch on the fly.

 

Here’s what we suggest as a baseline:

 

Remote monitoring: RMM is the bread and butter for today’s MSPs. Rather than sit at the end of the phone and wait for the customer to call with a problem, remote monitoring offers a proactive way to support their needs. At all times, you can see exactly what’s happening in your customer environments, including when endpoints need attention, or if anomalous behavior is occurring. Usually, this means you can act ahead of time before the impact can be seen on the customer’s side.

 

Mention this tool if customers are concerned about:

 

  • Visibility over employee endpoints
  • Productivity when remote working
  • Cybersecurity
  • Too much downtime
  • Multiple support calls to IT

 

IT automation: Automation is great for you as an MSP, as it allows you to get more done behind the scenes, removing the repetitive and manual tasks that keep your technicians increasingly busy. However, it’s also a value-add for the customer. You can use IT automations to ensure customers always have up to date software and hardware in terms of patch management, and you can also set automated tasks such as reboots or defragmentation to keep to high performance targets. IT automation also supports best-in-class communication, as you can channel tasks to the right technician even out of hours, and keep customers in the loop about the status of open tickets.

 

Mention this tool if customers are concerned about:

 

  • Performance issues
  • Patch management
  • Communication from their current IT provider
  • 24/7 support and service

 

Professional Services Automation: Talking about tickets, how does your prospect currently get support when they need it? A PSA automates and streamlines helpdesk and ticketing, so that customers can quickly and seamlessly get the help they need. For the customer, this means their emails never get missed (At Atera, emails can automatically become tickets that are channeled to the right technician), and customers are never left sitting on hold waiting for resolution. You can even create a customer portal where they can self-serve their own queries, adding intuitive tools such as dynamic FAQ, a robust knowledge base, and visibility over ticket status.

 

Mention this tool if customers are concerned about:

 

  • Broadening their own industry knowledge
  • Communication from their current IT provider
  • 24/7 support and service

 

Network Discovery: Network Discovery is a powerful tool that ensures nothing falls through the cracks. By running Network Discovery scans, an MSP can get a comprehensive list of all assets and devices running in a customer environment, and with Network Discovery for Workgroups . Aterans can now discover all of their customer environments, offering 10x the visibility. Customers are often plagued with shadow IT, where their employees are onboarding their own devices or software products which are outside of the control of IT. They also want to know that you have eyes on their environment, and can quickly visualize any new connections, so that they can be monitored if they are legitimate, and to raise the alarm if they signal something suspicious.

 

Mention this tool if customers are concerned about:

 

  • Visibility over a complex IT environment
  • Cybersecurity
  • Shadow IT
  • Performance issues

 

Cybersecurity: Today’s customers need to know that their MSP can handle their security concerns, and want a proactive partner who is going to shore up their defenses ahead of time. Through integrations with top security vendors, you can extend your offering to include data protection tools, anti-malware, anti-ransomware and anti-spam technology, email protection, antivirus technology, cloud security, and more.

 

There might also be industry-specific concerns, such as compliance for HIPAA or PCI-DSS, or rules around how you can process data in government or defense. Don’t forget to discuss your processes for incident response, including how you will ensure the business suffers only limited downtime while you get systems back up and running and restore data.

 

Mention this tool if customers are concerned about:

 

  • Data security
  • Compliance
  • Cybersecurity prevention
  • Incident response
  • Cloud security

 

Remote access tools: Many customers will be looking to shift to a new IT services provider because the landscape of their office has changed since COVID-19. Standing out in the remote landscape means offering the best possible tools for remote access and work from home. At Atera, we have integrations with Splashtop and AnyDesk, so that your MSP business can support customers with a distributed workforce wherever they are in the world. This also opens your pool of customers up globally, allowing you to pitch for business anywhere in the world, and guarantee 5 star support and service.

 

Mention this tool if customers are concerned about:

 

  • Visibility over employee endpoints
  • Productivity when remote working
  • Cybersecurity
  • Support from their current IT provider

 

It’s time for your close up

 

In a growing industry of fierce competition, you need to know that your MSP business can withstand scrutiny from prospects, by creating a comprehensive solutions catalog that answers any request. While your website and marketing might garner initial attention; we say – looks are fleeting. It’s your sales pitch and your tool belt that will keep clients interested for the long-term.

 

Want to try an MSP software solution that checks all the boxes? Give Atera a try for 30-days, risk-free.

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