By Mike Bloomfield, president, Tekie Geek and ASCII Group Member since 2016
When it comes to prospecting, both you and your potential client want to make sure the relationship is mutually beneficial. As MSPs, we’re pursuing clients we feel will be a good fit for our services and understand the importance of Managed Services. Your prospect will approach the relationship the same way, wanting you to understand what it important to them.
During the onboarding process, you will be asked many questions such as: How many years have you been in operation? What is your experience in the industry my business is involved with? Is your MSP a thought leader? When it comes to your help desk, is it staffed by workers in the U.S.?
Your ability to answer these questions to a potential client’s satisfaction could be the difference between growing your business and simply treading water. Following are seven operational areas you will be asked about when negotiating with prospective clients, as well as why they are important.
The larger your staff, the more professional you appear. Your client's office manager is looking to ensure your operation isn't some three-man team centrally located in a garage. They're looking for a real office with a number of employees capable of handling the needs of multiple clients as required. The office manager will also look for some kind of certified validation of your service provisions.
Startups are going to have a difficult time in this area — those new to the game are going to want to work with references, expound their referential base, and scale up as possible. There are rookie mistakes smaller business make that office managers should avoid. They're looking for tangible experience prior to commitment, so ensure you can communicate yours thoroughly.
- Industry Knowledge
You'll do better with clients who you share industry experience with. When courting clients, be prepared to provide this information as extensively as possible. We have found it extremely helpful to have sell sheets for the different verticals and list our expertise within each. For example, when trying to make a sale with a new Mortgage broker, we want them to know we are familiar with their software stack and have experience maintaining it and keeping it running efficiently.
Even if you're a startup with scant experience, if you can show potential clients your current clients are satisfied with your services you can make a strong case for your value and services. Aside from physical recommendations, make sure online testimonials about your company are as truthful and informative as possible — they may also make or break your future relationship with prospects. Even relatively new MSPs can land larger clients if they're able to show similar customers have benefited from obtaining your services. The best recommendations come from current clients — do well by them as it affects future business.
- Thought Leadership
Show prospective clients your innovative side. Businesses are looking to partner with MSPs who are making advances, finding new and improved ways of doing things, and represent a cutting edge IT service.
- U.S.-Based Help Desk
It’s frustrating to have downtime and encounter a help desk that has trouble understanding your basic vocabulary. A locally-sourced help desk will go a long way toward increasing your clientele.
- Are You Local?
This is another area of convenience for clients. It's nice to know assistance is nearby. A wise strategy is courting clients in proximity and expanding only as you can provide additional local solutions.
Put Your MSP In The Best Light
Your MSP business will pass many vetting parameters if it has local offices and help desk. Represent yourself as innovative, provide references to demonstrate your effectiveness, emphasize your experience within the industries of your clients (especially if you haven't been in operation long), and try to convey a well-staffed, effective working atmosphere. These things are all features of a well-vetted managed service provider.
About The ASCII Group, Inc.
The ASCII Group is a vibrant reseller community of independent MSPs, VARs, and other solution providers. Formed in 1984, ASCII has more than 70 programs that provide turnkey cost-cutting strategies, innovative business building programs, and extensive peer interaction. ASCII members enjoy benefits such as marketing support; educational information; group purchasing power; increased leverage in the marketplace; and multiple networking opportunities. These programs enable ASCII members to increase revenue, lower operating costs, and grow service opportunities. ASCII is the oldest and largest group of independent information technology (IT) solution providers, integrators and value added resellers (VARs) in the world. Learn more at www.ascii.com.