If you want to stay relevant, add value and stay ahead you need to own your space.
Don’t be vanilla…
A lot of managed service providers and IT suppliers look the same, they look ‘vanilla’. 10 years ago, this was fine as you were still in high demand for your IT skills and knowledge.
Now with the advancements of technology, automation and the internet the base knowledge for IT & Tech of most people and companies is higher. This can make positioning your Managed IT offering a little harder.
For example, ‘Why do we need you for IT support when we can do it ourselves’?
This scenario will always happen, and this type of client needs to be re-educated (if possible) that the correct use of IT, and the leverage of an MSP can support their business growth.
But we are different!
Managed service providers often fall into the trap of thinking (and stating) they are ‘different’ or ‘better’ than other MSP’s in their area.
When questioned with ‘Why are you better’, most business owners or managers will reply with answers like:
- We have better engineers & teams
- We have better tools
- We have better technology vendors
- Our clients think we are the best
- We can offer better / Cheaper pricing.
Now let’s break these down and look at them in more detail:
Engineers & Team – Yes, having a great team (great people AND skills) is extremely important and one of the most important factors in having a great service offering. HOWEVER, it’s not a USP or a reason why your better. Why? Because any MSP can hire great people and invest to ensure they have great skills.
Tools – Another important factor to the efficiency and quality level of your service offering. Tools like Helpdesks, AV, RMM, automation etc.. all play a key role. HOWEVER, your competitors can buy the same tools!
Tech & Vendors – Partnerships with the likes of Microsoft, hardware vendors, Security partners etc.. add value to your services, and ultimately your clients. HOWEVER, guess what… your competition has the same partners!
Clients – Yes you may have great clients with glowing reviews, but so does your competition.
Pricing – If you are able to undercut competition and be ‘cheaper’ – This isn’t always a good thing. You need to lead with value & service, and if your adding value then your clients shouldn’t be looking for the ‘cheapest’.
What’s the problem with being an ordinary Managed Service Provider?
The problem with being ordinary, is just that.
Your MSP and service offering is ordinary, ‘vanilla’, boring and seen as a cost, rather than a partner that adds value.
Overtime this will compound as new Managed service providers are born & competition grows. This will result in a race to the bottom for the ‘ordinary MSP’ which will impact on revenue, quality of service offering and the relationship with clients (if you keep them).
How can you & your MSP stay relevant, add value & thrive?
The answer is simple, but the execution needs commitment and determination. Once you have your team, service offering, procedures & tools inline and running like a well-oiled machine – You need to find your Niche!
Finding your niche, or owning your ‘space’ will be your differentiator and the opportunity to scale and move your MSP to the next level.
How do you find your Niche?
The answer to this is different for every MSP and MSP owner. You may already have a niche and not know it, or you may need to go looking.
For example, if you look at your existing client base you may find your client base (or a large part of it) are from the same industry, or you may find that you offer a specialist service on top of your standard MSP services that differentiates you from the others.
Look for something different, unique and a strength you already have that you can leverage. If you’re still struggling, get searching. Look at other markets, areas or industries, and look at the MSP’s in that space. Can you do it better?
Find your niche, then FOCUS.
Many MSP’s claim to have a niche, but when examined it’s just another area to add to their growing list of services, areas, industries and mix of clients.
Once you find your niche, focus on it, grow it and own it.
What are the advantages to concentrating on a niche?
When you have found, nurtured and developed your offering around your niche, as you build the client base in this space you will find that:
- Clients are not price focused, they come to you for your experience and quality
- You will receive referrals & recommendations from within your niche.
- Conversations can be about adding value to your clients, and not just re-active IT support
- Overtime the advantages will compound and result in more clients, happier clients, increases leads, better margins and a healthier MSP.