Build Your MSP Business with Co-Managed IT Solutions: Start the Conversation with Clients

Build Your MSP Business with Co-Managed IT Solutions: Start the Conversation with Clients

Marketopia CEO Terry Hedden (@thedden03) left the sunshine state last week and braved the cold of the Midwest. He did receive a warm reception, though, speaking at the IP Pathways’ 2016 IT Trends Event during three days in Des Moines, Iowa, Kansas City, Missouri and Omaha, Nebraska.

At each presentation, midmarket CIOs in attendance were able to learn about:

  • The changes in the IT business
  • How IT is delivered
  • Ways clients adapt to IT approaches to remain relevant

 

Terry’s presentation included CompTIA research that gave insight to how mid-markets and enterprises view and use managed service providers (MSPs) for IT services.

MSPs can also benefit from this intelligence. You can gain a better understanding of your prospective clients, enabling you to better position your business for success. Here’s a summary of Terry’s presentation entitled “Trends in Mid-Market & Enterprise Use of Managed Service Providers.”

 

Challenges Midmarket & Enterprise Firms Face with MSPs

More than 90% of end-user businesses are “very familiar” or “somewhat familiar” with the managed services model. However, 51% of those businesses don’t outsource any of their IT functions. The reason is that many have concerns about outsourcing business functions.

 

Top Inhibitors of Managed Services Adoptions:

  • Skepticism over cost savings/return on investment (ROI)
  • General lack of need
  • Reluctance to outsource to an outside company
  • Perceived loss of control by IT or operations staff
  • Concern over disruptions during transition
  • Difficulty finding a qualified MSP
  • Concerns about pulling IT back in house if things go wrong
  • Lack of understanding of how an MSP works in a real-world setting
  • Overcoming a negative experience with an MSP or IT outsourcing

 

How Midmarket & Enterprise Firms Are Using MSPs

Even though these concerns exist, a CompTIA study shows that 50% of businesses not currently using managed services will consider using an outside IT firm in the future. Already, 15% are now evaluating an outside IT firm.

Businesses are beginning to realize that with an MSP, they have the ability to offload work that they can’t do or that they don’t want to do. The benefits are outweighing businesses’ concerns, and many are moving towards outsourcing IT services.

 

Primary Factors Driving End-User Managed Services:

  • Improved efficiency
  • Enhanced security
  • Proactive approach to maintenance
  • Better ROI
  • Access to new technologies
  • Lack in-house IT for certain functions
  • Predictable pricing

 

Many businesses that already have an in-house IT team recognize that they cannot manage IT by themselves. They don’t have the resources or they simply don’t have enough time in the day. Essentially, they need more hands. In those cases, co-managed IT services makes sense.

By understanding the concerns and the primary factors that drive end-user managed services, MSPs can start the right conversations with prospective clients. You can easily give them peace of mind by settling their concerns.

Three phrases that should always resonate the most when it comes to sharing the benefits of co-managing and collaborating between an MSP and client are:

  • Reduce costs
  • Do more with less
  • Decrease, or even eliminate, downtime

 

At the end of the day, the more businesses know about your MSP business, the more likely they are to understand the full spectrum of benefits and see the necessity of co-managed IT services.

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Here’s Another Way to Grow Your MSP Business: Transition to Sell Cloud

Here’s Another Way to Grow Your MSP Business: Transition to Sell Cloud

We were on the road again last week. This time on the West Coast in sunny California. Los Angeles to be exact. We were invited by our partner CompTIA to help present a five-module cloud training course for attendees to earn their Executive Certificate in Cloud.

Marketopia CEO Terry Hedden (@thedden03) led the sales module. It was entitled “Selling Your Cloud Solutions.” He spoke directly to those who are new to selling cloud solutions or simply want to improve their results.

In case you weren’t able to make it out to LA last week, we’ve broken down and truncated Terry’s presentation here so you can also rake in the benefits of making a successful transition to selling cloud solutions.

 

Evolve Your Sales Team & Process

When you make the move to selling cloud solutions and cloud management services, you will quickly realize that to be successful, you need to make a few changes to how you sell.

However, if you take in and execute each of the following steps, you’ll be well on your way to joining the best-in-class solution providers who have already successfully embraced the cloud business transformation.

 

New Sales Model: There are two different sales paths you can take.

  • An integrated approach is when an existing sales team represents cloud solutions.
  • A separate approach establishes a separate cloud-focused sales group.

 

Sales Team Makeup & Skills: In order to develop an effective cloud sales team, there are three different types of roles you need to put in place.

Consultative Sales Executives – Focus on finding what’s right for the client. In the integrated model, they will understand when an on-premise solution is a better fit.
Inside Sales Team – This team is well-versed in selecting cloud solution opportunities based on their understanding of their clients.
Account Managers – They help nurture the recurring revenue stream associated with cloud solutions being sold.

 

Updated Sales Messages: After you make the move to cloud, your sales team will be engaging in new conversations with prospective clients. There are four primary messages they must convey:

  • Access to New Solutions
  • Lower Total Costs
  • Operating Expenses (OPEX) vs. Capital Expenditure (CAPEX)
  • Business Growth

 

Stronger Sales Process: You will also need to adjust your sales process. Specifically:

  • Demand Generation – Identify well-qualified leads.
  • Sales Close – Have a sales team that sticks to the script and doesn’t negotiate.
  • Account Management – Renewals are critical for the recurring sales model.

 

Sales Compensation: Opposed to the traditional IT sale, selling cloud delivers its revenue on a steady subscription instead of a one-time payment. This leads to new ways to pay your sales team. Whether it’s annuity payments, up-front disbursements or incentives, you have to discover which one will work best for your team and business.

It’s no secret that nowadays the cloud is affecting all businesses. Current and potential cloud clients can be identified across the entire spectrum from small business to mid-size business to the enterprise. No matter which client segment your managed service provider business serves, there’s plenty of opportunity through offering public, private or hybrid cloud solutions.

Of course, these companies are looking to grow. Access to previously unavailable technologies is allowing them to improve their business efficiency. Because cloud service adaptation is increasing faster than many expected a few years ago, now’s the time for your MSP business to embrace the transformation to selling cloud.

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ChannelCon 2015: Writing Effectively to Supercharge Your Marketing & Sales Efforts

ChannelCon 2015: Writing Effectively to Supercharge Your Marketing & Sales Efforts

Our CMO, Andra Hedden, got back to the office several days ago after an action-packed trip to CompTIA ChannelCon 2015 in Chicago. This is one of her favorite events of the year. It gave her and our CEO, Terry Hedden, a chance to not only meet with a good mix of current partners and prospects, but also sit down with a variety of IT thought-leaders to share views on the future of the industry and focus on growing the reseller and vendor communities.

ChannelCon’s aim is to bring the entire channel together for this three-day event and to attend high- level executive panel discussions, participate in training courses and leverage opportunities to grow your business and develop new partnerships. We had the privilege of speaking during an hour-long session entitled: “The Writing Side of Sales.”

In attendance for our session was Spencer Smith, associate editor of TechTarget. Afterward, he filed an article summarizing our presentation. He accurately depicted Marketopia’s message that it’s the details that make your MSP business stand out from your competitor, even when it comes to writing and designing your marketing and sales collateral.

Following is a truncated version of the article Spencer posted August 5, 2015, the last day of the event. You can read the complete, published version here.

 

CompTIA ChannelCon: Marketing, sales collateral checklist

“Right now, more than ever, marketing is a huge differentiator” for channel companies, (Andra) Hedden said. “Obviously, we had years previously where marketing kind of fell off a little bit. … Now, we are in a pendulum swing … where marketing is truly what is going to lead your differentiation between you and your competitor.”

Hedden (CMO at the St. Petersburg-based MSP marketing firm) and Marketopia define collateral broadly. According to Hedden, it’s any of the materials used during the sales process and that describe your company, including proposals.

Before a partner creates or revamps its marketing and sales collateral, the company needs to have a clear understanding of what it provides its customers. Additionally, a partner should understand what types of problems it solves, what its business goals are and how they help its customers. … If done right, marketing and sales collateral should instill comfort and confidence in your clients.

 

Marketing and sales checklist

Hedden provided the following checklist of sales and marketing elements that all partners, regardless of company size, should have in place:

• A website. While it’s unlikely many partners today don’t have websites, Hedden emphasized how important those websites are. She also said partners should have a website, as well as a search engine optimization strategy and promoted search engine marketing.

• A brochure. Your brochure should be “a depiction of what you sell … in terms that your clientele is going to understand,” Hedden said.

• Business cards. According to Hedden, partners should optimize their business cards for the sales process. Ensure each employee’s business cards will clearly show whoever receives them what they can call on that employee for.

• White papers and e-books.

• Industry and solutions sell sheets.

• Client-facing presentations. “It’s extremely important to have items in your arsenal of sales support that are very specific to whom you’re selling to,” Hedden said. “When you’re talking to customers, they need to know you understand the rules and regulations of the vertical that they’re in. They need to know that you really get the infrastructure that they have in place right now so you can actually implement this new solution.”

• Quotes for hardware and software. Proposals for services, including hourly, managed services and cloud. Hedden recommended partners prepare every type of proposal template they’ll need ahead of time, so when an opportunity presents itself, their sales reps can quickly customize the template for the client and move forward with the sales process. “Proposals make you more trustworthy,” she said.

• Network assessments and audits. Network assessments are a “form of marketing” and a great way for partners to show their expertise, according to Hedden. She suggested offering network assessments and audits “in a consumable fashion so (clients) understand what it is you’re trying to portray to them and why you’re giving them this audit so you can in turn sell them whatever the product or solution is.”

• Marketing campaign elements. “If you’re not doing marketing campaigns, you should be. … Yes, you can be found online, but if no one hears from you, if you’re not getting top-of-mind (attention) in campaigns, it’s really tough for your sales reps. Your sales reps need to be having warm leads out there,” she said.

 

Customer perceptions

Each of these elements weaves together into a portrait of your company, contributing to your customers’ perception of who you are, Hedden said. It’s important that everything you do across your business is consistent, precise and “a reflection of whom you are.”

She added everyone in the partner business needs to be on board in terms of branding and messaging, so when they’re speaking to customers or prospects, “they understand what they’re portraying … and they are a good representation of your company.”

You can read TechTarget Associate Editor Spencer Smith’s complete, published version of this article here.

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