I got a very nice pm regarding a recent post, saying that a recent explanation of how I do things was super cleaetc. As a "Thank you" to this person, I thought I'd detail how, no matter what business I'm working in, how the team develops a unique offering in a crowded space. I'm going to also pepper this with actual msp clients, though not by name, in terms of how they've applied this methodology to their businesses.
In the MSP space, there are givens. Everyone expects you to have RMM, backups, support, etc, completely nailed down. This was NOT the case even 5 years ago, but is now. IF YOU ARE STILL MENTIONING THEM IN YOUR PITCH - your pitch sucks. If you are talking about "Managed Services" and "Automation," it's boring, and the same dude that shows up wearing a suit he's obviously uncomfortable in after
you from your competitor is going to say the same stuff. Point - accept that this does NOT distinguish you/your business, and move on. I have helped at least 20 people in this sub alone STOP talking about this boring stuff that literally no one cares about. If you heard the recordings of their initial pitches, you'd laugh as much as they do now. It was "We do this/we do that/our system/blah blah blah." It sucks, and they came to us b/c they weren't getting more than a couple clients per year.
The MSP space has become crowded with people that are either "Ok" or great with tech, but have zero idea how to run a business. This is a side effect of working in one of the last markets that is still somewhat shrowded in secrecy. Remember years ago when you installed SBS2011 or whatever and it was basically "Next" about 25 times, and the server was done? The best part was, the client though you were amazing?! Those days are gone. There are people running businesses that read posts HERE and, sorry to some of you, have lost faith in tech people. Their experience is some disheveled inarticulate tech shows up and "Googles for answers." If these folks are selling to other IT folks, then the tech works. Then the graphs/pics work. Right now, the guys who run "10 million per year msp's" yet have the time to post 50 times a day in this sub are saying, "Yup - you gotta sell to them under the guise of 'We'll get rid oft he problems so you can focus on your business.'" Nope, that's what everyone and their mom started doing about 3 years ago.
The key to getting rid of your pricing challenges, and creating a business that will grow is distinction and uniqueness, and everyone seems to have problems figuring this out. I have news for you; reading what the hive is doing is the worst thing you can do. Keep in mind; many of the people who post here are completely bs'ing about how big/large their firms are. One of the things everyone at LS jokes about is when people at IT Nation/etc reveal their handles, the numbers they tell you they're doing in person are WAAAY different than what their posts say. My point is, to differentiate, follow a model/exoskeleton; NOT someone's post about why webroot works for them.
Here's exactly what we did at my msp two years ago:
- Msp market is kinda screwed b/c while the competition is increasing en masse, the need is dwindling.
- We are fantastic at prospecting.
- Our engagement numbers (Net promoteetc) are world class.
- Our attrition is non existent. This means that not only can we continue to stack business in, we can also sell to an extremely loyal client base.
- What can we offer that would really benefit small businesses that requires time and expertise? Think about this for a second. What we did NOT evaluate was "What product can we resell b/c Channel Mentor says it's hot?" What we did NOT evaluate was whatever dumb sponsored podcast was going around that week.
- We came up with a list of two columns; items where we have expertise, items where we don't.
- We spent nearly $5000 surveying businesses around the country via phone and email. We realized that on a couple of our ideas, we were right on. Most of them were WAY off. In other words, what we thought businesses would care about was NOT what they cared about.
- For the items which people reacted strongly to, we spent months developing an offering, training the team, and even hiring additional resources to staff/back it.
- We put together a platform around the new services and branded it. We spent months on learning how to explain it in under 20 seconds. Yes - MONTHS.
- We marked propsects I'd be meeting with anyhow for trial selling. We did ok, but needed to further refine it. We did, and all the sudden, it started picking up steam quite quickly.
- I realize that most of you can't do this one, but at one of my other businesses we contacted the other msp's in town and had them come pitch to us. Not a single one of them said anything like we were saying. Now we had proof that we truly stood apart in terms of the pitching process.
You can't bullshit your way around this work. You can't just sign up to resell someone else's crap and think you're going to triple your revenue. In this business you've effectively been lied to into thinking it's easy to scale quickly. Virtually every other market has to go through these types of exercises, on the regular, to continue to stand out.
Now, time for some concrete stuff to hopefully help you dial it in.
- One of our msp clients said he really wanted to focus his business around Azure. I asked him, "That's great, buy why would a client care?" I helped him over the months develop a really cool way of building up a number of services in Azure that would help his clients, which are primarily multi site construction companies, implement poweresource management. He still does all the stuff you do; rmm/support/etc, but he never mentions it. He's effectively made you and anyone else an also ran, just with a much slower time and dull uniform.
- Another msp client really wanted to provide ridiculous client service. He's got the mindset of say a Zappos/etc. I said to him, "That's great, but why would a client care? These days, pretty much everyone provides great and fast support." His response, "They do, but I'm going to focus on being present at the client site." I said again, "That's great, but why/how?" He came up with a plan to combine standard managed services, phones, security systems, security cameras, and onsite visits plus his showstopper, creating business processes for his clients, into an offering. Again - he never mentions the crap. He is driving HIS clients's businesses further.
- Another msp client was really interested in going after 250 plus seat clients, and eradicating the need for actual onsite IT. Now, most of you come with the "Blah, it's always faster to have someone there/etc." He went berserk on Linked In, and ended up having lunch with 42 different execs in town in the name of researching this solution. He defined the appointment so they knew what they were getting into/etc, and got a LOT of great info. The number one complaint he heard was "Our guys are really good, but I feel like they only know our environment; they don't know what else is out there." As you can imagine, he's built a business around doing exactly that; the speed of an onsite person, with the consultive aspects of an msp.
None of these msp's, since implementing this strategy, have done less than double their business. Specifically, "Mr. Azure" is CRUSHING it.
My goal here today was to thank the poster who was kind enough to send me a positive message. I realize this isn't the easiest thing to grasp, but not everyone is meant for above average success. It takes time. It takes an edge. It takes being willing to not follow what everyone else is doing so that when the race starts, you're the red jersey versus 150 other brown ones.
Sit down this weekend and ask yourself this question; if the whale prospect in town asked you, "Why should I use you for our outsourced IT firm," what would you say? I know exactly
what I'd say, and more importantly, I know no one else is gonna say it, and we know exactly how to accomplish it.