MSP IT Services in SLC
A managed service provider (MSP) delivers network, application, system and e-management services across a network to multiple enterprises, using a “pay as you go” pricing model. A “pure play” MSP focuses on management services as its core offering. In addition, the MSP market includes offerings from other providers — including application service providers (ASPs), Web hosting companies and network service providers (NSPs) — that supplement their traditional offerings with management services.
No one doubts that developing a comprehensive sales and marketing strategy has been a struggle for many MSPs, particularly smaller companies founded by engineers that have tended to emphasize technical skills and rely strictly on word of mouth to win clients to their business.
“Most MSPs are led by individuals with strong technical skills but little formal training in, or understanding of, sales and the sales process,” said Peter Kujawa, president of Locknet Managed IT Services, an MSP based in Onalaska, Wis., and a division of EO Johnson Business Technologies. “I find that many of these MSPs look at sales as a low-skill occupation and something that anyone should be able to do, and this is not correct. Great salespeople and sales managers are every bit as skilled as great technical employees.”
As MSPs find a way to transition from a customer referrals-based business to a more formalized sales and marketing practice, they also have to keep up with customer demands for new technology. With the rise of cloud computing, the elevated concern over cyberattacks and the emergence of other technologies such as mobile devices and big data analytics, MSPs are finding that customers are more tech savvy and their IT demands are constantly changing.
Selling IT to customers has also changed. In recent years there’s been a shift from selling products to selling services which requires a different sales and marketing model from the one used by other channel businesses such as value-added resellers (VARs).
“When VARs were dominating the channel they had well established sales teams,” said Charles Weaver, CEO of the MSPAlliance. “When managed services came along, the relationship and the dynamic changed dramatically.”
If MSPs are to embark on a successful sales and marketing strategy a new paradigm is needed — one that requires a more intimate relationship with customers, Weaver said. He also noted MSPs need to recognize that even a $100,000 piece of hardware or software can be acquired faster than a $5,000-per-month managed service contract.
“You can’t sell a managed service in the same way that you would sell a server,” Weaver said. “There’s a difference between buying a product and buying trust — the trust that a customer needs when they turn over … access to their data… to an MSP. That’s what MSPs need to fully comprehend.”