Posts Tagged security

5 Mistakes Managed Service Providers Should Avoid

IStock_000005290011Small If you are looking for ways to succeed as an MSP, there is plenty advice available to help you in your endeavor.  While it is important to know what you should be doing to position your company for growth, you should also know what mistakes to avoid that can put your business on the fast track to failure.  Here we look at five common mistakes made by Managed Service Providers that limit their opportunities for success.

  1. Selling expertise you lack – This can be chalked up to common sense, yet many Managed Service Providers are so eager to bring in new clients they end up making promises they cannot possibly keep. Focus your sales approach on services, solutions and technologies which you have the expertise to support. The latest trend in technology may bring in more clients, however if you cannot integrate that technology into their business, you are selling your clients and yourself short.
  2. Having a one-size fits all mentality – This is especially true for VARs that have made the switch to the Managed Services model. Although the client structure might remain the same, you cannot simply shift your focus and assume things will fall into place. You are no longer providing a product only, but rather a relationship that requires a long-term commitment. You must be able to work closely with each client and provide customized services and solutions that meet their individual needs.
  3. Not being on top of the game – You cannot keep clients happy if you allow them to spot problems in the relationship. This is not a "set it and forget it" type of business. You must monitor your services closely to ensure everything is working as promised and as expected. Otherwise if you wait until your client notices a problem, you will have damaged the relationship by causing them to question your ability to provide the services they need to operate smoothly.
  4. Selling products versus relationships – When you sell a product you focus on the technology and performance of the product to date. You might push the reputation of the manufacturer. All of this is good when you are selling only a product, however Managed Service Providers sell much more than technology. You must also sell the reliability of your organization and the expertise of your staff. Your client must know that you are able and willing to use the technology in a way that will help pre-empt problems or help rectify those that occur expeditiously along the way.
  5. Simplified monitoring – Your clients count on you to keep their business up and running. In many cases, the entire point of engaging a Managed Service Provider is to eliminate the need for the business owner, manager or staff to deal with common problems. Successful Managed Service Providers use extensive proactive processes and tools to maintain service and business continuity, as opposed to those that offer "monitoring only" services that identify a problem and simply report it to the client. A robust monitoring and maintenance service will uncover opportunities to either improve your clients' businesses or rectify problems before they impact system and service availability.

Managed Service Providers are not unlike most other businesses in that they must provide their services as promised.  The increased effort you put forth to set yourself apart from your competitors will be rewarded with long-term clients who count on you to keep their businesses operating at maximum efficiency.

Erick Simpson
MSP University
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Posted in: General Business

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How to Market Yourself as a Managed Services Expert

IStock_000005807880Medium[1] According to Webster's, marketing is “the process or technique of promoting, selling and distributing a product or service”. The same source defines an expert as “one with special skill or knowledge representing mastery of a particular subject”. So how do you take these two definitions and apply them to the world of managed services? The answer can seem surprisingly simple, but in actuality can take years upon years of practice and study. I would venture to say that it would apply to anything in life, equally as well as managed services.

Being the Expert

First and foremost we will discuss being an expert. If you are going to claim to be an “expert” at anything, make sure that you can back up the claim with cold hard facts. If you are going to profess to have a “mastery of a particular subject” you are best suited to actually know everything there is to know about the subject; past, present and future. This is the part that could take years of hard work and dedication. A sure fire way to completely fail in any marketing campaign is to be perceived as a fraud. Do not make the mistake of claiming something that is false. The ramifications of this could be worse than a failed marketing campaign and could actually have a reverse effect. A basic principle in any type of sales is that consumers buy with trust. If that trust is broken or violated in any way, sales will suffer. More than anything else trust and honesty help make sales.

Marketing

Assuming that you have the expertise and all the technical skills one can imagine, the second part of the equation will deal with marketing. The key to understanding marketing is communication; you have to be able to communicate that message to your audience. Some time and study must be given to the art of communicating, both in writing and oral presentation.

For some people, speaking publicly comes naturally and without any effort at all, for others the sheer thought of speaking in front of more than just one person sends them into panic. In either case one should enroll in some sort of formal “public speaking” class or program. You will find that these are available rather inexpensively at practically every community college. 

As far as writing skills are concerned, the same community colleges offer courses in basic writing skills, there are also various online programs. Mastery of both components of effective communication simply requires practice. If you've taken a public speaking class but still feel the jitters (which is common in almost everyone) get more practice. Practice in front of family, friends, coworkers, random groups of strangers on the street corner, on the train, in the mall – anyone will suffice. If you have taken a basic writing skills course, but still sit in front of the keyboard blankly staring at the screen, unable to put your thoughts into words, practice. Practice by writing letters and emails to friends and family, writing a personal journal, and blog. Just make sure that when doing so, you are incorporating basic writing skills, no acronyms here.

Marketing as a Managed Services Expert

Understanding how to market yourself as a managed services expert is simple, be an expert communicator and be an expert in all subject matter pertaining to managed services. And remember – being an expert in these areas is going to take time, hard work and dedication; as would being an expert at anything.  

Leverage MSP University to help you become that expert!

Erick Simpson
MSP University
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Subscribe to our Newsletter here
Join MSP University FREE for all things Managed Services
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Posted in: General Business, Marketing

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