How to compete against other MSPs
The world is a smaller place than it ever has been before, this has allowed more businesses to join the rat race for new clients. It is essential that you learn to put yourself apart from them and always stress the value in your offering to your client base.
Proactively growing your MSP it’s inevitable will bring you face to face with that competition, unlike the referral business that we are all used to where the level of competition is there, but it’s not strong, its usually not a key factor in winning the business if someone is referred to you by someone that they trust.
If you are reaching out to people that don’t know you there is no trust, report, or prior referral, you are likely to be competing against more MSPs. In the remainder of the article, we will explore how and where we can improve how we compete against other MSPS.
So, let’s look at the facts, what are we up against?
- The MSP space is competitive – But you know that, there are a lot of them out there doing the same thing, and most of them are probably doing a reasonable job of fixing things when things break, but there is a lot more to it than that.
- Cultivating new business is tough – Partially because you have a lot of competition and because the audience and customers of MSPs you want to be marketing to will be loyal, it takes a pretty good straw to break that camels back to get someone to switch.
- Differentiating yourself therefore, isn’t a walk in the park – Finding something that stands you apart from the competition, that straw that can break the camels back to get people to entertain switching to your MSP, why are you better? Why are you different? How do you offer a more valued proposition than what they have now?
Address the facts ….
Let’s address those facts, how do we compete? How do we cultivate new business? How do we make the most out of the opportunities we have cultivated? And how do we stand apart from our peers?
The core messages that an MSP would use in its marketing are simply not enough anymore, people don’t know what good or bad looks like, so they have no reason to question there MSP, generally most IT support companies are going to fix a problem when someone needs help. For most end users this is more than enough, if something breaks it gets fixed, great. They don’t think they should be getting more than that even though we all know – and we all pitch in our valued proposition – that we can deliver an awful lot more, if they have no reason to question that because it works then it’s going to take a lot more to open them up.
Probe prospects ….
Because those core messages aren’t enough anymore, you need something punchy of a proposition, your initial sales engagement process with a prospect needs to be quite forensic you need to uncover quite a lot of info to help you propose in the right way.
What do we mean by that?
You need to uncover the issues that lie within your business, what operational and commercial challenges do they have that their incumbent MSP fails to address through tech. Because they don’t know what good or bad looks like they probably haven’t even comprehended that their MSP should probably be involved in these things, so its going to take some digging to get people to talk about there business and how they work operationally.
One size, doesn’t fit all
Because they need something a bit different, you may have to adjust your standard proposition that standard template proposal, and that stack of services that you would always present as the be all and end all, covering absolutely everything they need. Things may need to be changed and altered on a case-by-case basis, tailoring it to the needs that you see in front of you when engaging that prospect.
So when they receive your proposal if it differs from what they have had in the past it may be confusing for them, the may disregard it off hand because they don’t appreciate the value that is contained within it, or they cant compare apples with apples sitting your proposal alongside the contract or invoice they have right now with their current MSP.
It’s hard for them to appreciate what you’re covering and where you may inadvertently look more expensive because you are offering more value, or very incumbent charges for ancillary services separately, maybe they’re not on the original contract that they have the contract they are using to compare like for like with the proposal you have presented them with. Be mindful that stack of services may have to tweak to suite the current pricing model that they have, they need to be able to understand it for you to have a chance of winning the business, or maybe that perfect scenario of you selling everything, the full stack, all the security, all the bolt ons that you want the prospect to have – maybe it’s not appropriate that early on in a relationship to be able to propose all those elements, maybe they need to establish more trust before you can up sell those components, perhaps just sell the core essentials that will address the problems that they have right now against what they have from their incumbent.
Money, money, money ….
Another thought and something that I know the MSP community wont necessary relish this thought, is competing on price, the world is very different things have changed a lot in recent months and years, so there is a need to be more dynamic to change, to shift with the landscape around you the businesses around you, what are they looing for, what are there priorities and concerns, not necessarily shaping a perfect fit market.
The market always changes you have to prepared to change and adapt with that, that may mean that your price or proposition needs to alter and it might be – as we said – altering you proposition to sell in less from the start, so you aren’t necessarily changing your price, you’re just scaling things up over time as you probably have with all of your existing clients, prices have increased, services have added to the portfolio of what they have bought over months and years, rather than on day one.
But where times have changed IT support is changing, people perhaps value it less because things don’t break as often as they used to, or they receive a greater level of support from their SaaS vendors – buying software on subscription now is including more of a level of service than ever before with software bought off the shelf, so there is a lot of other things at play not just competing against other MSPs but the fact the technological landscape is changing, that may mean that you need to consider your price point and how you proposition your service to adapt and keep up with that.
So, what’s next?
While your working toward that perfection it might well be worth considering growing your number like a rabbit model, where you acquire new customers just like you did in the early days, getting anyone and everyone you can onboard to work with to grow the size of your business, get some return on your investment from your marketing, and then evolve and cultivate those relationships over time to turn those not-so-perfect fit customers on day one into perfect fit customers on day one, into those customers over a period of time.
Thank you for reading, we hope you found this information useful – if you are an MSP and you’re looking to grow we’d love to help, please get in touch with our expert team and see how we can help you.
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