Business Struggles, Media Preferences, and Lifestyle Habits of Today’s MSPs

Author: Datto’s Rob Rae
Author: Rob Rae

Curious to learn about the faces behind today’s IT Channel? At Datto, we recently surveyed 1200+ managed service providers (MSPs) on everything from business challenges to media preferences. Our goal was to gain a deeper understanding of the businesses we’re working with each and every day. We uncovered a lot of common trends between MSPs, in business and lifestyle habits alike. Below are just a few of the interesting results we discovered.

Vertical Specialization

We’ve always been interested to learn how MSPs are segmenting out their services. It is common for some MSPs to focus on one or two verticals, while others focus on quite a few. As expected, we learned that 64% of MSPs specialize in a specific vertical. So, while the majority are focusing on one or two verticals, there are still a good number of MSPs out there focusing on many. Of the verticals today’s MSPs are going after, Professional Services, Manufacturing, and Healthcare were the most popular.

Top Business Challenges

For today’s MSPs, the number one business challenge to overcome is Marketing and Sales. This result makes sense, as MSPs are highly technical, focused on service offerings, and providing superb customer service. Not all MSPs have designated marketing departments. Lead generation and finding sales talent were among the highlights listed in this challenge.

In second place was Selling Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR) solutions. Pitching BDR to prospects can be challenging, as many potential customers don’t see the immediate need for it, and subscribe to the, “It can’t happen to me,” notion when it comes to downtime. MSPs also reported that pricing objections by prospects and qualifying leads added to this hurdle.

Media Consumption

Few surprises here! The majority of MSPs prefer the Internet as a source to find their favorite media. Following the Internet was television and gaming. Additionally, 57% of MSPs report tuning into podcasts frequently. Among their favorite podcasts are Freakonomics, Serial, Marketplace, and Planet Money.

MSPs also dished on their favorite Channel publications -- ChannelE2E being named among the top sources for updates. Top tech sites included CNet, TechRepublic, and InformationWeek. Business site preferences called out Forbes, Entrepreneur, and Fast Company to name a few. Reddit was also mentioned as a one-stop shop for networking with peers and staying abreast of industry and tech news.

Social Media Habits

In the age of social media, MSPs reported Facebook as the top platform being accessed on a daily basis. Following was LinkedIn. Just over 50% of MSPs are spending less than an hour a day on social media sites, but 11% reported spending 3-4 hours. That’s A LOT of social media consumption!


Takeaways from Datto’s 2017 State of the MSP Report span even further than the trends mentioned above. We also focused in on demographics, commuting habits, the number of clients, sources for evaluating new services, and much more. If you’d like to learn more about today’s MSPs, read the report here.

Rob Rae is VP of Business Development at Datto. Read more Datto guest blogs here.