Three Ways MSPs Invest in Success

David Weeks, N-able
Author: David Weeks

Elite MSPs invest in success. They hire smart and continuously train their people to maintain top technical talent. They document processes and establish best practices. They find ways to engage and learn more about their clients and prospects. In today’s competitive environment, covering off the basics and delivering managed IT services isn’t enough to make a relationship stick.

To become one of today’s elite MSPs, channel partners must play IT smarter, keep the communication lines open between associates, partners and customers, and find actionable ways to up their game. Here’s a little more depth on how to put all three of these tactics into play:

1. Focus on Client Success

As you engage with your customers, remember that selling isn’t your ultimate goal: helping them solve their near-and long-term business challenges is, along with ensuring you work to protect their revenue streams. So, focus on empowering clients to excel at their jobs, their businesses and maintaining productivity of their staff, and you’ll be able to gain their trust – which is always a catalyst for future sales.

As an example, make sure technology adoption goes as planned, and work with your clients every step of the way to ensure that the technology investments they’ve made are being fully used. Shelf ware is never an option for a world-class MSP. In fact, effective adoption is essential to the customer experience, and it allows you to be the hero as technology implementation performs beyond the client’s expectations.

If adoption is your goal, then your role becomes much more than that of an MSP. In fact, you are a virtual CIO. And that means you have to behave like one. Your job is to serve as a business strategist as well as a technology and solutions expert—from day one of the engagement.

2. Communicate Clearly, Frequently & Proactively

Keep your client relationships healthy and growing by communicating frequently and working proactively. Understand that there’s no such thing as “business as usual.” Always be ready for change in the client’s IT environment—and within their workplace. When a major outage or breach occurs – and shows even the slightest chance of impacting clients – reach out to them early with an action plan.

Regular meetings are also critical because they allow you to gain insight into clients’ needs. Follow a consistent schedule that maps to their preferences, whether weekly, monthly or quarterly. Beyond providing a technology update, these meetings will yield insight into their business, including new developments and decision makers, as well as allowing you, the MSP, to align technology investments to strategic goals of your customer’s growth plans. They also give you the opportunity to ask clients how they like the services you are providing, and if the technology investments they’ve made are working as planned, and provide opportunities for further upsell and cross sell.

Also, be clear about deadlines: establish a system of accountability within your practice, with self-imposed deadlines that your team consistently follows. Always take ownership of delivering an exceptional customer experience, and accept full responsibility for meeting and exceeding clients’ expectations. Above all, don’t forget to ensure that your entire team sees the customer experience in the same light.

3. Be Genuinely Professional

MSPs that are in growth mode must follow consistent and well-defined business processes. Use a Professional Services Automation (PSA) platform to guide the operations side of your business as you seek to abide by best practices and showcase your efficiency. Remote monitoring and management (RMM) solutions can also bring you powerful IT automation to modernize and streamline the way you deliver managed services, while allowing you to scale out your business. These systems should include comprehensive reporting tools that spotlight your great work and the value you deliver, which is important -- because much of what MSPs do is “invisible” to clients. Reports also allow you to make a business case for future needs as you shed light on ongoing problem areas, aging equipment, change management, risk mitigation and more.

As you build up your MSP tool set, don’t become inflexible. Meeting each client’s needs may require that you customize billing, or even that you modify the way you approach their unique business and IT needs with services.

At a time when the customer experience trumps all things, there’s no down side to adding professionalism, personalization and new social and business skills to your practice. Do the above three things consistently and with the right attitude, and you’ll see customer retention rise.

David Weeks is global channel sales manager for SolarWinds MSP. Read more SolarWinds MSP guest blogs here.