The managed services space is growing, and many businesses are well aware of the offerings provided by managed services providers (MSPs).
For example, CompTIA's "Fourth Annual Trends in Managed Services Study," released earlier this year, revealed more than two-thirds of companies said they used the services of an outside IT firm within the past 12 months. The study also showed that slightly more than half of respondents said they were "very familiar" with the concept of managed services, while another 40 percent said they were somewhat familiar.
"While one-time projects account for some of these engagements, a significant portion is ongoing management of one or more IT functions by a managed services provider," CompTIA Senior Director of Industry Analysis Carolyn April said. "There is a much higher degree of familiarity with the term 'managed services' and greater adoption."
Many businesses want managed services, and as an MSP, it is important to educate your customers about the services you provide. In addition, a successful MSP must be able to explain how its services benefit a business - that way, a company can understand and optimize its return on investment (ROI) in an MSP's offerings.
So what does it take to educate your customers about the benefits of managed services? Here are three tips to help you explain how your services work and how they can help your clients:
1. Focus on the End Results
Businesses want results, and an MSP that shows its customers how it can help them achieve their goals can thrive in a highly competitive global marketplace. By doing so, an MSP can deliver a clear, effective message that highlights the benefits of its offerings. These benefits should emphasize the business value your IT services will bring.
Remember: benefits aren't features. Your clients care about user productivity, data security, minimal downtime and stable costs. Individual offerings like patch management, anti-spyware, anti-spam, backup, endpoint security, monitoring and cloud computing may bring about these desirable results, but focus the dialogue instead on revenue and profitability.
2. Be Comfortable with Your Offerings
Understand your services. You shouldn't have any trouble explaining the benefits of them to your customers. An MSP should be comfortable with its offerings and prepared for any questions that may come its way. Plus, identifying business challenges that a customer may face can help an MSP tailor its educational materials (such as case studies, product sheets and white papers) to its target audience.
"MSPs must become supremely comfortable interacting with customers on a business level. This means knowing the business of your customers and being able to ask questions and listen to what causes them pain," MSPAlliance wrote in a blog post. "Once the pain point has been identified, a technical solution to it can be created."
3. Review Your Services Regularly
A good teacher recognizes the importance of reviewing his or her effectiveness. And much in the same way, a successful MSP must review its services regularly to ensure they meet the needs of its customers.
Continuum recommends conducting a "Quarterly Business Review" to assess how an MSP educates customers about its services. This review can include an examination of:
- Common problems your customers have faced
- How customers used your services
- Customer feedback
Review your services, and you can better understand their effectiveness. And ultimately, you'll be able to determine the best possible way to educate your customers about your offerings and ensure they get the support they need.
By Meaghan Moraes
By Frank Bauer