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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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7 Questions to Ask Prospects About Their Break/Fix Approach

Posted July 26, 2016by Jaq Baldwin

7-questions-to-ask-prospects-about-their-break-fix-approach.jpg 

When I speak to business owners and leaders about managed services, I'm often confronted with the argument that they are perfectly content with their current "we call when we have a problem" (also known as a break/fix) model. Many incorrectly believe that they're already receiving managed IT services. 

As MSPs, you and I already know why this model is so problematic. Break/fix models present several problems, but there are a few key points you can make to successfully counter this line of thinking. 

So what's the problem? Your customer says, "We already have a managed services agreement. We have an IT guy that takes care of this stuff on the side. We call on Bob whenever we need him and he comes out and takes care of us. We don't need an IT Services company like Southern Data Solutions." 

Now, Bob sounds like a great guy, but as an MSP myself, I would encourage you to start a dialogue with business owners who may be inclined to keep their break/fix approach or those who mistakenly believe they're working with an MSP. Get them to take a second look at their technology support needs by asking these prospects the following seven questions: 

1. Is your current IT guy able to make sure you're proactively cared for and secure from cyber attacks? 

2. Would you know about a server outage that happened in the middle of the night on a Saturday, or would you wake up Monday morning to find your business offline?

3. Are you able to get support when you need it, or is it "first come first serve" as you compete with all of your IT guy's other customers and projects? 

4. Does your IT guy nickel and dime you with every ticket or request you make? Does he furthermore charge you for the time he spends researching your issues? 

5. Is there any kind of predictable cost model or do you see the need for support spike at times your business needs to be up and running the most? 

6. Is management of critical tasks such as patching, OS updates, service packs and other critical updates being performed, or is it constantly a reactive situation? 

7. Is there a service level agreement (SLA) in place that you can hold "Bob" to and guarantee response times?  


Take your customers by the hand (assuming you've won their trust) and lead them down the realization of what makes a true managed IT services solution so much different and so much more valuable than a reactive break/fix model. In order to educate them about the need for a steady and reliable team of individuals delivering support 24x7, you have to get them to lay the foundation. Leverage these seven discovery questions in your next sales conversation to help uncover new opportunities. You may find that business owners are working with break/fix providers masquerading as MSPs. Once you expose this misconception and convince them that they've outgrown this level of service, you'll be perfectly primed to win wayward prospects over in the end!

The Definitive Guide to Managed IT Services [eBook] 

Jaq Baldwin is a Sales Professional at Southern Data Solutions in Alpharetta, Georgia. He loves working with his customers to provide IT solutions that reduce risk, cost, and liability while increasing productivity and better use of technology in the business world. He loves running, blogging, and watching terrible Sci-Fi movies late at night. Follow him @JaqTech, visit his blog Marathon Sales, or his company Southern Data Solutions to stay in touch.

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