I've spent a lot of my time working closely with MSP business owners—strategizing on sales and marketing—over the course of my career. If there's one particular trap that I see people constantly fall into when it comes to selling managed services, that I believe is absolutely worth exploring, it's not selling on their value.
Before we dive in, consider the following questions:
- Do you feel like your clients often see you as a commodity rather than a technology partner?
- Do you feel like your clients often see your services as something of a "necessary evil" in terms of their own business, rather than as innovative tools that they can use to build a competitive advantage?
- Do you often deal with clients who are quick to leave you for a competitor, even though your services are objectively important to what they're trying to do?
If you answered "yes" to any or all of these questions, I've got some bad news for you: you're still selling managed services based on what they can do, as opposed to selling them based on why they're so important in the first place. In short, you're communicating specs, not value.
The Finer Points of Selling on Value
In order to properly sell your managed services based on value, you need to stop thinking about how the services function and start communicating what it can do for your customers. Technical specifications are important, sure—but in order to really illustrate how important something is, you need to take things one step further.
To illustrate this idea, let's use the example of an MSP selling cyber security services—one of the most important issues of the modern era. The average cost of a single consolidated data breach continues to rise every year, so this is a problem that will only get worse before it gets better.
So, your instinct might be to talk about how cyber security works; how you use advanced intrusion detection, real-time scanning, permission-based rules and other elements of that nature to lock down a network and make sure it stays safe.
This is all important, yes—but again, you need to go one step further than this. Instead, talk about:
- How with the right profile and protection services, you can help your customers break free of the "one size fits all" approach to cyber security. You can come up with something that both protects their network and works within the unique makeup of their business at the same time.
- All of the restless nights they WON'T have worrying about some last minute intrusion, because real-time monitoring will instantly send key stakeholders an alert if something comes up.
- How you can support the way their business is continuing to grow and evolve with an enterprise-grade endpoint solution, support for BYOD (bring your own device) infrastructures and more—all while stopping problems today before they have a chance to become much bigger ones tomorrow.
This is how you move beyond the technical specifications and start selling based on the real value that you're bringing to the table. Provided that you understand not only what someone needs but why, you can hone in on that and really bring those qualities to the forefront.
This is how you need to think about all of your managed services—both individually and in terms of the larger collective that they represent. You need to be able to contextualize things against the backdrop of "here is how X, Y or Z solutions will move your business closer to your long-term objectives." Make no mistake about it: in the 21st century, this is how sales are made.
If you're able to master the art of selling based on value rather than continuing to fall back on the "bundle of goods" approach, you'll unlock a number of core benefits essentially all at the same time. First, clients will no longer see you as a commodity—they'll start to view you as the true strategic partner in their own success that you really are.
In turn, this will dramatically reduce the risk of them leaving you for a competitor, because they won't just see where their money is going—they'll finally be able to clearly see the actual return on investment that you provide.
Striking the Emotional Chord
At my MSP marketing company, we've seen things change a great deal in the past few years alone—including not only what the modern day buyer is actively looking for, but why it's so important.
Simply put, if you feel like you're trapped in the daily marketing grind and aren't generating the results you need, you're probably still trying to sell a bundle of goods rather than what that bundle of goods can do for your customer. Only by honing in on the raw, tangible value that you offer will you be able to strike the emotional chord you need when you need it the most.
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