If you’re an MSP that’s doing a good job for your clients — keeping servers up and running, preventing harmful malware or ransomware from infecting the network, correcting system failures before the client even notices — your customers may start taking your work for granted.
When everything is running smoothly, it can be hard to remember just how painful and costly it can be when things aren’t going well. It’s when all is well that customers start to question why they’re paying you to maintain systems and applications that appear to be running just fine. They want to know exactly what value you’re providing.
Shouldn’t this be self-evident? Shouldn’t the results speak for themselves? Unfortunately, when it comes to managed services, they often don’t. That means that you, the MSP, needs to proactively demonstrate and communicate exactly what benefits you’ve delivered to your clients.
If you’re not sure where to start, or you’re struggling with certain aspects of this, you’re not alone. Here are a few best practices to consider:
Help clients see the big picture: Don’t get bogged down in explaining the value of every feature and function; you’ll put your customers to sleep. Show them how you’re solving their ongoing problems (or remind them of how much better things are than when you started, if that’s the case). Explain how you’re addressing their pain points and provide specific metrics (preferably with time and cost savings included).
Put a price tag on downtime: As part of those value metrics, make sure you explain the amount of downtime they may experience without your services, and outline the true cost of that downtime to their operation in both wasted labor, repair expenses, and lost business. Lost productivity is a killer for most organizations, so explain just how you are keeping their employees operating efficiently without interruption.
Emphasize the value of a predictable budget: Managed services also provide an economic benefit in shifting costs from the CAPEX to OPEX budget and providing a predictable expense every month instead of a big bill every time there’s a failure. They can budget and plan more effectively around your services, while saving money long-term by not experiencing the type of catastrophic failures that could blow up their budget otherwise.When talking to clients, make sure to explain the big picture. How are you solving their problems? How much money do they save by having your services? Click To Tweet
Discuss these topics regularly: MSPs may hesitate to let their clients know just how often things go wrong in the course of a week and how many times they’ve had to correct problems. But this is exactly what those clients need to see — a weekly or monthly report on the health of their systems, the number of incidents, and what was done to mitigate those problems will give them a clear view of exactly how much work you are doing to support them.
It also gives you a chance to let them know, when they ask about the various issues in that report, that you have successfully taken care of those problems.
Part of your reporting should also include an executive summary for the execs who sign off on your contracts. This should be a higher-level piece that they can easily peruse to see uptime, response times, and other deliverables. Those figures can be benchmarked against past performance.
Prove your value with client testimonials: This is more of an exercise to support your prospecting efforts, but make sure that you can reference current client performance via testimonials or case studies on your website, as well as client contacts that new prospects can speak to when they are evaluating your services. A positive review from a real customer can go a long way toward closing a deal.
If your customers are having trouble seeing just how much value you provide, the key is to make sure you’re communicating that value and giving them visibility into the work you do to support their systems. If things are running so smoothly that they’re taking you for granted, that means you are doing something right — you just have to make sure they know it.Include executive summaries in your client reporting. This allows clients to easily view metrics like uptime and response times and other deliverables. Click To Tweet
Scott Bennett is the Senior Director of MSP Sales for Barracuda , a provider of security and data protection solutions for managed services providers, and he plays a key role in the development and growth of partner relationships. Connect with him on LinkedIn here.