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MSP practices

Best Practices for Selling Managed Services

by Maggie Getova

Managed data protection services are a great value for IT. However, going from traditional in-house backup and recovery to an MSP is fraught with uncertainty for many IT pros. Even though IT likes the Big New Technology Thing, going with a MSP is more a business case than a technology case. Change is hard and introducing managed services into the backup environment is a big change for a company. It’s a change for the better mind you, but a big change nevertheless.

People in all sorts of uncomfortable situations will avoid change, and will only do so when they perceive that the benefits far outweigh the discomfort. If the MSP’s benefits are attractive enough, then the benefits will overcome the inertia. But the MSP sales reps must be certain that they can communicate the real benefits.

Differentiate Yourself From Other MSPs

Benefit sell the service. Push the benefits of decreased risk, cost savings, and more time, and clearly show them how your service meets big needs.  

  1. Save time. IT spends time provisioning storage, creating and editing policies, verifying backup, updating and expanding storage, and managing data protection. It’s a lot of work, and saving them significant time is a big benefit. When IT writes the business case they will probably not mention that they’ll be able to stop working 60 hours a week, but they will tell the CEO that they’ll have time to do that ERP project.
  2. Save costs. Traditional backup and recovery costs are high. There are never-ending upgrades and replacements, expensive yearly maintenance costs, multiple backup and recovery applications and systems, scaling storage and data protection for fast-growing data, investing in remote backup, and more. Your service can save them not only time but cost, making an MSP doubly attractive.
  3. Minimize risk. As if time-consuming management and high costs aren’t bad enough, risk creeps in. “Did the backup happen? How easily can we find it to restore it? We’re backing up to the same data center, what happens if that hurricane veers in our direction? We’re backing up the SAP once every 24 hours, I don’t want to think about what happens if we lose all those transactions.” Complete the benefit trifecta by offering a service that includes verification, fast restore, failover, and customizable backup schedules.

Don’t stop at the benefits of managed services. You also want to sell them on why you are the best MSP to provide those services. The last thing you want is for a prospect to get the impression that any old managed service provider is okay, which will happen if you fall into the trap of competing on price. “We’re the cheapest. We’re the best and we’re the cheapest. We’re the absolute greatest and we’re the cheapest.”

Well, no. If your process is smart, then your fees will be highly cost-effective and you will save them money. Tell them that; better yet, show them using case studies, videos, calculators -- any good content that proves your value proposition.

There are way too many MSPs out there who operate on razor thin profit margins and frankly, they may not be around next year. Never let this be you. Your profitable process enables you to pass along big cost savings to your customers while making good money from new and renewed contracts. You will also be far more attractive to larger customers who don’t trust cut-rate services.

Sales is the Bottom Line

Don’t make technology your primary focus. If your technology isn’t working, change it. Look for a smart partner so they can add value. Concentrate on your process. What can you do that no one else out there can? Does your process save your customers time and money, and minimize risk? Then tell your customer so. Don’t think of selling managed services as a necessary evil. Think of sales as your number one business priority, and never let up.

Maggie G

Maggie is a content writer and editor at Zetta. She writes for the blog and manages web content.