Ask an MSP Expert

Q: Getting ready for the holidays, I’ve been thinking about the past year and what I wish I could achieve at my MSP business. How can I give my business the gift of success in the New Year?

Happy Holidays! We might not have any magic reindeer or a flying sleigh, but we’re here to help you get everything you’ve wished for as an MSP this year. We understand these four business challenges and have resources and tools available to help you.

We might not have any magic reindeer or a flying sleigh, but we’re here to help you achieve more success in the coming year. Many MSPs have a few common challenges that are holding them back: the constant need to fill their pipeline, employees who aren’t fully trained, a marketing plan that lacks results, and not enough recurring revenue.

As our gift to you, we’ll help you tackle these challenges, so you can free up more time to focus on growing your MSP business in the New Year. Here are four MSP wishes that can help you achieve more business success in 2018:

MSP Wish List

Wish #1: A pipeline full of leads

We know some MSPs rely solely on word-of-mouth referrals to generate leads for their business, but it’s not enough to sustain your pipeline long term. To take the quantity and quality of your referral leads to the next level, you need to be proactive.

You can fuel your pipeline with more referral leads by identifying customers that are already satisfied with your services, may have peers in their small business community that could benefit from your services, and are willing to advocate on your behalf. Determine who the best referral candidates are, proactively reach out, and warm them up before asking for a referral.

Cold calling is another good tactic to use to build up your pipeline. Some MSPs think cold calling is dead, but it’s still an effective method for reaching prospects. Dedicate an hour a day to your cold calling efforts, and you’ll quickly see the benefits. Put it on your calendar and stick to the commitment. All you need to get started is a phone and a list of prospects whose business you’d like to win.

Another opportunity to get more leads is by hosting events. In-person and online events are a great way to meet customers face-to-face or build rapport with them by teaching them something new. For example, hosting a webinar for both prospects and customers on how to avoid a phishing attack is a great way to educate them on cyber security—and as an added bonus, it gives you the opportunity to showcase your expertise.

Wish #2: Properly trained employees

New technicians often have to teach themselves when they start at an MSP or when a solution changes, which is not always the most effective method. By providing training opportunities for your current and new employees, you can avoid mistakes and identify challenges your employees are facing and address them quickly.

A training program doesn’t need to take a significant amount of time. Start off by performing a needs assessment to find out what skills your employees need to grow in their roles. Using this information, you can put together a video or webinar that explains this skill or process, and then you can use this set of videos to train new employees. If you don’t have time to create a video series, you can look for external training opportunities for your employees to attend. Be sure to involve senior management in the training process so employees are delegated the time to spend completing their training.

Wish #3:  An awesome marketing strategy

There are a few different things you do to take your marketing strategy to the next level. A good marketing strategy has clear, measurable goals that help your MSP business stay on track to achieve overall objectives. What do you want your business to achieve in the next year, and what marketing tactics can help you get there?

While it’s important to have concrete goals in mind, you should also make sure you’re marketing your MSP business to the right target market. Think about your current customers and what your ideal customer looks like. Are they in a particular target segment? Do they go to a lot of events? Think about how you can make adjustments to your marketing strategies to reach them effectively.

Not everyone will say yes to managed services right away, so think about what touchpoints you can use to periodically interact with them. For example, you could use educational emails, email newsletters, or even Facebook Live to tell them about industry trends, new technology, or more about your business.

Wish #4: More recurring revenue

A useful way to bring in more recurring revenue is to convert the rest of your break-fix customers to managed service contracts. By offering managed services to them instead of just project-based work, you’ll be able to charge a higher margin for your IT services, and that will increase your monthly recurring revenue (MRR). If you’re having trouble converting your remaining break-fix customers, perform a needs assessment to identify how managed services can help their business.

In Managed Services in a Month, author Karl Palachuck says, “Every hour you spend working with break-fix cheapskates is an hour that could be used to find a managed service client willing to spend at least $1,000 a month with you.” While it’s easy to agree to another break-fix job, that time can be used to find recurring revenue opportunities that will carry on throughout the year.

We hope these tips help your MSP business achieve success in the New Year. If you’re able to build up your sales team’s pipeline with leads, develop your employees’ skills, and expand your marketing efforts, you’ll be on the path to bringing in more recurring revenue for your business. And that’s the kind of gift that keeps on giving.

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Photo:  Chechotkin / Shutterstock.

Lauren Beliveau

Posted by Lauren Beliveau

Lauren is an Senior Content Marketing Specialist at Barracuda MSP. In this position, she creates and develops content that helps managed service providers grow their business. She also regularly writes The MSP’s Bookshelf and our Ask an MSP Expert column.

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