Q: I’m an MSP business owner, and we service a variety of small business customers in our area, providing IT services to schools, healthcare providers, and other local small businesses like law firms. My salesperson is struggling to bring in new customers since he’s running into the competition on almost every deal. I need to find a way to differentiate my MSP. How can I help my sales guy to win against the competition and close more business?
Given the situation you’re in, we think there’s one clear thing you can do to differentiate your MSP from the competition—focus on supporting compliance. You’re looking for business from healthcare, education, and legal businesses, and they all need to satisfy different compliance regulations. This opens a huge opportunity for you to win their business as an MSP who understands compliance rules, helping them meet requirements and prepare for an audit. You should get your team up to speed on regulations like HIPAA, FINRA, and PCI DSS.
Some small business prospects you speak with might not understand the value of having a compliance expert managing their IT services. Others don’t care about being compliant; it’s simply not an issue for them. But there are also many small businesses that don’t know how to be compliant but need to be especially if they’re in one of these highly regulated industries. In these cases, MSPs offer real value to the business.
If you can educate small businesses on compliance regulations, explain how they can be compliant, and help them to achieve and maintain compliance, you’re showcasing a great deal of value and justification for your services. It will also be important to articulate the threat noncompliance poses to their business to help them understand why it’s critical.
When we saw your question we reached out to Neal Bradbury, Senior Director of Business Development at Intronis MSP Solutions, to learn how MSPs can use compliance as a sales tool. Use these three tips from Neal to help you have meaningful conversations with your compliance-conscious prospects:
- Make data backup mandatory for all customers
To help you win more business with customers in regulated verticals, make backup a requirement for all of your customers. When you’re pitching them on how you’ll satisfy their compliance requirements, mention that backup services are required in their contract. You can also mention that running regular backups is often part of these regulations so it’s best for their business to make sure it’s taken care of. Including backup in all of your service packages will also ensure that both you and the customer are protected.
You can easily make backup mandatory by bundling it with your other services. Create a few different bundles of offerings with varying options for customers. The lowest tier can include only a few of your key services, one of which would be backup.
Remind customers that backup needs to be managed and monitored, and that’s where you can show your value. For example, if you’re working with a law firm, their staff of lawyers could spend an hour managing the backup solution or they could spend that hour billing clients for their legal counsel. It will maximize the efficiency of their business if you’re there to manage backups for them.
- Focus on servicing one specific vertical
Another way to bring in more revenue and win new business is to become an expert in one industry’s set of compliance regulations. For example, you’re likely aware that businesses operating in the healthcare space are required to be HIPAA compliant. For your customers that are healthcare providers, it will be beneficial for you to be well-versed in the latest changes to the HIPAA rules. Tell your customers that under HIPAA’s regulations, data like patient information and medical records must be backed up and stored in a particular way.
As an MSP, you can differentiate yourself from the competition by focusing your sales efforts on the healthcare vertical. Become an expert on all things related to HIPAA so you can justify higher value services to businesses in the industry.
- Leverage vendor partnerships
MSPs can get assistance servicing customers in regulated industries by leveraging their vendor relationships. Vendors who are compliant are also experts you can consult with to help you explain compliance to your customers. In fact, these vendors often have compliance specific documentation and marketing and sales collateral that MSPs can rebrand and share with their prospects. Make sure you take advantage of your vendor relationships to help you close more business.
For small businesses operating in regulated verticals, it can be a daunting task to achieve and maintain compliance as rules change and new safeguards are required. As an MSP, you can take the stress out of the process by positioning your business as experts who know exactly how to keep businesses compliant. Your prospects will be happy to have the burden taken off their shoulders and know their business is protected from data loss and the repercussions of being non-compliant.
Ask an MSP Expert is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between.