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The competitive landscape for MSPs is evolving rapidly. Let’s start with the perspective that matters the most — that of your clients. They are human, like you and me, and we are all becoming less patient and forgiving of services that aren’t tailored to us.

Our impatience isn’t just coming from work experiences, it’s also thanks to the revolution we’ve had at home. Think about your morning routine; it’s different than how it used to be. Our virtual assistant, “Alexa,” will tell us the weather forecast, play our favorite song at just the right volume, and adjust the temperature by a few degrees if we ask her to. We can buy almost anything from home and have it in hand in 24 hours. We can skip commercials on TV and the radio in our car.

Bottom line is that our perception of what’s possible has changed; we expect hyper-personalization and instant gratification at home, so naturally, we expect the same at work. Meanwhile at work, cloud services are cheaper and easier to access directly. While this is great news all around, it means the perceived value of MSPs may decrease, unless value-added work is continuously done. Therefore, MSPs need to innovate in 2020, or risk being left in the dust by a competitor who is.

Innovate in services

A LinkedIn post by one of today’s most creative marketers caught my attention:

In other words: it’s better to make a small improvement then it is to wait to make a major improvement.

There are plenty of blogs, whitepapers, and peer groups that provide reasonable suggestions for service improvement and you know your weaknesses better than anyone. What matters above all else is that MSPs turn what’s in mind into reality, which happens by setting measurable and realistic goals, then charting the roadmap with your services team.

Think of yourself as the coach, not the point guard, for services change. Someone on your team should be the point guard, because they will be able to concentrate on making the whole team better.

Jim Collins, author of Good to Great, Built to Last and How the Mighty Fall, said this about the best companies he studied:

Tell good stories in the right places

If your sole focus is improving services in 2020, profits will likely suffer. Change, is a time suck, it’s hard, and it will cost money one way or another. Therefore, MSPs should complement services improvements with increasing revenue.

Unfortunately, new clients won’t stumble upon MSPs by accident. They will go to the one they hear the most about, the one who has good stories and has built a strong reputation for being the best. The big question is, how will you improve your MSP’s reputation?

Well, think back to high school. How did the cool kids become popular in the first place? By telling good stories, being funny, scoring touchdowns, and hitting grand slams.

The biggest mistake MSPs make in client acquisition plans isn’t that they lack good stories to brag about — it’s that they aren’t telling stories at all, and when they do, it’s often in the wrong places.

  • Cold-calling is a necessary practice, but can be a struggle when calls are blocked by technology and by gatekeepers. Forming a connection with the gatekeeper through the cold-call can prove to be another challenge.
  • Local events provide great ways to meet new prospects, but does run the risk of attendees being from the same “usual crowd” each time. It can also be difficult to host events frequently due to the monetary and time costs associated.

Potential clients are still human and we as humans haven’t changed our desire to associate with the “best” and to be with “the popular” ones. What has changed is where we look for the best and how we are convinced of who’s the best in the first place.

In high school, the currency was stories spread by word-of-mouth in the hallways, in notes passed around in class, or after school in a nearby park or hang out spot. For businesses in 2020, the currency are stories spread online, in places like social media, blogs, websites, and even YouTube.

Therefore, if you want to increase revenue you must be perceived as awesome. To create that impression, your MSP must tell stories in places where your prospects spend the majority of their time. At the same time, your stories need to be told in compelling and differentiated ways.

Photo: Vibrant Image Studio / Shutterstock

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Derek Marin

Posted by Derek Marin

Derek Marin is President of Simple Selling, the agency that generates predictable pipeline for MSPs. If you would rather tap dance in a minefield than add prospecting, marketing and sales team management to your to-do list, then feel free to book Derek directly from here: You can also reach him at or subscribe to the MRR Growth blog at for frequent sales tips and encouragement.

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