I travel constantly. If you don’t already know me, you’ve likely seen me or will bump into me at a B2B, Tech or Channel-related event soon. And have no fear: we’ll probably be fast friends. What I’m finding over the last few years is that a lot of my new friends are Managed Service Providers or MSPs.
MSPs are the real workhorse for resellers, servicing the products they sell. And, as VARs layer in more service offerings, they are becoming MSPs themselves. Plus, with exponential demand and growth in the security space, traditional MSPs are expanding to become Managed Security Service Providers (MSSPs).
MSPs are on the front lines with customers. By missing opportunities to connect, Vendors, as well as MSPs, are leaving a lot of potential revenue on the table.
More than 80 percent of MSP revenue comes from delivery of their own services. They don’t have time to slow down, so they recommend and implement what they know best. They are incredibly passionate about what they do, but they are not sales and marketing professionals. In fact, Datto’s brand new Global State of the MSP Report notes that 53% of MSPs struggle with sales and marketing.
What’s Standing in the Way
At a recent conference, a friend and MSP said to me, “You know, I didn’t care about reselling, because it seemed like a dollar here, a dollar there, and not worth my time. But then I realized that, even with a very minimal commission, I could add several hundred to even thousands to my monthly business bottom line…”
When he trailed off, I had to ask, “Well, why don’t you?”
His response: “Because I don’t really know how and I don’t have time to learn how to market or sell the products I’m servicing. I can easily say ‘Hey, your firewalls and data security and communications are a mess.’ Or, ‘You need new laptops, phones, software or security cameras.’ That’s easy. The problem I have is: How do I work with Vendors to actually sell those products and make money from them? I don’t know where to start.”
Vendors and Suppliers, it’s clearly time to point MSPs in the right direction: Toward and into your channel program.
Tap Into MSP Energy
MSPs have high energy and may fall in love with a product they see at a conference or even online. But it’s easy for them to lose that glow once they step back into the day-to-day of their own business. That’s why fast (and preferably self-service) onboarding into channel programs is essential.
Once MSPs are in the front door (i.e. logged into your partner portal), get them activated fast. Tap into their energy with immediate training and engaging content that keeps them coming back for more info (and solutions) they can share with their clients.
Remember: Excitement dies when nothing happens. You make partners — and MSPs — loyal to you by making it as easy as possible to do business and helping them prosper.
Telling the Bigger Story
Vendors are already challenged to deliver their content and go-to-market strategy to and through partners, not to mention MSPs. But MSPs provide direct support for the products they are actually reselling. They are in front of clients every day. MSPs are already in the end users house, so to speak, so help them answer basic client questions first:
- Why is this the best solution to solve a specific problem?
- What are its core benefits to a business or organization?
- Why should we implement this product instead of something else?
- Why are you the best Vendor to provide this solution?
The next step is to show MSPs exactly where your solutions align with their services. Help them tell the bigger story to customers, so they’ll be incited to purchase solutions from and through the channel instead of going straight to Amazon, Best Buy or Walmart.
These big box retailers remain the preferred vendors of choice for MSPs because of their simplicity, even when they could be retailing for vendors themselves, adding another line of revenue via channel sales commissions.
Stay in Their Comfort Zone
MSPs are going to big box stores for products because it’s easy. It should be just as easy to do business with Vendors. Remember 80 to 90% of the MSPs’ revenue comes from providing their own services to customers. Reselling products is less than 20% of revenue and that’s being generous.
MSPs should not have to step outside of their comfort zone to partner with you. It’s your job to ask the questions of MSPs: How do you sell today? How do you market today? How can we help? That way, your efforts will center around what they currently do — and how doing business with you will help their customers and their own business succeed in the long run.