Guest Column | April 8, 2019

3 Tips For MSPs To Attract — And Keep — More Accounts

By Nick Harshbarger, SentryOne

business men shaking hands

Having trouble differentiating your MSP from your competitors? Retaining more of your accounts means being top-of-mind to your clients and generating recurring projects that drive business success and value. It’s a critical component in consulting and ultimately comes down to customer service and the value of your offerings. These three simple tips will help you attract new clients and keep more accounts.

Tip #1: Offer 60-Day Trials

Have you ever signed up for a free trial and continued with the service because you realized how valuable it was? Free trials are a great option for MSPs of all types. When establishing a new relationship, consider leaving your solution in place for 60 days.

Keep in mind these three points when offering a free trial model:

  • Leave a rate card for your services. Make sure the client knows the cost for the services you’re providing during those 60 days.
  • Report back to the client regularly during the trial. Show the client exactly what you’ve done and demonstrate your value during the trial period. If you can prove the value of your services during this time, they’re more likely to retain your services.
  • Provide great service. Don’t necessarily go above and beyond during the trial period. Provide exactly the same level of service they will receive after the trial period, unless they choose to upgrade service levels with a Service Level Agreement (SLA). Make it easy for your clients to sign up, communicate often, and deliver consistency.

Near the end of the trial period, provide a list of areas in which their system could benefit from additional attention. It’s even better if these areas are MSP-eligible. Use this list to negotiate subscription services and other project-based work.

Tip #2: Offer Preventative Maintenance

Goodwill goes a long way in every industry. Providing a little preventative maintenance on client systems demonstrates your level of dedication. If a little maintenance here and there doesn’t require a lot of extra work, do it. Show the client that your team cares about their environment and is willing to do the little things. It’s the mint on their hotel pillow.

Tip #3: Demonstrate Your Bench Strength By Offering Consulting Hours

One of the easiest ways to become even more indispensable to your clients is to provide consulting hours for those big projects clients need but don’t have the capacity to execute. Pitching new projects keeps your value top-of-mind while highlighting your capabilities.

Some of these big projects to consider include:

  • Business intelligence and analytics projects
  • Performance tuning — e.g. improving system performance so that it can scale and handle bigger workloads
  • Optimization engagement — offering clients consulting expertise to help optimize their data platforms
  • Cloud migration planning and implementation

New and varied projects not only provide great value to the client but also create diverse opportunities for your team. Consulting and project hours will fluctuate based on client need, so it’s important that your bench strength remains flexible.

These are just a few small, easy examples of ways your MSP can get sticky with your accounts, bring more value and avoid the commoditization trap. These recommendations don’t take a lot of extra work, but they all go the extra mile. In the managed services business, it’s all about standing out from the crowd.

About The AuthorNick Harshbarger, SentryOne

Nick Harshbarger (@nicharsh) is the Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Channels for SentryOne and is responsible for leading the SentryOne Global Partner Network.