By Neal Bradbury, Senior Director of Channel Development, Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda
Let’s face it, SMBs are cost-conscious by nature and will go to great lengths to save money. When it comes to managed IT services, for example, we’ve heard from our MSP partners that many of their SMB clients will choose to opt out of these services in order to save a few dollars in the short run. What they don’t often don’t is, after accounting for productivity losses, unscheduled maintenance fees, and even damage to their reputation, the decision not to engage in a managed services contract can end up costing them much more down the road.
So, what can MSPs do to ensure they are effectively communicating to their reluctant SMB clients and prospects the value managed services can bring to their businesses? In our view, there are three key talking points MSPs should be using during these conversations:
- Preventing downtime. SMBs need to understand how proactive maintenance and monitoring of their IT environments can prevent downtime for their business. A powerful way to communicate this is by demonstrating how much their business will lose if one of their employee’s workstations went down for a day or even just a few hours. Being able to illustrate how managed services can improve productivity, efficiency, and cost savings can help sway even the most reluctant SMB clients.
- Predictable spending. SMBs want to know in advance how much they can expect to spend on managed services, so the recurring monthly billing model is a key selling point. MSPs should make it clear to their clients and prospects that with managed services, they will be billed the same price every month. This will allow them to budget and plan ahead more effectively. It also helps them avoid unscheduled expenses due to unplanned outages, which could end up costing them more in the long run and can place added strain on the business, especially if there is no formal budget or plan in place to address the unexpected.
- Insurance for your business. Proactive data protection and managed IT security services, for example, when combined can offer total protection for an SMB’s business-critical data and infrastructure. Clients will get the peace of mind that comes from knowing their business will be safeguarded against future data loss scenarios. And, when MSPs can provide specific examples of cases where data protection and IT security solutions saved another one of their clients — as well a contrasting example where a customer went through a similar situation and did not have a data protection strategy in place — they will have more success in closing the deal.
There are a couple of other things MSPs should also in mind when it comes to communicating the value of managed services. First of all, always share the value proposition with current and prospective clients during the proposal stage. Wait too long into the negotiations and you may miss the opportunity to sell them on managed services.
Next, when addressing the three aforementioned talking points, avoid scaring the business owner or placing undue pressure on them in order to make the sale. Instead, MSPs should position themselves as a trusted advisor, making it clear that they are there to help the client protect their business.
By striking a balance between educating the small business owner on what’s best for their business and sharing honest truths about the consequences of not investing in managed services, the MSP will be well-positioned to overcome the objections posed by even their most reluctant clients and prospects.
Neal Bradbury is Senior Director of Business Development for Intronis MSP Solutions by Barracuda, a provider of backup and data protection solutions for managed services providers, where he is responsible for generating greater business value for the company’s MSP partner community and alliance partners.