Q&A | July 28, 2014

Channel Transitions East: MSPs Should Practice What You Preach

By Bernadette Wilson, associate editor, Business Solutions magazine
Follow Me On Twitter @bernadeditor

Chris Allen & Kelly O’Bray

When you speak with a prospect or a customer about a new solution, you discuss its benefits — some of which could fall into the categories of automating to increase efficiency, making data-based decisions, and enhancing the customer experience.

In the morning presentations at Channel Transitions East powered by Business Solutions magazine, speakers stressed that the business principles that compel your customers to adopt technology are also principles managed services providers (MSPs) should embrace for success.

Business Solutions editor-in-chief Mike Monocello opened the July 22 conference at the Hilton Boston Logan Airport with a list of major trends of successful MSPs — which include automating. “The managed services model is all about being efficient with your time,” Monocello explains, and automating also contributes to other characteristics of successful MSPs including the ability to offer more services and to stay close to your finances.

In his presentation, Kelly O’Bray, community manager for GFI MAX, underscored another reason automation is important to MSPs: “The managed services model is the only model that continues to grow. Profitability correlates with maturity level. As you get better at automating and managing, profitability goes up.”

Automated processes also generate data that can be used to make fact-based business decisions. In his presentation at Channel Transitions, Chris Allen, director of demand generation for Mercury Payment Systems, stressed MSPs should “benchmark client relationships with data. Don’t just rely on your perception.”

O’Bray also urged MSPs at the event to look more closely at client relationships:“Remember, it’s not just about the IT services you are delivering. It is ‘How can I help you meet your business goals?’” He says, for example, surveys show SMBs, many with limited IT resources, are looking for local MSPs to help meet challenges they are facing — including implementing cloud services. “Challenges your clients have are all opportunities for you as an MSP,” O’Bray says.

Monocello points out, when selling and developing a solution for your customer, the focus should not be the technology. “Sell security, peace of mind, stability,” he comments.

Allen adds that helping your clients overcome challenges also can cement your relationship: when a new challenge arises it will trigger a call to you. “They’ll continue to buy as long as the solutions you sell underscore your expertise.”

For more information on upcoming Channel Transitions VAR/MSP Executive Conferences that focus on helping VARs transitioning from break/fix to the as-a-Service business model, visit www.BSMinfo.com/go/ChannelTransitions.

Channel Transitions is sponsored by: Platinum Sponsors GFI MAX and Mercury, Gold Sponsors F-Secure, RapidFire Tools, and Webroot, along with industry association partners CompTIA, The ASCII Group, and the Retail Solutions Providers Association (RSPA).

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