Blog | July 17, 2012

Here's One Way To Start Selling Managed Services

By Jay McCall

As a VAR, it's probably frustrating to hear article after article telling you that you should be selling managed services. The reality is that if you're not currently selling managed services, it's not like you can just snap your fingers and completely transform your business. If you're a VAR in this position, here's one way you can start reaping the benefits of selling managed services even before you totally transform your current business model.

There are companies called master MSPs that specialize in helping VARs make this transition. I've talked with two recently: CharTec and B2BMSP. Both of these companies are experts in selling IT infrastructure solutions such as storage (i.e. backup and disaster recovery), network security, and virtualization solutions; plus, remote monitoring and management (RMM) services,  24x7 help desk support, and training.

A master MSP can help your business in a few key ways:

1. These companies enable you to easily rebrand their products and services with your logo and messaging, so you continue to own the customer relationship.

2. In many instances, these companies serve as value-added distributors, which makes it easier for you to bundle all your offerings (hardware, software, and services) into a simple monthly bill for your customers.

3. Training. Selling managed services requires a different sales approach (selling an OpEx solution vs. a CapEx solution). Even if you only use a master MSP to train your salespeople, you'll be ahead of a lot of other VARs.

I spoke with a VAR recently that worked with one of these master MSPs, after the VAR received an RFP from a customer that was reaching its storage capacity. The master MSP shared some tips with the VAR that helped the VAR engage its customer in a managed services discussion. Some of the questions the VAR discussed with its customer included:

  • Do you have a DR (disaster recovery) plan?
  • Which of your business applications are mission critical?
  • How long can you be without email before it causes problems?

Through the questions, the VAR learned that its customer had a host of challenges it needed help with, such as complying with e-discovery laws. It also learned that downtime was a real threat to the customer's business. In the end, instead of just quoting the customer how much it would cost for 2 TB of on-site storage, the VAR was able to sell a backup and disaster recovery solution integrated with an email management solution, turning a $12,000 one-time sale into a 3-year contract of $3,500-per-month recurring revenue. If this kind of partnership worked for this VAR, why couldn't it work for you, too?

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