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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreement (SLA)

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5 Ways to Improve Your MSP Service Level Agreements (SLAs)

SLAs are the foundation of your MSP business. They are essential to building strong client relationships and must be clear, reasonable and well-constructed.

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9 Revenue Streams MSPs Must Offer in 2015: Part 2

Posted January 9, 2015by Ray Vrabel

msp-tool-belt-blog
When I last left you in Part 1, we discussed the first four revenue streams every MSP must offer to grow business this year. Between 24/7 proactive monitoring and maintenance of desktops and servers, mobile device management (MDM), cloud, and a help desk solution, there's no shortage of bundle offerings to maximize profitability. But just like any infomercial...wait, there's more!


5. Backup and Disaster Recovery (BDR)

This is a no-brainer and in my top 3 on this list. As an MSP, lead with BDR as your foot in the door because it’s self-explanatory — you need to backup and protect your data — it’s something that all SMBs (as business owners) understand and are concerned about. Data is sacred, and so is protecting it. Uptime allows you to make money, while downtime causes you to lose money. BDR also offers solid margins, making it easy to sell and justify, especially as data continues to grow and as seasonal occurrences such as hurricanes and tornadoes become more prevalent. This is a very sensitive area, and most people don’t realize how important it is to have a BDR plan until it’s too late. Educate your clients, and get them a BDR solution. I have seen some partners make this standard practice and part of their core offering because it also saves the MSP time and money in disaster situations.

Related: Need Help Selling BDR to Clients? There's a Kit for That!


6. Security

The recent Heartbleed Bug and CryptoLocker viruses are reinforcing why security management and protection is another revenue stream I would recommend you have. Similar to BDR, lead with security solutions, particularly if clients are in data-sensitive verticals like health care or financial services. Your clients are seeing security threats everywhere from their email companies, to financial institutions getting hacked, to their favorite department stores being compromised. They are aware of the threats, and they know they are real. Spam protection, email encryption and HDD encryption are all relatable and have a high-value offering. Security is also a topic that everyone needs to be aware of — not just those in the SMB world — especially as they hear of new threats cropping up every week. This is another item that should be mandatory in your value stack.

7. File Sync and Share

With BYOD, compliance measures and corporate IP, advise your clients to use a business-grade file sync and share platform. It doesn’t have to be complicated —  clients want something that works, is easy to use, allows them to collaborate, is secure and manageable — easy like their BDR offering. There should be one, centralized system that employees can access. You don’t want a situation where employees are storing and accessing company data from a personal online storage platform. Similar to BYOD, there is no way of controlling the environment after they leave, or if a device is lost or stolen. Email is not the way to transfer important and secure files. It really needs to be done via a regular file sync and share platform that’s encrypted and safe, and where users are not mixing in their personal accounts.

Related: Top 3 Security Flaws with File Sharing Platforms


8. Managed Print/Managed VoIP

New opportunities for a fully managed services platform are becoming more prevalent, mainly because with this type of offering, you can provide on-time delivery, notifications and assistance with printers because it’s all part of your managed IT packages. Most managed print and VoIP providers are moving into managed services, or (as they call it) managed network services, as hardware sales and profits dwindle. Partner with a vendor that allows on-time deliverables of consumables like paper and toner, which maybe you weren’t able to charge for before. This is important to remember, especially because you can’t rely on hardware sales alone anymore.

9. Sell Yourself!

The bottom line is to promote not only what you offer your clients from a technology perspective, but also to promote yourself and your expertise as the MSP. Present yourself as the CIO, CTO or as some often use, “trusted business technology adviser on all technology issues." As Michael George, CEO of Continuum, recently pointed out on a Power Panel at Autotask Community Live, “Trust is something you earn, not something you sell." This includes helping your clients to incorporate technology plans that support your overall business strategy and goals, as well as ensuring they are getting the best bang for their buck, and the best technology investments for their business. Be the one who’s responsible for helping them to achieve and maintain high ROIs as well as regulatory compliance, document SOPs and workflows. Strive to be all things IT; own it, manage it and it will create a strong relationship and profitable client.


The preceding blog post was taken from Ray's guest series on Channel Partners Peer-to-Peer Blog.

Ray Vrabel is Continuum's Director of Technical Account Management and participates in product and service growth initiatives, and also manages Continuum's Technical Account Management team, which supports over 3,500 partners worldwide. Prior to Continuum, Ray joined Zenith Infotech in 2005 and held several positions including Service Desk Manager, Sr. Technical Account Manager and Sr. Manager of Service Operations. He currently has over 15 years of experience in the IT industry, specializing in Managed Services, Disaster Recovery, and Cloud Solutions. Prior to Continuum and Zenith, Ray worked at ANH Refractories, a world-class provider of Refractories products, in their Service Desk Department supporting 53 locations and 1,500 employees. Ray also worked for a startup venture at Body Media a pioneer in wearable body monitoring systems as a technical lead in their Technical Customer Support Department. Ray holds a Bachelors of Science in Business Technology Support and Training from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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