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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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Final 4 Steps for MSPs to Close New Business

Posted April 4, 2014by Ray Vrabel

TheFinal4

Hopefully you’ve been following our March Madness series (if not, here are 16 Sweet Stats Every MSP Should Know About the Cloud and 8 Ways to Become an Elite MSP). With the Final 4 starting tomorrow, we've got the last post in our series, The Final 4 steps Managed Services Providers must take to close new clients. While it’s great for MSPs to focus finding new prospects via trade shows, marketing etc., those efforts really amount to nothing unless you officially close them as clients. So without further ado, here are four steps to take your prospects beyond rookie level and position them as potential new franchise players.

1. Provide a Detailed Statement of Work (SOW)

Prospects want to know exactly what type (and how much) work you’ll be doing for them before they commit to your services. A statement of work (SOW) is necessary to show how you’ll be implementing your solution. Use this tool to explain your entire purpose and intent, including the scope of your service offerings, a detailed breakdown on pricing and a schedule for deliverable metrics.

This takes all the guesswork out of the services your prospect is purchasing and makes potential clients feel more confident about choosing you as their managed services provider.
 

2. Demonstrate Cost Savings & Value

Return on investment is important to every business. It’s a whole lot easier to convince people to pay for your services when you show them exactly how much they’ll be saving with you, and what they will be gaining in value.

Outline precisely how your services will directly help potential clients, how they might become more efficient, how they can get answers or self help faster, how they can access their information and data at work from any pc.  Don’t just stop at how you will trim down their budget, and the specific methods you’ll use to improve their bottom line. By explaining just how much server virtualization and other offerings will slim down their expenditures, you’ll demonstrate the value you're delivering as an MSP.

Make sure your prospects know they’ll be receiving monthly and quarterly reports. This keeps them in the loop while also serving as a regular reminder of how indispensable you are to their business.

3. Clarify Your Service Level Agreement (SLA)

Your service level agreement (SLA) sets the foundation for your business relationship. As such, it needs to clearly state what’s expected from both parties as you move forward.

Your SLA includes not only details about pricing and service contracts, but also sets definitive expectations about response times and procedural steps that should be followed if a problem should arise. By using some important guidelines to write your SLA, you and your prospect will both understand all the necessary details of your business arrangement; removing guesswork and misunderstanding from the equation.

4. Face Time

Nothing helps close a deal like a little face time in person, especially in this age of increasingly digital interactions. If a client will trust their IT strategy to you, you should be there in person when they sign the contract with you.

Face time gets your relationship started on the right foot, establishing you as a trusted advisor rather than a generic (and easily interchangeable/replaceable) “technician.” Although the majority of your work will of course be performed remotely, getting too remote can damage your client relationships. Set yourself apart by making yourself available in real life, and your clients will thank you for it. Setup Quarterly business reviews, or even monthly when possible.

Conversion Is Just the Beginning

While these four steps can help you convert your prospects to clients, remember that this process is a catalyst rather than an end goal. New clients represent the beginning of a business relationship, one that needs to continue being a priority in order to ensure prosperity and growth for both parties. Keep looking for opportunities to save clients money, customize new service packages and integrate yourself as part of their team. By contributing to their growth, you’re only ensuring your own success.
 

So who do you think is going to end up winning the National Championship? Leave your predictions below.


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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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