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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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Show Prospects Why Their Internal IT Solution Just Isn't Enough

Posted September 8, 2015by Ben Barker


So, you've identified a prospect. You get their information and set up a meeting. You have your pitch prepared and you're feeling good. You walk in, sit down, and hear this; "We're all set. We have our own IT staff." Sigh. 

We've blogged at length about how you can help potential clients realize the need for a Managed Service Provider (MSP), but when they feel like their IT needs are already taken care of, it can be very difficult to get them to even entertain the idea of partnering with an outside IT support staff. Still, it's not impossible. Here's how you can get your prospects to realize that their internal IT staff is simply not enough.

When you're faced with this situation, there are basically two scenarios that you'll face. In the first scenario, the business owner is willing to consider replacing their internal IT staff with an outside provider (you). In the other scenario, the business owner is NOT going to get rid of their staff, and may even be reluctant to downsize it. Obviously, the first scenario sounds like an easier sell, but there are still some things you can do to ensure that the deal goes smoothly. The second scenario is a bit tougher, but not impossible to work with. Let's break it down...


Scenario #1: Okay, you've got my ear, why should I get rid of my people and go with you?

Most of the time, this is going to be a price-driven stance, so make sure you really nail home the savings that come along with partnering with an MSP. Let's say the company that you're working with has just one IT person on staff. How much are they paying that one person? If it's just one person, they obviously can't be working 24/7. Illustrate that for less than they are paying one person, they could have a team constantly monitoring their systems and making sure that all IT needs are taken care of proactivel, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. What would that cost them if they tried to build out those capabilities on their own? Make them understand that instead of having their IT person running around putting out fires, they can have all of their issues taken care of behind the scenes and save money all the while.

If a company is staffing an internal IT department, they're most likely outsourcing some of the menial tasks anyways. Why are they doing that? Because it is cost efficient! So, in that sense, they're already partnering with third-party IT support companies, but they're also paying their own internal staff. What sense does that make?

 
Scenario #2: No way, I am not getting rid of my internal staff!

When faced with this scenario, it's best to let them know that they don't need to get rid of their staff. See if the business owner will let you meet with their IT decision maker. This is the person that you need to convince. Ask them what tools they are using and about their pain points.

As mentioned, most internal IT departments will offload some of their lower-level tasks to help save time. They're offloading these tasks to companies that have the tools and equipment to streamline this process and complete the tasks in the most efficient way possible. Find out what they are offloading, find out the pain points and annoyances that come along with their job. Most likely, you'll hear about malware, patching, anti-virus, backups, etc. Even then, chances are, they're going to be reluctant to transfer full control over to you.

If the IT decision maker wants to have their hands on everything, let them! Simply explain to them that, if they wish, your involvement can be creating a ticket and presenting it to them. Even if this is where they want to start initially, they'll be approving tickets to be fixed automatically before you know it.

From there, it's your job to show the IT decision maker how they can leverage the support staff that you have to offer. Ask them about the tools that they are using, and show them how YOUR tools will be available to them from one single pane of glass. Basically, you want to show them that you're not their enemy. In fact, you'll be making their job a lot easier. You can take all of the time-sucking boring tasks off of their plate so that they can get their hands dirty with the fun, more high-value stuff.

It's simply not scalable for small and medium-sized businesses to solely rely on their own staff for IT management anymore. IT is becoming increasingly complex and requires 24x7x365 support. Many business owners simply don't understand that yet. It's up to you to educate them and get them to see the IT opportunity that is in front of them.

 

Want some more tips on what to do on the first MSP appointment? Check out our webinar!

What-Do-You-Do-on-the-First-MSP-Appointment-Webinar

 

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Ben is a member of Continuum's marketing team. He specializes in blog content as well as video production. Ben is a graduate of Emerson College and a huge Boston sports fan.

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