Game On: The Cutthroat World of Managed Service Providers

Let’s admit a hard truth: MSPs are not good at getting new customers. Many only do prospecting once they have to replace a churned customer in their portfolio. Many are not keeping up with maintaining their CRM, not doing events, not investing in advertising — doing nothing, just waiting for good referrals. Sometimes referrals come, sometimes don’t…

Yet, new MSPs are constantly appearing, and they need to get customers. They start by offering lower prices or better service portfolios and, eventually, win over customers from older MSPs. The competition is pressuring older MSPs, and they must compete on their services’ value.

However, I am hearing more and more often from MSPs that whatever services they offer, their competition quickly copies what they offer. Thus, they are reluctant to advertise what they offer, slowly updating their websites, preferring to “sell” value in direct conversations with the prospects. Yet, prospects are not running to the MSPs’ doors to listen to the pitch, as they don’t see a reason to do it — as everyone in the area offers the same. At least, it looks like from whatever one can find online…

So, what if whatever you offer will be copied by the competition? There is only one sensible solution — don’t worry about it and keep changing, keep improving your service, and be better at what you do. Accept that those services you launch and the SLAs you offer will be copied. So, it is not your current portfolio of services that allows you to compete — it is the continuous change and improvement. Looking after the trends and future needs and offering what the customers in your area will need is the solution. Even if the competitors copy it, they will play a catch-up game with you.

Therefore, successful competition is about competing on “future value” rather than the value everybody can deliver today. Being an innovative MSP in your area will set you apart from the competitors.

Of course, it is not easy and requires time for research, updating your strategy, and delivering services to your customers. Yet, it is time well spent if it allows you to offer new services to your customers and prospects.

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