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Do Your Customers Like You?

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No doubt the MSP market is maturing. The good news is that means more customers are willing to buy MSP services. The challenging news is going forward customers will buy what you sell for different reasons than they did before.

Do Your Customers Like You? More importantly, will they buy from you?  This really is the most important question you can answer if you’re trying to grow your business. Beyond the uniquely individual / unrepeatable reasons (long-term trusted relationship, truly rare knowledge that’s especially relevant to a very specific customer set, your cousin works in their IT department, etc.) the answer to this question is: IT DEPENDS.

But not on what you think it does. The answer depends on WHEN you are in the maturation process of the MSP market.

In simple terms, customers choose their MSPs for the same reasons they choose any product or service based on a very predictable evolutionary model that’s based on TIME:

When a market is new, competitive advantage is based on having the best offering in terms of technical specs. For MSPs, who has the most capable services?

When multiple “equal” offerings are available, competitive advantage shifts beyond the product and onto the question of engagement terms. Who has the best pricing and SLA, etc.?

When Ts & Cs become similar, competitive advantage shifts to salesmanship. In other words, now that offerings are equal and the engagement model is comparable, which MSP can actually sell it most effectively?

When sales skills become comparable, competitive advantage shifts to consideration – meaning the customer is most likely to buy from the seller they know the most about / feel the best about BEFORE the sales process even starts. In a nutshell, that’s the definition of MARKETING.

So to really answer the question about why customers buy from you – and how to convince more of them to do it – you need to know two things:

Who are you selling to?

How advanced (or not advanced) are your customers in terms of spending money to buy the stuff you sell?

No doubt the MSP market is maturing. The good news is that means more customers are willing to buy MSP services. The challenging news is going forward customers will buy what you sell for different reasons than they did before.

In very practical terms: competitive advantage for MSPs is shifting. Sometime about 10 years ago, competitive advantage for MSPs was based on great technical skills. 4 – 7 years ago: a great SLA. 1 – 4 years ago: great sales reps. And now: great marketing.

So here’s the ultimate question: if you are an MSP … and you want to grow your business … how great is your marketing capability?

Because while that skill may have been less vital in the past, it’s going to be absolutely mission-critical from now on.

Learn more about “Building a Managed Services Demand Generation Engine” during a live Webinar presented by Ryan Morris on February 10: REGISTER HERE.

Ryan Morris is Principal Consultant for Morris Management Partners, with more than 20 years experience in marketing, sales, and management in the technology industry—specifically focused on building successful multi-tier channel solutions and profitable go-to-market strategies.

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