By now managed services providers (MSPs) realize specializing in vertical markets can make themselves stand out from the rest of the pack, but selecting which markets to specialize in isn't always the easiest decision for MSPs to make.

"For some MSPs, the backup and disaster recovery market can play a major role in the verticals they choose, while others prefer to sell across the board and focus on the size of business as opposed to the vertical," says Rob Rae, business development vice president at Datto, a Norwalk, Connecticut-based BDR and business continuity company.

"Either way, the end game is the same," Rae says. "Clients just want their data protected and downtime mitigated should a disaster occur," Rae said. Here are some ways MSPs can do that.

Evaluate your current portfolio. Take a look at your portfolio to find out where there might be trends. Have you already accumulated customers in a particular vertical?

"If no, then you need to think about if you want to remain centralized in the industry or break new ground in a new space," Rae says. "One of the first questions to ask is ‘What kind are margins are available?’"

Focus on strengths. "Use your business strengths to your advantage and focus on one, or maybe two, verticals to throw all your energies into it and master it," he says.

Once you've found your strengths, "spend time researching the industry including regulations and issues and how the solution of choice can deliver more of an impact for the client or prospect," Rae says.

What do you really care about?. Which vertical do you spend the most time in? Is it because it's what's growing "hot" in your market, or is it because you enjoy?

"Identify a vertical you really care about and one you want to make a difference in," Rae says. "Then go after it. Enthusiasm sells, regardless of the market."

Opportunity. Find opportunities in vertical markets that require BDR and business continuity. Some of these markets include healthcare, financial, legal, manufacturing, municipal and more.

"The opportunity to break into a new vertical is massive, if you want to make the commitment," he says. "But remember, the more value and expertise you bring to the table, the more you can charge for your services."

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