For Managed Service Providers (MSPs), providing an awesome customer experience (your ultimate goal) comes down to two things: understanding what your customers need, and delivering on it. Your clients’ IT is the backbone of their business, and they’re relying on you to keep them online. Ultimately, your customers have decided to outsource some or all of their IT responsibility to you and are expecting you to deliver more than their internal technical team can. This means aligning your technical and commercial departments to develop and provide the service (the technical part) and to ensure your customers know exactly what they are buying and what their expectations should be (the commercial side).
When the technical and commercial team get out of balance – as can happen sometimes – it is the customer that suffers first, but ultimately the fallout will be felt by your business. So, what can you do to ensure you’re offering all that you should be, and that you’re able to deliver the goods?
What happens when the technical and commercial don’t align?
First, a quick look at the nightmarish future that could be yours if your technical and commercial departments are misaligned. It looks something like this:
- The commercial department is full of optimism and goes out to customers saying yes to everything. Yes, we can deliver this cloud to your exact specification. Yes, we’re equipped to deliver any cyber security solution you can think of. Yes, we can do all that by the end of the week.
- The technical department is left with the job of making this optimistic vision a reality, but potentially they don’t have the expertise or resources required. Or maybe they just don’t have the resources to deliver by the end of the week.
- The customer is left disappointed because you didn’t deliver on what was promised.
The temptation here is to play the ‘blame game’ – the salespeople shouldn’t have oversold the offering; the technical people should have anticipated the customer’s needs and been prepared. The reality is both departments have to work together continuously in order to win – it’s a three-legged race, not a relay.
In order to avoid this nightmare scenario, the answer is to be prepared. Working together, the technical and commercial departments need to create a fully fleshed-out roadmap for growth. A commercial strategy with built-in technical competency.
Explore your existing capabilities
You can’t design your roadmap without knowing where you are right now. As a first priority, look at your current technical and commercial capabilities and ask yourself: do I have everything I need here to build a successful MSP business?
- Do I have the technical expertise on my team to build on our current service offering?
- Will I be able to meet customer demand?
- Do I have the commercial strength to support my business goals?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, consider how you would like your business to grow – by adding staff and resources? Or by connecting with other service and technology providers?
For many MSPs, growth through these kinds of partnerships makes the most sense. It eliminates the risk and financial investment of expansion while still bringing the benefits – particularly if you find the right partner, who can give you instant access to a wealth of experience and proven technical capability.
For example, as an Infrastructure Management Provider, we at 4D partner with a number of MSPs and IT resellers. We are able to offer them access to the considerable physical resources we have available:
- Award-winning cooling
- Redundancy equipment that guarantees 99.999% uptime
- Comprehensive security
- Super-fast connectivity
Additionally we also provide the expertise of our technical team, who provide 24/7/365 monitoring and are able to field any questions customers have that your team might not feel confident answering. This is an advantage for both MSPs and your customers, showing the value of a strong partnership.
How can MSPs increase sales?
Partnering with a Managed Infrastructure Provider and boosting your technical side not only gives you more to offer your existing customers and a reason to reach out to new ones, it also provides access to a new network, which translates into new leads and further opportunities for growth.
However, in order to make the most of these opportunities you need a reliable partner who works with you to find solutions on a tight deadline. At 4D, for example, we have dedicated account managers who are committed to responding to channel partners quickly to ensure no opportunities are missed due to slow quoting. We understand what an MSP needs from their technical partner – after all, we started out as IT resellers too!
So long as your business strategy prioritises customer success, you can’t go too far wrong – it’s all about identifying what the customer needs and how to deliver it effectively.
If you are thinking about partnering with a Managed Infrastructure Provider, look at their technical and commercial resources and consider not only whether they can fulfil the functionality you need, but also whether they can help to fill any other gaps that would enable your business to grow.
Whether you need a technical boost or you’re just exploring your options, give us a call, or read more about our partner programme. We’re always happy to share our experience and talk through what might work best for you.