Long story short: one. Is your business a highly skilled technology provider or a flea market with a bunch of random crap? Because, shocker, only one of the two is a high paying / high margin enterprise.
On my world tour with ExchangeDefender I’ve discussed this with a lot of partners as they list one obstacle after another that is holding them back and keeping them from breaking out to the next level. For most, perfection is the enemy of good enough: Remember how many people bought a Celeron-powered SBS server from Dell with 2GB ram just because it was on the back of a magazine? How about Windows Me and Vista and 8? In business you are constantly facing challenges and disappointment be it with technology or people – but the goal is to keep on moving forward.
One of the things that I am proudest of in my career is what we’ve been able to do with Shockey Monkey – we gave so many people the tools and services to help them establish an MSP practice and grow a process oriented technology business for free. Now I’m doing it again with the ExchangeDefender migrations, taking the annoying bits of work that IT people shouldn’t be doing in the first place, and giving partners that much needed influx or revenue and client base that can be serviced at a higher level. It’s all about defining your value.
You only need one.
I’ve met many partners that get confused by garbage marketing toolkits and marketing copy in a trashcan or whatever the current hip name for writing essays as marketing happens to be. But Vlad, it works and it keeps me accountable! Yeah, but what kind of people does it bring in – cheapskates with essay like technology problems.
Your problem typically isn’t that you don’t offer enough value points. It’s typically that you offer the one that the clients care about the least.
Why did the client call you. Unless you’re a mind reader the best way to figure that out is by saying the following words: “How may I help you today?”
MSP sales are ridiculously complex but the business decision (as in: the problem the guy who owns the bank account cares the most) is quite simple:
We have some IT problems that we don’t have the time to deal with and we want the problem to go away without causing others or costing us more.
Building your value tagline out of that problem should be relatively simple.
But if you hit someone with a 50 point bullet list like you’re Microsoft trying to sway someone away from buying Vmware… all you’re really doing is shooting yourself in the foot. The business owner is sitting there thinking: I don’t have the time for this 50 questions shit, I thought I called these people to sell me on saving me time from dealing with tech problems but it seems like I just got another inquisitive idiot employee. Hold on, let me let you talk to our technical person. If you ever got that treatment, you lost.
Business values are simple as is a company mission – be it one employee, ten or hundred. You exist to serve a certain kind of customer and solve certain kids of problems. Don’t try to copy someone you are not or market with the content that doesn’t appeal to the kind of a client you don’t want.
Define yourself and let the market come to you.