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Many managed service providers are looking at moving up the food chain trying to acquire larger and potentially better clients.  As smaller clients prove to be less profitable and the threats of the cloud squeeze every bit of margin from once great clients, many of you need to move up to larger clients who still rely on servers, workstations and traditional IT services.

Is your MSP business sophisticated enough to deal with the needs of larger clients?

Microbusinesses were once a great source of revenue for many MSPs, but this market is starting to dry up.  These clients were easy to sell IT services at one time, many relied on small business servers, Office, and Exchange server for their email servers.  However, the cloud is snatching this market up.

Time to move up, are you ready?

As you are forced up the food chain, are you equipped and ready to handle the needs of larger clients?  The demands of larger small business and mid-market corporations are different that what many of us are accustomed too.  Larger corporations look at technology as a business enabler and turn towards IT systems as strategic business investments.

Are you able to have these business conversations with your clients?

We are forced to up our level of sophistication in order to work with the needs of corporations and enterprises versus the mom and pop shop down the road.

Here are five high level tips on where to up your game and improve your sophistication:

  • Invest in Knowledge Gathering – Many professionals in the MSP community are sharing the message of going vertical.  In order to step up your game in going vertical, you need to have a strong working knowledge of the vertical markets.  You need to understand the pain points that impact industry and how each position in a corporation leverage IT in their day-to-day job functions.
  • Always Look Professional – Throw away the khakis and curled up collar polo shirts and exchange them for a sharp suit and invest in your professional appearance.  In order to step up your game you need to look professional.  When your team is professional, you immediately gain the trust as the IT Professional instead of just the computer guy.
  • Your Solutions Must Focus on Business Goals – When we work with microbusiness, it is OK just to be the computer guy that everyone calls when systems breakdown.  However, as you move up the food chain, your understanding of business applications and how your clients use these apps will always rule supreme over your technical knowledge of servers or desktops.
  • Appreciate the Longer Sales Cycle – As you move into larger accounts, the sales cycles can become much longer.  Appreciate this and use this time to create strong relationships with everyone involved.  Rome wasn’t built overnight, and neither is your sophisticated IT solution. Do you have a system in place to navigate these waters?
  • Hire only the Best – dump/outsource the rest!  When you move into a pure IT consulting role, the people you hire will also change.  Technicians are still required, but they become less involved in the actual decisions being made onsite.  Hire the best IT Professionals and pay them accordingly.  You may also need to hire professionals from the particular verticals you work in, or look into outsourcing things like your Live Help Desk or MSP Marketing.

Being an IT Professional is something to be proud about.  Understanding business and helping corporations succeed through the use of the best IT solutions available is very rewarding when you invest the time, effort and energy to better yourself and your business.  Your level of sophistication and investing in your personal growth will assist you in your journey towards creating a successful business.

Serving your clients is essential.  Making sure you have a professional outsourced help desk is a step in the right direction.  As you increase the quality of your client base, their needs will change and their IT challenges will become more complex.  Line of business applications, complex networking and 24/7 workaholics will stress your resources.  Get a professional help desk onboard now to help you get to the next level.