The Managed Services Spin

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Don Begg, CEO of Do IT Smarter, a San Diego-based MSP that also now sells its services to other MSPs and coaches them on developing a managed services practice, talks about what it takes to succeed in managed services sales.

Partner Or Perish: Technology is becoming so complex, you can't be an expert at everything; you really need to partner to deliver a comprehensive support plan to customers.

Lead With Managed Services: Resellers who have the most success lead with managed services—and that doesn't mean they're not selling projects, but they're leading with managed services and then pull project and product business. They've successfully made the transition from product to service sales, and service sales pull product. But the end goal has to be managed services. Many of the interconnects we work with are doing a better job at selling managed services than solution providers because they don't have a fallback position. They can't just engage on a per-project basis. Their only hope is to sell a managed services offering, so they're having greater success than the solution providers who can fall back on break-fix services.

Go Vertical: We see demand for managed services in a lot of different verticals, but what we see as hotter is becoming a specialist in those verticals. Whether you're specializing in law firms or bowling alleys, if you can show them you understand those industries' pain points and the events going on and how technology can address those issues, you're going to gain a greater customer base that will only grow greater in the long term. We see a lot of specialization in the medical field in particular.

Reduce Your Labor Costs: When looking at platforms, it's all about reducing the labor required to manage and remotely monitor systems. A lot of times, products appear to have more bells and whistles than others, but it's a headache to keep them up and running. People get locked into a cost per license, when in reality, [we know from] having run our own NOC for several years, the greatest cost is in the labor component. Resellers wanting to get into managed services don't want to spend a lot of time becoming an expert at a platform; they just want it to work.

Find The Opportunity: There are so many key things going on. For example, PCI compliance, [which is] being driven by MasterCard and Visa, has taken on more headlines lately. For customers dealing with any volume of credit-card transactions, they face that as an issue.

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