Q: I'm working with a prospect who’s struggling to understand the value in our managed IT services. They definitely need an MSP to manage their backup strategy and help them to protect and support their IT infrastructure. What tips do other MSPs have for showing small business customers the value in IT services? How can I convince this customer it's worth the investment?
You're not the only MSP who’s run into this problem. We've heard it more than once before. Unfortunately, many small businesses would rather save their money and risk losing the critical data that keeps their business running and profitable. In order for SMBs to understand the value of investing in IT, they need to be educated on benefits of managed services.
When we saw your question, we reached out to the experts — our MSP Partners — to find out how they approach reluctant prospects and win their business. We also spoke with Neal Bradbury, our senior director of business development, for his input on how to articulate the value in managed services. Here's their advice for winning over your customer:
Key talking points for justifying IT spend
After talking with our Partners and Neal, we uncovered three key benefits to mention when you're approaching any small business prospect and selling them on your IT services.
- Downtime prevention
To truly resonate with your small business prospects, explain that proactive maintenance and monitoring of their IT environments will prevent downtime for their business. Show them the cost to their business when one of their employee's workstations is down for a day or even a few hours. The lost time and productivity of that employee could have staggering effects. Then explain that with your help, they'll be able to make sure their employees are operating as efficiently as possible. Intronis Partner, Kyle Garland of Daystar Inc., says that getting the customer to understand the investment is all about showing them the improvement in their productivity.
- Predictable budget
Another key selling point for small businesses is that they'll be billed on a recurring monthly basis. The point you should make is that they’ll be charged the same price each month, allowing them to budget and plan ahead more easily. For customers who are reluctant, note that approaching their IT needs in a reactive manner could cost their business more headaches and more money, all without any formal budget to address and solve those issues. One of our Partners, Ryan Rosenkaimer of Alura Business Solutions, suggests showing this value in a graph or other visual format, saying that most customers appreciate having a visual to support your claim.
- Insurance for your business
It's also important to explain that your managed IT services as necessary insurance for your prospective customer and their business. Neal Bradbury says that any backup solution is insurance for the business and in order to protect yourself you need to pay for it. As you're talking with your customers, articulate this point and help them to understand it could save their business in any number of data loss scenarios.
When to have the conversation
You should plan to share your value propositions with your prospective customer during the proposal stage in the sales process. Chris Cable of Techworks Consulting Inc. finds it helpful to bring facts and examples to show the customer during their evaluation. During this time, Chris suggests discussing their business and how managed IT services could improve the way they work. "IT is not there to be a headache; it's there to enhance every part of the business," he says.
Intronis Partner Taylor Lee of Visualutions suggests that MSPs provide specific examples of when backup solutions saved another one of their customers. An example she notes is explaining a situation where a customer had a backup strategy and their data was encrypted with malware and recovered, and then contrasting that example with a customer who went through the same situation but didn't have a backup solution in place and wasn't able to get their data recovered. Don't try to scare the customer, but bring up real life situations where you've seen businesses impaired and explain how you could save them from dealing with similar problems.
During your conversations with the prospect, try to articulate the value in your services by stressing the three key selling points mentioned above, but avoid trying to strike fear in the business owner so they don’t feel pressured. Take an advisory role, and let them know that you're there to help them protect their businesses. You can do this by finding a balance between educating the small business on what's best for their business along with sharing the honest truths regarding the consequences of not investing in IT.
Using this advice from Neal and your MSP peers, you’ll be well positioned to overcome objections from your prospect and assure them that the investment in IT management is worthwhile for their business. We hope that these tips help you to close even more business and find new ways to take your MSP to the next level. Best of luck!
Ask Intronis is a weekly advice column answering common questions from MSPs and IT service providers. It covers topics ranging from pricing and selling to marketing and communications—and everything in between. Submit your questions by emailing AskIntronis@intronis.com.