MSPs repeatedly hear that managed services sales are about filling customer business needs rather than selling technology. And while that is undeniably true, you still need reliable technology to do your job well.
After all, technology advances are what made the managed services model viable, allowing providers to transition from product-focused sales and break/fix maintenance to a service approach. Platforms that automate tasks, let you remotely monitor customer environments and deliver services are integral to the managed services model.
So whenever you choose a RMM (remote monitoring and management) or PSA (professional services automation) platform – or any add-on cloud-based services – you should conduct due diligence about the vendor to protect your investment in the technology that can help make or break your business. When assessing vendors, here are four questions to ask before making a decision:
- Is the technology any good?
You’ll want assurances the tools are as good as the vendor says they are – that they work as promised so you don’t end up with a bunch of unhappy customers. Ask for a proof of concept or a pilot before making a decision on a platform or service. A pilot run should be especially revealing since it would let you see the tool in action. Be sure to ask for references, and check with industry peers who have used the technology whether they would recommend it.
- Do the tools match the need?
Whatever tools you deploy to run your managed services practice, make sure they fill an existing or projected need. A data backup and disaster recovery offering fills a universal need, so it’s a safe bet, but something more specialized makes sense only if it matches your customers’ business requirements. Also make sure you have the skills required to run the tool; otherwise, the result is bound to be frustration for you and your customers.
- What’s the vendor’s support track record?
Before you sign on the dotted line with any vendor, check the vendor’s track record of pre- and post-sales support. Will the vendor back you up if something goes wrong with the platform or tool? Is the vendor’s technical support team knowledgeable and available? If not, think twice. In the age of social media and real-time communications, it shouldn’t be difficult to check a vendor’s track record, so make sure you don’t skip this step.
- Can the vendor help you grow?
Good vendors understand the need to support your business growth plans. They provide you with useful resources because as you grow, so do they. You’ll want to partner with vendors that provide training, a knowledge base about the market’s need for the technology and how to best apply it to customers’ business needs, as well as sales and marketing tools. The more resources a vendor provides, the more likely you are to be successful using it.
Answers to these four questions will help you make wise decisions about vendor partnerships as you build and grow your managed services business.