The MSP Best Practice Discussions Usually Heard in the Hallways

Lively Discussions in the Managed Services Community Meeting at ChannelCon

IMG_1529There are always a few nuggets of information IT channel professionals reserve for their closest industry friends. Those best practice “hallway conversations” often include the things MSPs learned from their own business trials and tribulations and, when shared, those personal experiences help other providers avoid making the same potentially costly mistakes or improve their chances of success. That type of information is extremely valuable to those opening a business, starting a new practice or simply hoping to get better in a particular area.    

These impactful interactions are what CompTIA Communities are all about, and the Managed Services group decided to take them to the next level during their meeting at ChannelCon 2016. Based on the standing room only audience and all the interaction in the best practice exchange, it was a resounding success. Community leaders turned the tables on audience members and made them into panelists.  And they certainly delivered. Questions were submitted electronically, online and in person, and the answers flowed on a number of the topics that matter most to MSPs. While it would be nearly impossible to share all the information in a single blog, and few identified themselves (so no names are included), here is a sampling of the Q&A discussion.

How do you implement price increases with your managed services?

  • “We hadn’t raised ours in seven years so we told customers that we did a price review and luckily there would be no increase.” That set the stage for the flowing year (and every one since) when they raised their rates.
  • “We just review our effective rate (how much time we spend with each customer) and use that as a baseline for increases.”
  • “Our company went from gold, silver, bronze programs to “all in” per-seat pricing.” When asked how many employ a similar formula, approximately half of the Managed Service Community members raised their hands. These plans typically cover onsite support as well, and MSPs can adjust their rates annually based on previous labor costs and issues.

How often are you doing customer reviews?

  • “We just perform quarterly reviews for the larger clients.” Several MSPs indicated the time spent performing QBRs for smaller customers is rarely worth the effort, with little improvement in retention and sales.   
  • “Let’s ditch the term QBR. These are business reviews.” Many tend to focus more on the past performance and then turn it around to discuss future solution and support options.
  • “There’s no time expectation and our focus is primarily on the roadmap.” Several MSPs use these discussions to uncover and review specific business objectives with their clients.
  • “Don’t meet to discuss complaints, that just invited trouble.” Focus on the positive, including roadmap and future needs. In the context of those discussions, issues may come up that will need to be addressed, but MSPs should avoid making the conversations confrontational or negative.

What security services do you offer?

  • “Our team provides foundational protection, as well as end user training.” Many suggested taking a proactive or comprehensive approach to security, but everyone offers at least basic services.
  • “We offer a premium offering, including a monitoring service provided by a third-party company. It’s not tied directly to our company.” A common theme here was to be creative in with the portfolio, leveraging partners to provide a more comprehensive solution set.   
  • “We found a big gap between what we need to do and what customers believe they need.” The goal is to match real needs and vulnerabilities with the most cost-effective solutions.

The Q&A session continued on with best practices around managed DNS security services, hiring and other topics. Are you interested in joining future hallway-quality conversations? Join the CompTIA Managed Services Community today and you’ll receive information on their next collaborative meeting.

 

 

 

 

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