MSP Influencers #5: How to Mitigate the Impact of the Pandemic

BY IT GLUE | December 17, 2020

Welcome to another edition of MSP Influencers – a blog series through which we give readers insights from top industry influencers on the current state of the MSP space and what they expect to see going forward in 2021.

Last week, we highlighted the major challenges that MSPs are expected to face in 2021. In this edition, our panel will share their thoughts on what MSPs can do to mitigate the impact of an extended, pandemic-driven economy. We know that vaccines are arriving, but the rollout of hundreds of millions of vaccines is going to take time, which means the pandemic is still going to be a major economic influencer throughout 2021.

A key theme that emerged throughout the panel was that, under the current circumstances, MSPs must revise their go-to-market strategy. Gary Pica from TruMethods pointed out that “Over the past 11 years, most industries were growing, so MSPs could take a shotgun approach. In the pandemic economy, you need to be more thoughtful in your go-to-market strategy. Which industries will thrive in the new economy and which companies need to react to security threats and compliance requirements? MSPs need to evaluate changing needs to address and capitalize on the appropriate opportunities.”

Kaseya’s CEO, Fred Voccola, added that a strong go-to-market strategy is critical in this new, uncertain reality because “MSPs need to be able to sell their value proposition to new and existing customers and clearly articulate the value of what they provide to stand out from the competition.”

Almost all the panelists agreed that MSPs need to double down on their financial understanding and put more effort into cost cutting. MSP Expert, Erick Simpson, suggested that MSPs should “renegotiate more favorable terms with their vendors and distributors and increase their service delivery efficiencies to maximize profitability for services they are currently contracted to provide their customers.”

James Ratcliff from Ratcliff IT echoed the same sentiments and advised MSPs to maintain tight credit control and keep receivables down. He also added that MSPs should update their business plan and work out what the reasonable best, middle and worst cases might look like financially.

Another point that our experts stressed on was improvements in service delivery and customer experience. Nigel Moore from The Tech Tribe believes that MSPs should aim to improve on both fronts, even at the expense of high margins. He adds, “Do whatever you can to make their business better. The good will will come back in spades during the next upswing.”

As for how to improve service delivery, most experts suggested that MSPs should prioritize automation in the service delivery framework and refine their technology stack. MSP growth expert, Richard Tubb, believes that MSPs should aim to become the business their clients want to be. He elaborated further. “This means showing your clients how to use efficient, modern technologies (for instance, electronic signatures to replace paper chains and cloud services to replace clunky on-site services) and leading by example. Your clients look to you as their guide on what an efficient, modern business can be. Show them how they can gain a competitive advantage.”

Apart from these points, our experts also reiterated the need to keep calm. They felt that you should not get carried away by the doom and gloom surrounding the economy and pandemic. Instead, you should focus on helping your employees and your customers.

This was summed up well by Mark Copeman, the author of Helpdesk Habits and MSP Secrets Revealed. He said “Of course, some horrific things are going on in the economy and the world at large. The chances are that you can only affect your immediate vicinity, so put your efforts into focusing on that. Worry about the things you have control over.”

In next week’s edition, our focus will be on what MSPs need to know to win in 2021. In the meantime, we invite you to check out our 2021 MSP Outlook e-book.

Download the 2021 MSP Industry Outlook Report now

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