I assume at this point most of you in MSP land are seeing your receivables start to climb. When the economy goes into a complete state of shock, that’s inevitable. The way we see it there’s two parts to this challenge.
The first is collecting from customers who don’t have any money because they aren’t working. This is not going to be an effective use of your time, and you kind of know that already. It’s the second A/R challenge that matters right now.
The second main challenge you’re facing is from customers who are still working, but not making a lot of money. They’re looking to save every penny they can and guess what – you’re probably starting to look like a line item to a lot of them.
You know the saying “the best defense is a good offense”? I think it’s quite apt here. Everybody is shifting into survival mode, because all they can see is the risk that they face. But for the few who can shift their mindset to one of opportunity, it’s out there. And it starts right here, right now, with the way you market your business.
Here’s what I’m getting at.
You do not sell “IT”. You sell peace of mind, you sell ROI, and it just so happens that IT is the pathway by which you deliver these things. If your clients are paying you for “IT”, well they don’t know what that is, don’t care what it does, they just want stuff to work. The problem of course is that anybody can give them “IT” and there’s always someone willing to do it cheaper.
So take the opportunity to build a better message. Think about peace of mind for a second. Does the CEO of Marriott have a lot of peace of mind right now? I suspect not. And all it took was the credentials of two employees. I’ve said it before – I don’t even know any of my passwords, and I can’t do jack without 2FA.
If your clients – or worse yet your staff – have to memorize their own passwords and don’t use 2FA, then how do your clients sleep at night? Peace of mind is worth a lot of money. Ask anyone who’s been ransomed. That’s a message you can sell to even the stingiest of clients – ransomware is an existential threat to small business just as much as COVID-19 is, and we’re not even close to flattening the curve on ransomware.
On the ROI side, the question you always want to come back to is “how much does downtime cost?” Ask your clients for a cost per hour. Back in the days before COVID, maybe they didn’t know. But anybody in business today has to know exactly how much they were making in an hour of normal business. Whether it’s one machine that goes down, or an entire network, the faster you get it up and running again the faster they can go back to making money.
When we get past all this, your clients will need to make up for lost time, so they can’t just leave money laying around on the table. The speed and accuracy of your service desk matters. The quality of the tech you give them matters. Your ability to facilitate remote work, to troubleshoot and to provide round the clock service – all of these things matter. It’s all part of why they pay you, and all of those things have value. The cost of your service has to be weighed against that value. If not, you’re just cost. If so, any rational client will realize that the ROI of even the most expensive MSP is pretty solid.
These aren’t the only two things you can do to come out of the gates quickly in the post-COVID world. But they’re two big ones, because they take you and your clients out of survival mode, and shift the mindset back towards positioning for growth. I think we can all agree that getting back into growth mode is going to be essential for the rest of 2020 and beyond.
So take this opportunity to work on your messaging, and start thinking about the best ways to get your messaging out there. It’s not rocket science. You do amazing work, and your clients need you more than ever. Just sometimes they need a little reminder of just how much value you bring.
Want to become more streamlined and optimized yourself? Good call. We’ll talk more about that in the coming days. But for now just take the time to think about the value you bring and how you’re going to convey that, so that your clients resist the urge to be pennywise and pound foolish.
Cheers, and stay safe.
And while you’re here maybe check out a little video we made about Network Glue, because we are the marketing department after all.