Many people like to assert that selling Managed IT Services is in no way, shape, or form sexy. And to that… we 100% agree. Tell anyone that you work in Managed IT Services and the only thing they’ll ever think about when they see you is glasses. It’s inevitable – even if you are a GQ hunk in Calvin Klein underwear, you’re still a nerd.
However, the thing about technology is that a lot of people are naturally interested in it – which means creating high levels of engagement with your clients should be relatively easy, even for an MSP. And what this means, is that every interaction with your clients doesn’t have to be centered on backups, servers, and the ‘Harry-Potter-like’ magic of cloud computing.
In fact, the more you expand your conversations to educate your clients on other important technology issues, concepts, trends, and practices, the more your clients will appreciate the relationship they have with your MSP. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Educational Email Push
Back in March, Malwarebytes reported on a new form of ransomware called Maktub Locker. While this particular threat may or may not have a large impact on American businesses, it’s still a threat nonetheless, and you can use this to your advantage.
Send out an email to inform your clients of the potential threat. Keep it short, but let them know what it may look like, how it can affect them, and how to avoid it. You can even phrase it as, “New threat on the horizon. Here’s what you and your staff should know.”
This educational – but interesting – material will do four things:
- Strengthen the relationship you have with your clients by letting them know you care
- Reinforce your expertise by demonstrating your knowledge
- Prevent threats from popping up in the future (although this one is a maybe, and a weak one at that)
- Keep your clients engaged with your business and interested in what you have to say
Webinar or Lunch and Learn
Depending on where you live and what industries you serve, a webinar might interest your clients more than a lunch and learn (or vice versa). But whatever method you choose to go with, the content can remain the same.
These client events will require a bit more energy than a simple email push, but the payoff is well worth it. You’ll need to plan for a PowerPoint, a speaker or two, invites, and follow up material. It’s important to stay away from tech speak during these presentations – and remember, just because it interests you, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily interesting to your clients – in fact, as a rule of thumb, whatever you find interesting, don’t do. Throw holy water at it and run the other way.
Here are a few topics we recommend to our members:
- Everyday Disasters – Speak about common ‘everyday’ disasters that can result in data loss. Explain what they are and how to avoid them.
- Excel 101 – Odds are, there’s probably someone on your nerd squad who knows a thing or two about Excel. Use them. You’ll be surprised by how popular something as simple as Excel 101 will be with your client base. However, if your clients consist of nothing but accountants, you might want to think twice about this topic.
- Social Media – Anything social media is interesting to the majority of business professionals, and as a plus, it’s incredibly easy to coast your way through a presentation on social media. Gather a few statistics and a couple of good tips, and you’re golden. You’ll look like a certified Facebook expert ten times out of ten.
If you think you’re up for the challenge, a whitepaper can be a great piece of material for your business – not just for current clients but for prospects, as well. As a matter of fact, any of the suggestions noted above can be used for marketing purposes just as much as they can be used for client retention.
That being said, if there’s a topic you think your clients should know more about – AND IS INTERESTING – write about it. For this one, you’ll need to go back to 10th grade and remember what it was like to write a thorough research paper. This bad boy should have everything – an executive summary, an opening, a background, and a how to, why, and what for. Three to five pages later, it should be a lengthy piece of content that your clients will want to print out and distribute to their staff members.
Here are a few topics to consider:
- Any prevalent security threats – ransomware, phishing, Malvertising…
- Email etiquette
- New technologies
- BYOD concerns
To wrap things up, if you’re going to take anything away from this blog, let it be this:
Just because you work with servers, hardware, antivirus solutions, and clouds, does not mean you’re left to squeeze juice out of a lemon that doesn’t want to be squeezed. Because trust me, even if you get juice out of that sucker, no one’s going to want anything to do with it. In other words, don’t pigeonhole yourself. Throw down the lemon and pick up an apple – at the end of the day, they’re both a fruit, and apples lead to some pretty tasty juice. Create engagement out of material that your clients will appreciate, enjoy, and thank you for later.