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Working with managed services providers (MSP) to outsource tasks that aren’t part of an organization’s core business is a key way for companies to optimize time and resources. But if organizations don’t choose the MSPs they work with carefully, the relationship could be more headache than it is helpful.
You can tell a lot about how a company will treat you once you become a client by the way they approach the sales process. If the sales process feels cold and impersonal, don’t expect things to improve once they’ve won your business. These types of organizations are vendors. They’re selling you something and that’s where it ends.
For more successful and productive engagements, look for service providers that aren’t just after your money. These are the ones that are truly invested in meeting your needs and helping your organization succeed. You’ll see this early on, throughout the sales process and in how they craft a proposed solution. These MSPs move beyond being simply vendors and become your partner.
Here are a few ways to tell the difference between service providers that will be simple vendors versus those who will be partners. If you don’t get the sense that a provider is checking these boxes, walk away and find one that does.
Can we all agree that anything that’s “one size fits all” is probably not the highest quality option on the market? Whether we’re talking clothes or business solutions, everyone and every case is different and going with a generic, pre-packaged option will often leave you disappointed.
When talking to a potential MSP, make sure you feel comfortable that they truly understand your specific use cases and needs. They should be asking questions and providing guidance, not just repeatedly offering up their solution.
The questions they ask during the sales process are key. This is their area of expertise and their questions should help guide you to better understand your needs (these conversations may raise a few points you didn’t consider), project scope and how well their solution will fit with your expectations.
A decent service provider may take the time to understand your project needs, but the best MSPs don’t stop there. What pushes a vendor into the realm of a partner is when they take the time to understand your company and vision.
Projects and purchases don’t live in a vacuum. They influence a company and need to be aligned with larger, broader goals. The best service providers will look for this additional context to ensure they’re guiding you in the right direction and providing the most appropriate solution not only for today’s needs but that will grow with your organization.
Wanting to understand your company and direction is a sign that you’re not just another contract to this provider. They’re invested in helping your entire organization succeed and see this relationship as a long term engagement.
Not every service provider will be able to fulfill every need, but which organization would you rather do business with (now or in the future):
MSPs that can’t (or won’t) admit that they’re not the right fit for a particular project aren’t interested in helping you succeed, they’re interested in meeting a sales quota.
The companies you want to work with are more than just a service provider, they should be trusted advisors. They may offer to work with you to develop a new solution or bring in a partner to meet specific needs, but they shouldn’t dance around and give half answers if they can’t fulfill a request or inquiry. Transparency is an important part of a strong partnership and honestly and straightforwardness is a major part of transparency.
Working with managed services providers is supposed to make your life easier. That won’t happen if the company goes cold once you ink a contract. The provider should be as invested in your success and the process to get there as you are.
During the sales process, ask about post-implementation support. If the support or ticketing process seems impersonal (filling out a web form and waiting to hear back), then it probably will be. The best MSPs supply you with a list of contacts that will be working on your account before you even sign the contract. If personnel changes or as you move along in the purchasing, implementation and existing customer process you should be personally introduced to the new members of your team by an existing member. Your sales rep should also always be available and check in regularly to ensure the relationship remains positive and you’re happy with the solution. A great MSP doesn’t just managing a solution for you, they also manage and nurture your relationship.
A managed services provider is an extension of your team. You use their tools or services to run some aspect of your business and that has an impact on your company’s productivity and success. Choosing a provider that will be a partner rather than just a vendor can make or break your engagement. You don’t have time to struggle with a disengaged vendor or one that can’t really meet your needs even though they said they could. Pay attention to a provider’s engagement, interest level, guidance and transparency during the sales process, it’s a good indication of how they’ll treat you post-sale and if they’ll be a vendor or a partner.
Aug 17, 2021
It’s that time of year again. No, not back-to-school, although it is that as well. It’s time for Inc. Magazine ...READ MORE