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Where MSPs Should Focus in 2024, According to Service Desk Experts Blog Feature

Managed IT services Best practices

By: Collabrance LLC on December 29th, 2023

Where MSPs Should Focus in 2024, According to Service Desk Experts

The world of managed IT is constantly evolving – rapidly – and it can be challenging for managed services providers to know where to turn their focus from one moment to the next. As 2023 ends and a new year begins, we asked our Collabrance service team leaders what strategies and tactics they think MSPs should prioritize to ensure 2024 is the most successful year yet. Read on for our experts’ tips. 

A mutually beneficial customer experience 

The customer experience isn't just about delivery of service. It involves understanding your customer’s journey from their perspective and creating positive experiences at every touchpoint. But to do that, you must be able to clearly define and communicate what value your service provides and how it can help your customer.  

One of the most effective ways to demonstrate value is with a quarterly business review, or QBR. The QBR should be used to underscore the positive results you've achieved for the customer, sure, but it’s also an opportunity to strengthen your partnership through shared strategy and accountability. Are there things the customer can do to help you deliver service more efficiently? Identify those things and create benchmarks for measuring progress toward common goals.  

The best relationships are those with a mutual understanding and respect for each party’s values and objectives. By having regular, open communication with your customers, you can highlight practices that generate value, and pinpoint others that have negative implications for the business on either side. QBRs keep goals aligned and expectations clear.  

Related: Four Steps to Successfully Perform a QBR 

Competitive secrets to stay ahead 

In the fast-paced world of technology, finding ways to carve a competitive niche is crucial. A superior service experience is the baseline requirement for MSP survival; to get ahead, you must keep up with the latest advancements and trends in cybersecurity, artificial intelligence, M&A – and whatever comes after that.  

Pay attention to industry news 

Make sure you’re paying attention to mergers and acquisitions of competitors in the channel and keep a close eye on the major players. M&A may create new threats or opportunities for your MSP; for example, a merger may result in consolidation, innovation, or diversification in the IT industry, which may affect the demand, supply, or pricing of IT services. Paying attention to these things may also give insight into areas where the offering of the “big guys” may be lacking – and where you could have a leg up when thinking about the best ways to differentiate your business.  

Take advantage of new technology 

Pay attention to and take advantage of new technology. Artificial intelligence is a great example of something that MSPs can use to offer innovative services and solutions. AI can be used to improve things like documentation, operational efficiency, cybersecurity, customer experience and so much more.  

Related: Finishing the Year Strong – What You Need to Do Now to Prepare for a Successful 2024 

Clear and consistent MSP strategies 

Having a clear and well-defined strategy is crucial for the success of any MSP. This involves defining your target market, identifying your unique selling proposition, and setting clear goals and action steps to achieve them (Collabrance works with the SMART goals framework). It also involves regularly reviewing and updating your strategy based on market trends and customer feedback. For instance, if remote work continues to be a major trend in 2024, your strategy might involve offering specialized services for remote teams. Similar to QBRs with your customers, we recommend a quarterly goals review where goals are evaluated to be completed, on track, or behind. 

The subtle art of saying ‘no’ as an MSP 

We recognize how important a customer-centric approach is. The desire to do everything you can to make all customers happy is a worthy objective, but it can backfire if you bite off more than you can chew. MSP prudence means defining your capabilities and solutions and saying ‘no’ to requests that fall outside those standards. If you’re bending your offering to accommodate the different needs of every customer, you’ll run into headaches in the future.  

Instead of customer satisfaction at any cost, prioritize quality of services over quantity. Identify your MSP’s area of specialization, aim to be the very best at it, and set clear boundaries with current and prospective customers. That means defining the scope of work and project timelines and expectations upfront, and pushing back when requests fall outside those parameters. It also means less pricing discounts! Your services are valuable, and your pricing should reflect that. 

Defining your target customer profile 

Defining your target customer profile – or TCP, as we refer to it – will help you qualify customers before ever speaking with them, ensuring the best use of time for both parties. Focus on the customer pain points your services solve and consider the shared attributes of your most successful customers. Finding segments of potential customers with those same commonalities will lead to more effective sales and marketing than trying to engage every prospect that crosses your path. 

Related: How To Get Started With Email Marketing – A Guide for MSPs [FREE DOWNLOAD] 

Outsourcing parts of your tech stack  

There are going to be elements of your service offering that your team is great at and enjoys doing, but there will also be capabilities that pose a continual challenge and ultimately fall outside your MSP’s area of expertise. Outsourcing the weaker parts of your offering eliminates any skills gap and provides a better experience for your customer.  

Standardize your offering 

The more buying options an MSP has among their products and services, the harder it is to scale the business. Every MSP should have at least one standard offering built around the needs of its target customer – for example, a standardized VPN configuration with MFA on all applicable applications and a three-year hardware refresh cycle. If your target customer has on-premises domain controllers, your standard offering should be less likely to include things like Microsoft Entra or AWS. Standardize your MSP pricing with tiered or flat rates wherever possible.  

Related: How to Educate Your Customers About the Importance of MFA  

Implement sales and marketing strategies that work for your MSP  

Relying solely on referrals is an outdated and unsustainable business practice for MSPs. The demand for managed IT is ever-expanding, but so is the pool of solution providers. A concerted sales and marketing strategy is necessary if you're going to outrun the competition. 

You don’t need to be a marketing expert or have a big sales team to create some simple practices that align with your target customers, revenue goals, and team structure. Without any strategy at all, you risk chasing an unidentified audience, leading to wasted time and closed-lost deals. 

Use cybersecurity insurance requirements as a sales tool 

Cyber insurance carriers are increasingly rigid in their underwriting. Many small-to-medium sized businesses do not have the knowledge or infrastructure to navigate current cyber insurance requirements. If you are working with a prospect, ask if they are looking for – or currently hold – cyber insurance. If the answer is yes, walk them through a sample risk assessment to help identify where there may be gaps in their security coverage, and use those gaps to put together a strong offering. When selling services based on the customer’s needs, it is very hard for them to say no. Collabrance, for example, offers a cyber insurance-ready package that includes the basic cybersecurity solutions most needed to obtain cyber insurance at a reasonable cost. 

Work with Collabrance  

Collabrance helps MSPs achieve greater success through a portfolio of white label IT solutions, including a U.S.-based, live answer service desk and NOC. We work hard to make sure we’re more than just a third-party vendor – we aim to be an extension of your team. When you work with Collabrance, you’ll gain access not only to our team of technical experts, but also to a number of value-added services, including sales support and marketing materials, white glove customer onboarding, training and education, and more.  

We want to see your MSP flourish in 2024! 

The key to success in managed IT is to continuously adapt and evolve in response to the changing technological landscape and your customers’ needs. With a few key tactics, your MSP can stay competitive, drive growth, and achieve success in 2024. We hope this blog sparked inspiration for the exciting year ahead! 

To learn more about how Collabrance can support your growth in 2024, visit our services page.

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