Managed service providers (MSPs) have become an essential part of the successful running of organizations. They are not only helping organizations with the daily running of their (organizations’) IT infrastructure but also ensuring that they (organizations) keep up with best practices and the latest trends and tools.
For example, besides helping with minor issues such as password and printer resets, they also handle essential tasks such as data security. Every organization understands that a data breach can be costly and might lead to losses.
Fortunately, managed services are not new – a more significant percentage of companies understand their importance. Research indicates that about 60% of organizations will depend entirely on managed services by 2025.
That notwithstanding, the managed service industry is still growing. Many MSPs find it difficult to attract new clients, keep existing ones, and beat competition from other MSPs. So how can they build a winning proposal? But before then…
What is a Managed Service Provider?
Technology is driving operations in almost every other business. The amount of time and resources needed to manage IT infrastructure might make organizations forget about their core business and goals. This is what makes managed service providers important.
A managed service provider can be defined as a company that specializes in providing managed services to other companies or organizations. This includes full or part-time management of the organization’s IT infrastructure as agreed.
MSPs offer different pricing models depending on the service that they provide. Some of MSPs’ most popular pricing models include value-based, tier-based, and à la carte, among others.
These pricing models allow organizations to get expert services using modern tools while only paying for the used resources. They are also guaranteed services such as network security, issue resolution, and 24/7 support and monitoring.
However, apart from setting up the business and ensuring they have experts working, MSPs still have to acquire and keep their customers. One way of attracting customers is by preparing a winning proposal. So, what elements should a winning MSP proposal have?
Elements of A Winning Managed Service Provider (MSP) Proposal
Problem Solving Capabilities
One of the biggest challenges that MSPs face when preparing a proposal for their services is ensuring that their potential customers understand all the technical terms and processes that they follow to make them successful.
However, they (MSPs) should make sure that their proposal focuses on the problems that their technical processes and tools solve – in other words, the solutions they provide.
Even though metrics such as feeds and speeds are important, organizations need to know the problems that MSPs will help solve.
It does not matter what an MSP does; it could be integration, development, or designing an API from scratch; at the end of the day, they (MSPs) should not only follow design best practices but also show how the API is going to solve problems for their potential customers.
The proposal should show the successful outcomes organizations will get when consuming the services offered by MSPs. It should also seek to instill trust in the organizations that the MSP is the best option available to them organizations.
Being an MSP means that organizations working with your company need IT experts who can provide them with the strategic advice they need to succeed in their IT infrastructure. This is something that needs to be included in your MSP proposal.
MSPs are supposed to provide support similar to CIOs (Chief Information Officers). In your proposal, you need to ensure that your potential customers understand how they stand to benefit from your support.
In addition, highlight that they benefit from working with experts with excellent industry knowledge without hiring someone full-time. Since these experts do not work on-site, they are usually referred to as virtual CIOs.
Therefore, MSPs need to make sure that their proposals talk about the strategic approach they bring to organizations’ IT infrastructure. It should also talk about the tools they use and how such tools can support the organizations’ objectives and goals.
When hiring a third party to manage their IT infrastructures, organizations invest money and resources to ensure that their networks are available and safe. They, therefore, want an MSP that uses modern tools and follows the latest digital trends to improve the performance of their businesses.
This means they do not need MSPs to fix things that are not working as expected. They understand how expensive downtime can be for their businesses. Understanding this will help you build a winning proposal that convinces potential customers.
A winning proposal should show potential customers how an MSP will partner with them. It should also show them how the MSP can anticipate their technology needs and prepare their IT resources to ensure business success.
It should talk about the technology tweaks and regular reviews that the MSP will undertake proactively to ensure that downtime is minimized and the IT infrastructure works well at all times.
Disaster Recovery and Business Continuity
Organizations engage with MSPs to ensure that their businesses operate without interruptions. With these partnerships, they can relax and focus on their core business areas since they know their partner MSP has covered them.
But do MSPs need to include this element in their proposal? Well, they have to. Organizations need to understand how an MSP handles disaster recovery and business continuity. They need to understand measures taken by an MSP concerning system backup.
Organizations know that an effective backup should come with a recovery plan. This helps in keeping business information safe, something that prevents downtime and loss in case of an attack by cybercriminals.
MSPs should, therefore, include backup information in their proposals and how quickly they can restore systems. This is important in showing potential customers how committed they are to ensuring that business operations are not interrupted.
This is one of the most important things businesses look at when working with managed service providers. Every organization needs to work with an MSP that ensures that there is no breakdown in communication at any given time.
When creating an MSP proposal, you must ensure that you have talked about the robust support you provide to your customers. This should include communication channels, support times and levels, and availability.
If an MSP outsources its support function, it should ensure that this is mentioned in the proposal. This is important because outsourcing might lead to service delivery issues due to communication breakdowns and time-zone differences.
In your proposal, provide information about the support, your potential customers’ expectations, and why your support beats what your competitors offer.
Software Patching, Monitoring, Management, and Updating
Organizations want to work with an MSP that does software patching, monitoring, management, and updating. This enables them to delegate all their efforts toward achieving the goals of their business operations.
Therefore, when preparing an MSP proposal, MSPs should show a couple of things concerning patching, monitoring, management, and updating. They should show how they manage, monitor, and fix any issues related to hardware devices.
This might include remote monitoring, automated patching, anti-malware, and emails. They should also show how they solve issues before the organizations they are working for are aware of the existence of those issues.
In addition, they need to show the strategies they employ to monitor access points, switches, and firewalls. This helps organizations understand how an MSP will identify and solve problems to keep their systems running without interruptions.
Technological advancement has seen a sharp rise in techniques used by cybercriminals. They are coming up with new strategies and techniques to try and penetrate organizations’ IT infrastructures.
Organizations understand how critical cybersecurity is to the success of their businesses. They also know that it is pretty expensive to hire in-house personnel to ensure that their systems are secure.
MSPs must include the measures and approaches they take toward cybersecurity and how they protect businesses’ data, infrastructure, networks, apps, services, and websites from data breaches.
They need to explain what their talented cybersecurity experts can handle and the security layers they build to ensure that IT services run efficiently and safely.
Cloud Services and Tools/Products Used
Advancement in technology has made cloud services essential in the operations of every business today. Smart MSPs understand that businesses rely on the cloud when handling different aspects of their business. They also employ the use of smart tools for their services.
Due to this, MSPs need to include the cloud services/products/tools used when creating a winning proposal. They should indicate how they will ensure that an organization’s systems integrate well with their cloud servers.
An MSP proposal should show potential clients that the MSP understands how the cloud works and how it will use it to improve the operations of its clients.
A winning managed service provider proposal is essential for the success of any MSP. It is through this proposal that it attracts and maintains its customers. The elements discussed above are essential in determining the success of an MSP.