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The Wind -Up: What Pitches Actually Work

Anyone in the MSP game knows there are two, three and often four tiers of satisfaction that must be reached to create value for SMB customers and, of course, recurring revenue for IT service providers. But you must know the proper pitch and be aware of the audience you're pitching.

The key component for the IT Service provider is the customer.

For the SMB customer, who will often know very little about technology, the sales and service pitch should be geared toward what will make their business operation better, as in:

  • Operational -- What does technology do to increase productivity, track end customer buying habits and customer relationship management aims?
  • Infrastructure -- What is needed? One computer connected to a cash register and POS systems or a non-brick and mortar e-commerce operation that requires lots of processing power and datacenters and server farms?

Those are two basic considerations to include in any pitch to existing or potential SMB customers.

The next level, going backwards up the food chain, or forward depending on your perspective is pitching the channel or taking pitches from technology partners that will help you as an IT service company, in turn make better pitches to customers.

Go back and read the customer section once more and come back to this if you need to:

  • Scalability -- A channel partner must think about how the hottest new product or service from the big boys, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, HP, Dell, etc., will translate in scale for a small business. Again, this depends on the end customer's processing environment.

Some may just need a laptop and a WiFi connection, while others may need complex accounting software or mini-ERP (enterprise resource planning) infrastructure or software.

  • Geographic expansion (via SaaS) -- A channel partner or potential channel partner must know their limits in order to exceed their limits if that makes any sense. More than ever SaaS technology, web-borne applications and on-demand tech services can help a company in Colorado reach clients in Germany or Mumbai, India.

IT Service firms and channel partners, VARs and MSPs alike must all think globally and act locally and realize that the days of selling software licenses and one-off hardware installations, while still very prevalent, is not long for the newer malleable business processing environments that we will see in the near and distant future.

All of this out-of-the-box thinking should begin with and be included in your pitch to customers, as well as considered, when one of the big technology partners is pitching you on a partnership.

Posted by Jabulani Leffall on October 18, 2010 at 11:57 AM