One of the more difficult pitches for an MSP to give a company is that they should use an outside IT person even if they have an in-house team. Co-managed, IT can be a great partnership, but how do you get that across?
IT co-management can be a win-win for you and your client if you can convince them to spend a little more on their technology than they already are.
Using some smart marketing that highlights the cost-saving benefits can help you win over some larger corporate clients and gain you more co-managed customers.
Gain More Co-Managed IT Clients With These Tips
Due to the disruption of the pandemic and the wake-up call it gave to companies about business continuity, many are investing even more in technology. 44% of surveyed organizations plan to increase the pace of their digital transformation this year, and 36% are working to improve IT operations and systems performance.
This means that companies that may not have had in-house IT teams before may have them for the very first time. When a customer decides to get their own in-house IT department that doesn’t mean the relationship with you has to end. And companies that already have IT teams, don’t need to be crossed off your prospect list.
Co-managed IT services provide a much-needed backstop for company IT departments. They can help fill in skills and knowledge gaps, assist with compliance, and ensure an in-house team has the support needed for major projects.
The trick is to change the person’s way of thinking. In-house IT and outsourced IT aren’t an “either-or” proposition. They actually complement each other and can mean a much stronger and more reliable IT infrastructure.
Here are some ways you can successfully market your co-managed IT support services.
Begin By Marketing as a “Fill-In” for Vacations, Sick Days, etc.
Companies may balk at paying a monthly IT service fee on top of the salary and benefits they pay an in-house IT team. If this is the case, you can start with a cost that makes sense, which would be to have a resource that could fill in on vacation or sick days.
A company’s IT doesn’t take a day off. If their IT team is out or their key technology person is gone for a week on vacation, it’s risky for a company to just expect things to stay on course during that time. There will inevitably be user issues that come up, security patches that may need to be applied, and other urgent IT matters.
And what happens if an in-house IT person quits unexpectedly? A company could be in serious trouble, with all hands on deck trying to fill the gap and no one to train a new person.
Market your company as a trusted expert that can get to know the organization’s technology infrastructure, so when needed, you can fill in for their team seamlessly. It’s like having IT management insurance.
Offer Examples of Successful Co-Managed Clients
If a company hasn’t used co-managed services before, then they may have a fear of the unknown. Is it really going to be helpful? Or will it just add to their costs? If there’s an outsourced provider, what’s the in-house team going to do?
You can clarify the benefits of co-managed IT by promoting some successful examples of exactly what it looks like on your website and social media.
Use testimonials and reviews in social media posts and on the services pages of your website. You can also highlight them in any Google or Facebook Ads you run.
Write some blog posts that use the art of storytelling to take the reader into the co-managed IT relationship and illustrate how it benefits both the company and its in-house team. Those blogs also provide you with a link to content that you can send a prospect that wants to know more about co-managed IT.
Win the Trust of the Existing IT Team
When you contact a company about co-managed IT services, you’ll most likely be directed to their in-house team. You don’t want that team to see your company as a threat that’s going to take their job away.
Some of the ways you can gain trust are by explaining how you can enhance their position and “make them look good.” You want to get across that you’re not there to take anything away from them, instead, you would be working with them at their direction to make things easier.
Some of the things you could mention to the existing in-house IT person as benefits of co-managed services are:
- You could take on some of the manual and mundane tasks like backups and updates so they can focus on technology initiatives.
- You’re a resource they can use if they run across something out of their base of knowledge.
- You can keep things running smoothly so they can take some time off without getting frantic IT calls while on vacation.
- You can help them put their technology ideas for their company into action.
- Should a major project come up, they won’t have to hire a temp or burn the candle at both ends. They’ll have your company as an extra set of knowledgeable hands.
Basically, let the in-house IT team know you’re there to help them do great things.
Emphasize the Scalability of the Relationship
If a company has already gone through the cost/benefit analysis of hiring an in-house IT person, it may not make sense to them to shell out more money right away for co-managed IT services.
Emphasize the scalability of the relationship. They can use you on an as-needed basis now and then should a major technology project come up they can increase the hours they need you to help out.
Position your co-managed IT services as “we’re here when you need us.” This can help companies ease into the idea of working with an outsourced firm even if they have an in-house IT team.
As we all know, technology needs tend to be larger than companies initially plan for, so if you start by working with a company occasionally, there’s a good chance that relationship will grow over time.
Promote Your Knowledge Sharing Capabilities
One thing that IT businesses will usually have that in-house IT teams won’t is a large breadth of knowledge. Because you work on multiple business IT systems a day, there’s a good chance that your experience and knowledge will be vaster than the typical in-house IT team’s.
Promote your knowledge-sharing capabilities. This is a bonus for the company as well as for an in-house IT person looking to gain more skills. Instead of an in-house, IT person feeling like they need to “figure something out” on their own because that’s their job, they’ll have an expert they can go to for advice and ask about a process they may not be familiar with.
Being able to boost the skills of a company’s own in-house IT team is a major benefit that helps the company ensure its systems are secure and optimized according to best practices.
Market Your Company for Project-Based IT Needs
Some companies may not need ongoing co-managed IT, but if a major IT project comes up, then that additional expense can make sense.
Market your services as additional help for IT projects. This can be a way to begin a relationship with a company that ends up blossoming into long-term business.
Some of the project-based co-managed IT services you can promote in your marketing include:
- Technology/office moves
- New software adoption
- Networking upgrades
- Operating system upgrades
- Remote/hybrid team technology installation
- Server & PC data migrations
- On-premises to cloud data migrations
Try Positioning Your Firm as an IT Hiring & Staffing Service
Another way to position your co-managed IT services is on the IT hiring and staffing side. Companies may have trouble finding a qualified IT person because they don’t know the right technology questions to ask during an interview.
Promote services where you can interview and make hiring recommendations for potential in-house IT candidates. Companies can rely on your knowledge of what it takes to manage a corporate IT infrastructure and will have a better chance at getting a qualified person.
If you like this idea, then you could go one step further into IT staffing. This is a model that gives the company the best of both worlds. They pay you to provide a full-time IT person or team of people. They get their in-house IT team but don’t have to pay the employee taxes or benefits packages that go with hiring an employee.
Your company would provide oversite for the in-house IT staff, and if one was out sick, you would have other technicians that could fill in, which is another benefit for the client.
Emphasize IT Security & Compliance Support
If a company has one or two in-house IT people, there can be a lack of checks and balances that ensure there’s not a gap in the services they’re providing. Not that you want to say that an in-house team is going to do a bad job, but you can bring up the fact that everyone is only human and good IT security means having a system of checks and balances.
By working with your company for co-managed IT support, a company could have a monthly or quarterly assessment of IT security and compliance. This would help them ensure that nothing was missed that could cause a data breach or costly downtime incident.
This is also a positive backstop for an in-house IT team that doesn’t have to feel as if everything is on their shoulders and if they miss one thing they could cause a major IT meltdown for their company.
Make Co-Managed IT Services a Profitable Revenue Stream
If you position your co-managed services in the right way to in-house IT teams and the companies that hire them, you can find this is a profitable model for your IT business.
How do you market your co-managed IT services? Share your tips in the comments.