MSPs need to stop being boring

Selling your service is all about the message. Too many Managed Services Providers (MSP) sing the same song over and over. They go in and offer the same services as everyone else but try to either beat the price or emphasize how great their service is.


If that’s how you try to sell your service, you are going to lose. So how do you make your message different from the competition?

A good partner can help. They’re not just going to offer a good product – they’re going to tell you how to talk about that product, how to leverage that product, and how to stand out from the crowd with that product.

When I was at Dell World 2014, I talked with Bill Rodrigues, the President of North America & Global 500 Sales for Dell, and I was happy to see how excited he was about Dell’s relationship with its partners.

“We’re more fired up than we’ve been in years,” he said. “We’re focusing on the customer, bringing value to them, and leveraging unique capabilities that we never had before. We just need to continue to educate our customers on what we do.”

Bill’s job is the “relationship business” of Dell – focusing on finding out the problems that Dell’s customers and partners have, and then developing solutions for them. Every since Dell went private, Bill says they’ve had more capability to do that than ever before.

“Now that we’re private, we only have to focus on one thing: the customer. We don’t have to worry about satisfying shareholders or Wall Street. We focus on the customer, and if we do right by them, they vote with their dollars and business will grow.”

I asked Bill about the future of Dell’s relationships with partners, and he said there are two important things to focus on.

  1. Better education:

“We have a certain way of training our people (and bringing that training to our partners) focusing on customer value on moving off the solution. If a customer comes back and says, ‘I need more storage,’ you should say, ‘Why?’ Maybe it’s not actually a storage sale.

If you know what capabilities you have and how you bring unique value to your customer, you have a better chance of getting the sale. Sometimes it’s not fixing a problem, but rather re-engineering part of what your customer is doing to drive better operational excellence, better productivity, and better financial metrics.”

  1. Expanding the message:

“What unique capabilities does Dell bring to the table? What unique capabilities do you bring to the table as a partner? How can we combine them to offer a unique solution different from anything else anyone else is offering?

Your competition is coming [to prospective clients] and saying, ‘Here’s a great price.’ We come back saying, ‘Here’s the approach you ought to take, here’s the solution we want to integrate. We’ll take ownership and responsibility for doing it, and here’s the unique way we’ll deliver. By the way, we know it’s going to come at a premium to the other thing, but with this approach, you’ll mitigate your risk tremendously and have a higher chance of success.”

Dell is actively thinking about how to help you make the sale. It makes business sense for them to do it! You are their gateway to reaching out to businesses they’d never be able to sell to on their own, and you offer unique capabilities for meeting customers needs using their product that they couldn’t do alone. You have the experience and expertise of providing services for client’s day in and day out. Dell is working to make better technology and better ways of using that technology to not only make your job easier, but to help you grow your business.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: a strategic partner is key to success. Make sure your partners are giving you this kind of regard.

Ulistic provides marketing services to managed services providers. The Ulistic team acts as part of your team, engaging and working with your MSP each day to assist in providing the foundation for stratospheric success. Learn more at

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Stuart Crawford
Stuart Crawford
Stuart Crawford is an MSP marketing specialist and coaching professional. He is president of Ulistic Inc., a managed services coaching, mentorship, sales and outsourced marketing services firm. For more info call u 716.799.1999 or email [email protected]

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