How MSSPs Can Grow from Better Customer Conversations
A managed security service provider (MSSP) that focuses solely on increasing monthly recurring revenue (MRR) is making a fundamental mistake. Yes, MRR is important — but selling is an outgrowth of service. Selling to existing customers is one of the best and most sustainable ways of growing your revenue. And those sales come from serving customers better.
As simple as it sounds, better service means having better conversations with customers. Whether cross-selling complementary services or upselling to premium packages, MSSPs that understand their customers and take an educational approach to their interactions are going to have an advantage.
It doesn’t take much to have those better conversations, either. Looking at some common situations, we can see how to shift the focus from sales to service and build a deeper connection.
Cross-sell Benefits, Not Services
Cross-selling additional services to current customers is a common way MSSPs try to increase MRR.
However, it’s important to consider that many customers, especially small- and medium-sized businesses (SMB), can be cost-conscious and resistant to taking on additional expenses unless they can see the benefits of doing so. You have to understand what the business needs and what its concerns are. If you know what the company needs, you can identify ways to help and start a conversation about business benefits. Business benefits could include opportunities to save time, save money, speed up workflow or reduce the amount of downtime. Also, be ready to discuss technical details but tailor the conversation to suit the customer. Some want all the details; others want a high-level view.
Get the Right Level
Security vendors offer different levels of their services, with higher levels providing customers features like increased security, lower risk and other benefits such as email protection, vulnerability assessment or staff training. When customers invest in higher tiers, MSSPs can provide a better-quality service while also benefiting from the increased margin that comes from customers investing in more expensive security tools.
Like cross-selling, though, it’s not about you. It’s about the customer. They chose a level that met their needs. It might still meet their needs, or it might not. Again, this is where listening and understanding your customer comes into play. Don’t disparage their current selection. Don’t focus the conversation on what they can’t do now. Find out what your customer wants to do. Ask if they’ve identified any additional capabilities they need. Focus on talking about the new benefits that are available with different packages. By understanding why customers select the services they do, an MSSP can bundle services that address more of those needs and make moving to a higher level more inviting for those customers.
Knowledge as a Service
Customers want to understand the threat landscape and an MSSP that helps them do that is going to be seen as providing value to the business. But when you’re educating customers on how to protect themselves from cyber security risks, it’s important not to be perceived as fear-mongering.
An effective way of speaking with customers about the risks of ransomware, data theft and other forms of cyber attack is to frame this through news stories and real-life examples. Show them what can happen when things go wrong. Talk about the business impact of an incident. You can then talk about how to protect against those risks and the benefits of things like managed detection and response (MDR) and how it can help.
Get Your Timing Right
Ironically, knowing when a customer is open to having a conversation comes from previous conversations and interactions. A good way for MSSPs to do this is to schedule regular reviews and updates with customers. Be proactive in serving customers—don’t wait for complaints. The more open the dialogue, the more you will learn about the challenges your customers face. You’ll be able to offer advice, support and, yes, new services if appropriate. You’ll have built a relationship where you’re more than the provider of a commodity service—you’ll have positioned yourself as a trusted adviser.
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