In the ever-evolving cybersecurity scape, small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are extremely concerned with security—now more than ever. According to a recent Continuum survey, 93% of SMBs said they would switch their managed services provider (MSP) if another MSP could offer them the ‘right’ security services. They were also willing to pay 25% more to MSPs who were offering cybersecurity services.
As an MSP, your job is to be your customers’ trusted advisor—and that means instilling confidence that they are going to be prepared for cybersecurity threats. With MSPs being at the forefront of cybersecurity attacks, it’s becoming crucial to have conversations with your clients. You need to be able to prove that even if you aren’t always the cheapest choice, you are the best choice. But, how do you do this? A key way to instill confidence in your customers is by offering security services to your managed services customers.
Advantages to Offering Security Services
In our latest webinar in the Inside the Industry series, we heard from VP of Managed IT Services at Image Consulting LLC, Juan Fernandez, and VP of Operations at Network Coverage, Alex Joy about strategy involving monetizing your security offering in your MSP.
These MSPs have had considerable success in building material security services. For example, Network Coverage added over $1M in topline revenue last year from cybersecurity products and services alone, and Image Consulting LLC saw a 25% increase in their monthly recurring revenue (MRR) due to security offerings.
Aside from an increase in revenue when offering cybersecurity services, these partners highlighted other advantages to adding managed security services to your solution deck. Not only will your pitch and approach to managing security reach a higher level of maturity, but you’ll be able to demonstrate more confidence in your security to your clients and beyond.
Have Meaningful Security Conversations
The first step to creating a successful cybersecurity offering is the ability to have meaningful conversations with your customers. You can’t be afraid of having an honest conversation about risk. When your clients are lulled into a false sense of security that the basic and standard level of coverage is enough to keep them secure, not only are they more vulnerable than they think, but they also may not think that the services you’re providing them are truly valuable.
In addition, MSPs will often try to delay the conversation to make sure they have everything perfect before they package everything up—but in security, you can’t wait around too long to take action. So, how do you take action and have a meaningful, honest conversation?
According to Alex Joy, you should be just as honest with your customers about what they are not getting as what they are getting. He suggests thinking about how to bolster revenue with internal clientele, and only have honest conversations with your customers. This will solidify trust and increase confidence in the necessity of your offering.
Pricing and Cultivating User Buy-In
Cultivating user buy-in can be a daunting task, especially if the company you’re pitching your services to isn’t familiar with cybersecurity or the IT industry as a whole. When they learn that acquiring your offering may cause the need for additional trainings, they may begin to ponder how it could impact them at work or at home, or how it inconveniences them in their day-to-day. You need to show your clients that it’s worth extra awareness upfront to secure their future.
A big part of the buy-in process getting key stakeholders in the company to understand the importance of your offering first. They can then communicate the reasoning behind making the change to the rest of the company. Work with these stakeholders to incorporate policies and procedures.
You’ll not only need to be prepared to tell your customers what needs to be done from a policy and procedures standpoint, but a pricing standpoint. When it comes to pricing, your job is to provide a solution—not just an answer. This means showing your customers that you’re embracing an all-encompassing frame of mind regarding the problem rather than just tackling one specific issue.
So how do you embrace this mindset? By offering security as-a-service.
By charging for your services upfront, and not nickel and diming them, you’ll increase stickiness by showing that you are able to offer everything that they could need for one all-encompassing price.
We also recommend bundling and branding your services as something that is unique to your company. Make the decision easy by making the price attractive and combining your offerings into one easy package. You’re still trying to become your customer’s trusted advisor—so it’s important to make it understood that your services are not only affordable and necessary, but a solution to more than one problem.
Key Points of Advice
Don’t be afraid to have a dialogue with your customer. You’re going to have a security conversation at some point—so you might as well be the one to initiate it. Be honest about what your customers are and are not being offered along with how your services can help keep them secure.
Understand yourself. One piece of advice from Juan Fernandez is that all MSPs considering getting into managed services should do a security audit on themselves. He recommends you document your findings and really take the time to understand the process. Not only will this make you a more well-rounded person when you go to sell services, but it further establishes your position as a trusted advisor. After all, if you can’t take your own advice, how are you expected to sell those services?
Invest in employee improvement. It is a wise decision to encourage security certifications amongst your employees. Yes, you may make your employees more marketable—but you should be investing in making your employees better resources for your company as a whole.
In all, managed security services can be a turning point for your business. Customers may at first be hesitant to make an investment, but they need to know that they will not be fully protected without an all-encompassing solution. Monetizing your security offering can help you show your customers that you are providing proactive technology with better capabilities than ever before.
Author Wayne Selk is director of professional services at ConnectWise. Read more ConnectWise guest blogs here.