As an MSSP, you are much more than a vendor, you are a trusted advisor to those who count on you most. Your customers seek your input to achieve digital transformation and navigate ever-evolving data security and privacy regulations. In times of uncertainty, it’s critical to over-deliver and boost your security posture.
As the threat landscape continues to evolve, you can build trust by adding value to security outcomes and emphasizing your expertise. How do you position yourself as a strategic consultant with a seat at the planning table? How do you demonstrate hard and soft skills to customer stakeholders?
Make Building Trust a Stated Objective
Best-in-class MSSPs are marked by their customers looking to them for guidance and advice. As an organization, you should strive to distinguish yourself from competitors who are more focused on short-term transactions. Leadership should ensure their teams are aware that building trust is one of the team’s objectives and key results (OKRs) and find ways to both influence and measure this objective. Examples of potential OKRs that can be measured include “Hold QBRs with every client” or “increase Net Promoter Score to X”.
What’s the value of your client’s trust? Some of the forefront benefits to organizations that influence enterprise outcomes and strategic business decisions include:
- Improved impact with a role at the planning table
- Early insights into plans and new company decisions
- Elevated access to decision-makers and executives
- Strengthened company loyalty and retention
Establish Your Trusted Advisor Role
Whether the customer’s organization has decades of achievement or is a startup, your team can always further establish its role for driving positive results. Here are some ways to strengthen your position as a trusted advisor:
- Demonstrate active listening. Start with understanding the customer’s business, internal company priorities, and organizational structure and staff. After asking open-ended questions, engage with empathy and recap challenges and future direction. Resist the temptation to drive the conversation and instead focus on connecting with customers and soliciting new ideas and approaches to company challenges.“Trusted advisors don’t play off scripts. Scripts don’t allow for listening,” according to Gartner in their research “CIOs Must Become Trusted Advisors.”
- Share collective knowledge. As an MSSP, objectivity and technical expertise gained from hundreds or even thousands of your end-customers improve information sharing and decision-making. As a trusted advisor, you help synthesize and connect the dots on industry trends and disruptive challenges as you harness this “network effect”. Leverage your knowledge of customer organizations to share cyber threat intelligence gained from people, process, and technology capabilities such as MITRE ATT&CK integration.
- Put your customer’s best interest first. To build mutual trust and serve as a problem solver, elevate customer needs before your own. You may have to help resolve their questions or issues, for example, before pursuing future opportunities. Long-term relationships involve honest communication. Your risk assessment, for example, may pinpoint cybersecurity risks the customer faces that are out of alignment with stated customer goals and risk tolerance.
- Take a long-term view. Learn more about your customer’s yearly primary goals and objectives for IT as well as cybersecurity. To end customers with big goals such as digital transformation, outline how your capabilities minimize business and technical risk while augmenting existing staff and skills. With over 4 million open security positions, client organizations are receptive to your MSSP expertise. Also, help elevate cybersecurity with senior leaders who are more apt to view it as a business-critical decision and investment. Finally, maintain continuous customer communication and engagement to “show the love” long after the contract closes.
Trust Benefits Both Parties
In times of changing sales models and hyper-competition, it’s crucial to build trust with current and prospective customers for positive results and retention of hard-earned clients. As you enhance your impact and influence, you are able to add value beyond tactical purchase decisions prone to annual re-assessment and potential cost-cutting measures. MSSPs with a seat at the planning table gain insight into future enterprise goals and how technology serves as a business enabler.
And as a reward for MSSPs, you’ll see noticeable improvements in customer retention and satisfaction. Both of these are critical for scaling revenue as they’ll drive efficiency within your team and customer partnership.
At Netsurion, we help MSSPs elevate their role as trusted advisor by facilitating strategic cybersecurity conversations. Our managed threat protection platform gives you a scalable and straightforward path to boost mutual trust and foster business outcomes.