In 1971, Ray Tomlinson sent a simple message between two computers in the same room, essentially delivering the first email message to himself. His invention would turn into the most prolific form of business communication and become an invaluable tool to people across the globe. It was simple and to the point, though the methodology was truly unique at that time.
Today, email is everywhere. Checking it is often the first and final activity of our workday, and most people revisit their inbox throughout the day. Mobile device access only feeds that habit.
After email became prolific, people began to expect certain things in each communication, including who sent it, the subject and, of course, the text as well as files and image. Everything beyond that, at least to the typical user, was unimportant.
Business owners seem to have that “email is of limited-value” mindset when talking to IT services professionals. Sadly, electronic messaging is often viewed as a commodity today rather than the operational tool that fuels their sales and marketing activities and keeps their clients and employees in sync. Relatively few business owners acknowledge how much email means to their business nor their increasing reliance on this form of communication ‒ or ask MSPs for ways to improve management and security.
Change Perceptions, Increase Profits
In customers’ minds, email is a commodity, and MSPs have to work harder to overcome that hurdle. Those who succeed tend to fare well selling across their entire solutions portfolio to both current and prospective customers.
Why? There are typically two forces driving email solutions success. First, the MSP understands his or her customers’ business practices, continually explores enhancement options and is knowledgeable in compliance and other industry requirements for each client. They learn more about what their clients do and proactively address future needs and concerns.
The second reason is their comprehension of the solution. The message is just a small component of business email today. The value (and risk) is all in the data and the management, security, collaboration, and storage and retrieval of that information must be addressed to keep everything running properly. Failure in any of these areas can have serious consequences, from both a financial and operational perspective.
That focus allows MSPs to educate their clients on the business value of layered security, archiving, encryption, and other email-related services. Sure, providers can attempt to alter customer perceptions, but changing deep-seeded opinions will require a concerted, long-term effort.
The challenge, as is with many activities that build service value for MSPs, is where to begin. The first step for providers attempting to boost the value of their solutions is to educate themselves on the needs of their clients and end users. What systems and processes are they using to communicate with their own customers and business partners? What type of information do they share?
MSPs must also be knowledgeable in the industry standards and compliance concerns of their clients. After gathering and evaluating all that information, they can design and propose the most effective solution options for each business customer.
Let’s use email as an example. An MSP may propose an Office 365 implementation with additional layers of security, archiving capabilities, and ‘easy for anyone to use’ email encryption. They might choose an alternate email platform and build in features and integrations that support specific vertical market customers. Discussing various options with clients helps MSPs improve the perception of the services and support they deliver. Those conversations often uncover new objections as well as opportunities for improving their systems and processes in the future. That’s the ‘long game’ approach providers need to build stronger relationships and grow revenue.
More Than a ‘Pep Talk’
Yes, email can be a differentiator. The derived value comes from the solutions and programs MSPs develop based on the conversations they have with their clients and end users.
Business owners can purchase almost anything they want or need online today. Providers need to show their customers why it makes more sense to look to them to procure their IT-based solutions and support.
Of course, that’s not as easy as it sounds, but with the right plan and approach, email-related discussions will open up the conversation and drive a host of new solution opportunities for MSPs. More than 45 years later, email remains one of their most valued business tools. Sometimes customers just need to be reminded about how much it means to their business ‒ and how much more it has to offer.
Ready to make email your managed services differentiator? The Mailprotector team will be happy to offer advice, share MSP industry insight, and help your company drive greater value and profitability with its solutions. Give them a call or drop them a line…there’s no better time to start that conversation.