5 Things To Consider When Evaluating New Managed Service Providers (MSPs)

Making the switch from the traditional break-fix reseller model to a managed services model can be challenging for anyone. And you’re not alone. More and more organizations are self-identifying as Managed Service Providers (MSPs), with recent data from IPED showing 50% having managed service as their primary or secondary business model. You need new technologies and vendors that can help support your evolving business model and can help make your life easier.

5 Things To Consider When Evaluating New Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Source: WatchGuard
5 Things To Consider When Evaluating New Managed Service Providers (MSPs). Source: WatchGuard

And just as your customers look to you to be their trusted advisor, you should have a vendor that you can depend on as well. As you’re starting on this exciting journey for your business, what are the five things you should look for when selecting a technology partner, instead of just another vendor?

Content Summary

Flexible Pricing Options
Out-Of-The-Box Integrations
Sales and Technical Training
Knowledgeable Account Manager
A Solid Product

Flexible Pricing Options

Evolving your business to offer managed services also means changing the way that you price your offerings and bill your customers. A recurring revenue model can enable you to better predict the outlook for your business and make critical decisions. But the biggest barrier for you in building your recurring revenue is your vendor’s pricing model.

When evaluating new technology vendors, make sure to ask questions around their pricing to ensure that it’s the right fit for every part of your business and for all your customers. You may need to introduce hybrid pricing models to meet certain customer needs, so working with a vendor that provides you options is your best bet.

Questions to ask:

  • Do they offer fixed contracts?
  • Monthly procurement?
  • Consumption or subscription-based pricing?

Out-Of-The-Box Integrations

When meeting with prospective technology vendors, make sure to come prepared with a list of integrations that are critical for your business. Remote Monitoring and Management (RMM), Professional Services Automation (PSA) and even Security Incident and Event Management (SIEM) solutions all help you run your business and manage accounts. Bringing in new technologies that don’t easily integrate with these solutions makes them unmanageable for your business.

Ability to integrate the management of the technology with the tools you’re already using should be a top priority when you’re evaluating a new vendor.

Questions to ask:

  • Do you integrate with our RMM/PSA solution?
  • Do you integrate with other solutions in our security stack?

Sales and Technical Training

Onboarding a new vendor comes with a long list of hurdles to overcome, and one of the biggest is getting your staff up to speed on the product. From IT teams who need training on how to monitor and manage the solution to educating sales and marketing staff on how to position and sell this in your portfolio, there are hours of training that can come with a new product.

When evaluating new vendors, make sure they have the resources to help get your staff trained and using the product. Also, consider the costs and time commitment required for training. Some technology vendors charge for training or only offer classes at certain times throughout the year, while others provide their training digitally to be accessed by your team at any time for free.

You should also look for vendors that are willing (and excited about) putting in the time and investment to get your team ready to go. Sales and technical aptitude doesn’t happen overnight – make sure you’ve chosen a vendor that will be there for the long haul and has the patience to get your team where they need to be

Questions to ask:

  • What type of technical training do you provide?
  • Do you offer demo or lab equipment?
  • How much does this training cost?

Knowledgeable Account Manager

One of the most important things to consider when choosing a technology vendor is the account manager you’ll be working with every day. This person will be your advocate within the vendor organization and will be working with you to build the plan to grow your business. You want to make sure that this person is not only knowledgeable about THEIR product, but help you answer broader questions about the market or specific industries as well.

Ask how long this person has been in the role, and the average time that someone stays within that role at their organization. Account manager turnover is frustrating for any organization and can impede your business growth. But the most important thing? Just find an account manager you like and can trust. You’re going to have to deal with this person ALL the time. Make sure its someone you won’t want to dodge calls from.

Questions to ask:

  • How long have you been with the company?
  • Where were you working before?

A Solid Product

At the end of the day, your reputation is on the line with your customers. You need solutions that you can depend on to not only keep your customers secure but that will also keep up to meet their performance and throughput needs.

It can be beneficial to both you and your customers to work with vendors that have multiple solutions that you can add to your service offering. Many organizations just like yours are looking to consolidate the number of vendors they interact with, so the more solutions that a single vendor can cover, the better! Best of all, this gives you one point of contact and one person to follow up with then you need something.

Most importantly, make sure that any new technology partner you’re evaluating is using their products within their own business. If they don’t trust their firewall or endpoint security solution to protect their business, why should you trust it to secure your customers.

Questions to ask:

  • How are your products and services packaged?
  • What solutions can I add to my services or product portfolio?

At the end of the day, you need to find a true security partner and not just another vendor. Look for someone that will stand by your side in the trenches and is committed to getting you from training to selling as quickly as possible.

At WatchGuard, everything we do is with our partners in mind. From simplified product packaging to robust technology integrations with the tools you’re already using, WatchGuard solutions are designed with you at the core. We focus on making every solution we have easy for our partners to buy, sell, manage and use.

Source: WatchGuard