This year’s MSP Summit, Channel Partners Leadership Summit, and Women’s Leadership Summit were filled with innovative technology providers, forward-thinking MSPs, and unique speaking sessions. With topics of conversation across the spectrum, it was hard to miss these 4 themes throughout the week:
1. A digital marketing plan has never been more critical.
With so much market uncertainty, many discussions focused on how channel leaders can prepare their businesses to navigate the next crisis. MSPs are under ever-increasing pressure to continue growing despite facing a lack of talent, difficulty generating demand, competitive pressures, inflation, high interest rates, and supply-chain disruptions. MSPs that have previously found success through local relationships, word of mouth, and traditional sales techniques must now communicate in ways they might not have had to before. Addressing this new ecosystem with an updated marketing plan is key for MSPs looking to expand their customer base with clients that fit their ideal profile, sell more to existing customers, overtake competitors, and grow profitably. Not only does this plan need to define the MSPs message, solution, ideal customer, and go-to-market strategy – it needs to be delivered digitally.
2. Security needs to go beyond network walls.
Of all the service offerings MSPs can provide, it was evident throughout the week that security is, and will continue to be, one of the most significant value adds to clients. One notable takeaway is that many vendors focused on helping MSPs secure their clients’ internal networks. Between password managers and encryption solutions, few security vendors looked beyond the traditional corporate perimeter. While internal and edge defenses are necessary, they do not account for the interconnected supply chain, the sophistication of threat actors, or the areas across the internet where businesses interact and the enterprise does not own.
There is an opportunity for MSPs to look beyond network walls to demonstrate to clients they are accounting for the full breadth of risks. Solution providers like Media Sonar offer a cost-effective way for MSPs to incorporate social, surface, deep and dark web intelligence into their portfolios. Media Sonar Digital Risk Assessments (DRA) provide MSPs with an analyst-generated report that presents exposed information, reputationally damaging content, and acts of violence related to client executives, brands, and supply chains. This easy-to-consume report curates findings, scores risk, and provides remediation recommendations. The resulting outcomes help MSPs mitigate financial and brand damage to their clients, thus strengthening the MSP-client value and relationship.
3. Diversity, Equity & Inclusion are competitive advantages.
With around one-third of the speaking sessions focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion (DE&I), it’s clear that the business case for DE&I is stronger than ever. Building a solid channel program takes a wide-ranging and diverse group of voices, opinions, and thinking. MSPs with a well-thought-out strategy to support DE&I initiatives will retain top talent, improve customer relationships, fuel product innovation, and improve decision-making. These efforts will advance the business and lead to a cycle of increasing returns. Channel leaders looking to expand DE&I initiatives in their organizations can look to leaders like those mentioned in Channel Futures DE&I 101 Honorees in 2022 for guidance.
4. Pricing Models need to be outcome-based.
One main focus of many conversations was around the shift MSPs need to make when it comes to pricing. Several MSPs are pricing a bill of materials rather than focusing on outcomes. This pricing model doesn’t account for the fact that technology decreases in value yearly. If someone wants to buy a laptop, that same laptop will be less the following year. We’ve trained the industry that upon renewal, prices go down. In an MSP business, the exact opposite needs to happen. MSPs must shift to pricing based on outcomes – the amount of downtime, lack of security breaches, savings, etc. Pricing on outcomes and results rather than technology will help MSPs grow profitability despite increasing staff prices and a rapidly growing tech stack.
MSPs will continue to rise.
There is a high pressure for MSPs to continue growing despite constant changes and challenges. Having such a large community come together for three days of sharing insights and ideas on how to best overcome these challenges was genuinely motivating.