IT Nation 2019: The Takeaway is Clear
I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but the Channel seems energized in the wake of the Connectwise 2019 IT Nation event. There’s been plenty to discuss after this year’s event, but a particular topic has caused our inboxes to fill up the past few days…
It’s a brand new thing that many MSPs are just now learning about…
…wait for it…
…it will shock you…
Yeah. Not really much of a surprise, right?
What is surprising is how many MSPs consider this a revelation. How do we know there are so many? Because one of our clients is a Channel cybersecurity vendor, and they have been signing up new partners left and right this week.
Cybersecurity has been important to your business for quite a while now. This is not new information. The only thing that’s changing is the competitive landscape surrounding cybersecurity offerings:
The ability to protect your clients’ networks and data is no longer a competitive advantage. It’s a survival requirement.
Everyone is Talking About Cyber Security
Since everyone is talking about cybersecurity, what do you think they’re going to be doing over the next few months?
You can bet that pretty much every MSP in the hemisphere is going to turn their focus to cybersecurity. They’re going to partner up with new vendors, enhance their solution stacks, adjust their pricing, and change their marketing.
Thousands of MSPs will be doing this at the same time, mind you.
And that mass industry shift, this change in the status quo, is why you’re not going to get much of a competitive edge through cybersecurity.
By 2021, you’re either going to be an MSP that offers complete cyber protection (and can deliver on those promises) or you’re going to be out of business.
I heard something interesting at another recent event. The speaker was describing the “three ways to stand out as an MSP”. According to them, these were the best (if not the only) three ways that an MSP can elevate themselves above their competition:
- Become a business advisor, not just a tech advisor
- Focus on cybersecurity
I disagree. These are not ways to make your MSP stand out.
These are not differentiators. These are just common-sense ways of running your business. You don’t do them to stand out, you do them to survive.
So how do you actually differentiate in a market where every business is pretty much the same?
For the majority of MSPs, customer experience is your only differentiator.
Sales Enablement is even more essential here because it provides a clearly-defined, well-executed sales process. This forms the foundation of what separates them from their competitors. Sales Enablement culture also fosters a more proactive approach to the customer experience throughout your business.
The disposition, attitudes, and approach of their salespeople combined with the tools and content they use during the buyer’s journey become the competitive advantage. All of this is crafted through a process-driven sales department and a company that embraces Sales Enablement culture.
Marketing and Selling Cybersecurity
Changing your focus to cybersecurity means changing up your marketing — and probably your sales process.
If you haven’t figured this out through experience, cybersecurity is notoriously difficult to market and sell. You can flash all the hacking statistics and Guy Fawkes masks you want, but buyers are resistant. They don’t think they need it, so they give it the hard pass.
Right now, I recommend two ways of standing out:
- Have impressive cybersecurity reporting. Wouldn’t your salespeople love being able to demonstrate a dashboard or show off some comprehensive reports complete with examples of stopped attacks? Give the consumer something tangible to look at and appreciate. Showing value through your reporting will also help with client retention. (This falls under the customer experience umbrella.)
- Be creative with your marketing. Go to ten MSP websites and look at how they promote cybersecurity. Chances are, you’re going to see ten pitches that look nearly identical. You want to be the MSP that doesn’t pitch that way. Be funny. Be flashy. Be different. Innovative marketing will help you catch the attention of someone who just yawned their way through those other 10 MSP websites. It will also make you more memorable (mindshare! nom, nom, nom!) which is helpful if the consumer is only starting their buying journey.
It’s also not a bad idea to make comprehensive cybersecurity mandatory. Let your prospects know that you’re serious about security and that having one vulnerable client is a risk you’re not willing to take. There’s a chance they might appreciate your no-BS approach to ensuring your clients’ well-being.
These are just a few ideas to get you started in the right direction. YSE has been marketing cybersecurity for a long time both for MSPs and for Channel vendors. We’d be happy to help you fill in the gaps in your marketing plan as you start to adjust, so just drop us a line.
No Trends Last Forever
Cybersecurity will be important for as long as the threats are out there — but cybersecurity won’t be the sales and marketing “golden child” forever. No single concept, product, or benefit ever is. With so many MSPs turning their focus toward cybersecurity, it won’t be long before it jumps the shark as a great conversation starter. Consumers will become better educated and aware of risks, the market will be saturated with “we’re the most secure” messaging, and there will be zero novelty or differentiation to be found in cybersecurity.
The market changes and consumer behavior is in constant flux. That’s why it’s important to take your marketing strategy and sales process seriously from the start, rather than jumping from trend to trend hoping that something sticks. Turning to a team of consultants like ours at Your Sales Energy is one way to protect your business from changes in the market. Your business’ stability and growth won’t depend on trends or hot-button topics because it will process-driven and expertly-informed throughout.
Want to learn more about MSP Sales Enablement or YSE’s methods of lead generation? Schedule a quick call with us.
Other Great Takeaways from IT Nation
Taking a look at the IT Nation Stories page, a couple more things become obvious candidates for “2020 Trends to Bank On”.
First, the importance of team building is evident in these podcasts:
- Attracting and Retaining Top Talent
- The Secret to Building Effective Teams
- Hiring and Attracting Millennials
Just a sampling of the speakers and events focused on finding, hiring, and retaining the right people. We totally agree with how important these things are — team building is one of our core focuses. We help MSPs build $10M sales departments by starting at the foundation — the salespeople. There’s really no other way to do it.
And let’s not forget the importance of customer experience, a Sales Enablement keystone concept:
- How to Implement Customer Service Best Practices
- Customer Service and Customer Experience: Why They’re So Important to Get Right
(You can listen to all of these podcasts on the IT Nation website.)