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Acer America
Acer America Corp. is a computer manufacturer of business and consumer PCs, notebooks, ultrabooks, projectors, servers, and storage products.

Location

333 West San Carlos Street
San Jose, California 95110
United States

WWW: acer.com

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February 4, 2022 | Robert Cooper

Smart MSPs Prioritize Relevant Results Over Features

In a crowded market, only differentiated value tied to business outcome will make an offer outstanding.

If you’ve been paying any attention to the unified communications and collaboration (UCC) market, you know that the need for business differentiation is more pressing than ever. With last year’s boom in videoconferencing, cloud communications have gone from the future of work to a modern reality. And while that may sound like an opportunity for the everyday MSP, the truth is that it’s problematic for sales. After all, if a UCC system is now the standard, what can the average MSP do to stand out? Not only are digital communications no longer novel, the field is now overrun by larger-than-life brands that dominate the customer’s thought when it comes to systems and capabilities.

Robert Cooper

Robert Cooper

To deliver true differentiated value, you must bring together an advanced, flexible platform and your own skills and services as an MSP.

As much as we may be tempted to think that differentiation comes from individual features, gimmicks, or the bits and bolts of any given system, going this route won’t land you any new deals. Simply emphasizing the widgets of the platform glances over the actual value that MSPs can provide.

Standing out in a crowded market of any sort comes down to one factor: whether your designed solution addresses the customer’s specific business needs. Done right, this approach will show customers the exact value that you bring to the table—not just the basic capabilities of the platform you’re delivering.

What plenty of MSPs tend to forget is that business owners also need personal investment in something to buy it. Technology rarely wins over professionals just by being “new” or “cutting-edge”; likewise, a lengthy list of features isn’t about to win over all that many customers. At the end of the day, busy professional just want a way to do business more easily, and the only technology that will really interest them is a solution that provides that simplicity. At the heart of any purchase is a need that must be fulfilled.

If you want proof of this in action, look no further than that aforementioned boom in video calls. Businesses didn’t adopt this technology by storm because it was billed as “the future”—they adopted it because they had a need to enable remote meetings.

The bottom line is clear: Find a core business issue customers face, then deliver a solution that uniquely addresses that issue.

This does not mean simply scoping out a system with an extensive or flashy features list. Out-of-the-box features can be delivered by anyone on the market, even by your customers themselves—leaving them to wonder what value you are providing in this equation. At the same time, basic features are typically too broad in their functions to address specific business use cases. Sure, it’s quite likely that most office settings would benefit from, say, a chat function, but is showing that off to a prospect really getting at the heart of what’s holding their business back? Is it showing them some way to solve their particular problems in a way other experts can’t?

Conversely, with a custom-built installation you can easily uncover value that goes beyond the off-the-shelf features. For one thing, they receive a solution from a skilled expert that works directly in the service of their specific business. That’s the true value; it’s built to solve a problem, not simply a one-size-fits-all solution wrapped vaguely in the shape of that individual business issue. Naturally, the results from this will stand apart, too, with the customer finding usage from their tailor-fit system that exceeds what non-optimized solutions provide.

Then there’s the sense of personal value that customers find through this form of differentiation. Especially in this current market of instant downloads and faceless deliveries, a personal touch simply stands apart. When you talk to prospects and truly take the time to understand their business and what problems they face, it adds that personal value competitors simply cannot deliver in the same way. And when you pair this approach with a custom-built solution, it only hammers home that message of your care and expertise. Here, clients know that you’re not just selling them a bog-standard deal of the month; instead, they understand you’re custom fitting your technology to address their specific concerns and you are invested in the outcome.

Doing all this, of course, requires you to have a sufficiently flexible system in your portfolio. As any MSP would know from experience, not all systems are built for customization and alteration in a way that services specific customer needs. But success in the current market requires that kind of customization. It should go without saying, but if all you can do with a system is deploy one select set of features or apps, you’re hardly providing a tailor-made solution; all you’re doing is delivering a set order that’s only slightly different from the factory default.

The system you need for success must be one that can be changed on the back end to fit a wide variety of needs.

Once you have that, create an offer that communicates value by promoting your ability to customize the system and your expertise in building solutions that are pertinent to specific business scenarios. Only a skilled MSP can set up the exact calling system to fit one particular customer support department, or integrate a customer’s CRM directly into their communications system. It’s drilling down into core business issues, then presenting a way to fix them, that will consistently work as meaningful business differentiation.

Robert Cooper is the managing director of Logos Management Group.


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