It’s never easy to stay grounded in an unstable environment. With the channel facing more turbulence than ever, managed services providers (MSPs) know that kind of anxiety all too well. Buyouts, bankruptcies, and brand mergers are cropping up at an increasing pace, adding to the stress.
It’s disruptive enough to build new relationships or to re-learn a solution that undergoes significant changes post-buyout. But even more of a risk is the panic that brand upheaval brings to customers.
No client appreciates uncertainty about the lifetime value of the technology they invested in. If that worry continues, those customers may jump ship entirely.
While channel partners can’t solve for that entirely, they can focus on the security of their clients and demonstrate their value as trusted advisors.
A Matter of Security
On the surface, mergers and buyouts are a natural part of any market. When one business fails, another emerges to claim its base, and hopefully serves that fallen company’s customers even more effectively.
But mergers can create unhealthy economic conditions. With UCaaS, for example, the more vendors that are bought out, the fewer options an installer has in terms of partnerships.
The resulting vendors have pursued a strategy of creating low-cost, low-value solutions with virtually identical feature sets.
Where this consolidation really hits MSPs is how badly it harms security. All too often, mergers in UC&C mean either it is the end-of-life for familiar product lines or solutions that are hastily integrated into the buyer’s system.
This can result in gaping holes in a business’s security infrastructure that attackers are all too eager to exploit.
As much as vulnerabilities and cyberattacks damage a vendor’s brand, MSPs stand to lose most in this scenario. If your customers suffer a cybersecurity breach, the chances of them renewing their contract is slim to none.
Compounding that is how often this market consolidation has gone hand-in-hand with deemphasizing the role of the MSP.
When technology experts are removed in favor of direct-to-market models, end-users are left on their own to navigate undifferentiated brands and vendor chaos. Worse, they’re also all to often left without specialized technicians to build truly secure setups, leaving those solutions more vulnerable.
This may sound like a bleak picture. But there’s still a clear way out, so long as MSPs take it on themselves to explain their value and provide real guidance.
Breaking the Uncertainty
It’s important to select vendors that emphasize security and provide quality support. But remember that vendor partnerships are secondary to your relationship with your clients. They are the ones paying for your technology and services.
It’s easy enough to move on if their vendor goes belly-up, but much harder to survive if you lose your customer base.
Creating a closer relationship with your customers is a mutual way of building security. The more you provide technological security for them, the more they’ll provide financial security to your business.
If you are changing vendor partnerships, take the time to reassure end-users. Your personalized guidance will help keep them on board throughout that transition. Fostering that stability should take precedence for an MSP.
A Change in Focus
When you put the focus on your own value and technical skills, then vendor upheaval may never reach your customers in the first place. Serving as that expert advisor continually reminds them why they chose you instead of buying directly from a vendor. Better still, it directs their satisfaction toward your business over anyone else.
When you’ve built trust to the point customers are willing to follow you to a different vendor, your foundation will be more secure when drastic changes occur from the top.
Now, this is most definitely easier said than done, because vendor upheaval does unquestionably make business harder for MSPs.
To attain that loyalty, your customers need to see how your expertise — not just your technology — is essential to the security they need. Win their trust, and your clients will do everything to support you, regardless of uncertainty among vendors.
Your business is most dependent on them. To protect the future of your business in the middle of all this consolidation, your base is the place to start.
Timothy Truelove is the country manager of the Americas branch of Wildix.