Why does anyone buy or resell your company’s products and services instead of any of the growing number of alternatives? Are they lured solely by pricing or the unique features of your offerings, or does your branding and company culture play a role? It may seem simple, but every business must know the answers. Successful entrepreneurs are rarely if ever, surprised by what they hear.
That’s because the answers are part of their business strategy. Before selling the first router or email archiving solution, they do their homework. They study the market and research specific business needs, identify and study the competitive environment and, most of all, spend time talking to end users and partners.
The hardest part is getting the right connections. For channel companies, that means finding the partners who will take time to share their experiences and crucial needs. Not those just interested in getting the most features for the best price, but MSPs who are more interested in finding the ideal product or service that will help them solve their customers’ real business problems. Vendors who can complete or help advance solution sets for specific clients are more valued than those that merely offer a commodity at a decent margin.
When you get the attention of those providers, it’s crucial to ask questions that could not only strengthen your business relationship but help your team build out its product roadmap. These are conversation starters that give you greater insight into MSPs’ long-term plans and their clients’ actual business needs. Their responses should validate the value they place on your current offerings and uncover any gaps your team needs to address.
What keeps an MSP from deploying your entire product and services portfolio to its entire customer base?
That question may seem too bold for some to ask, but if it can be broken into smaller inquiries or brought up as a philosophical conversation starter. The key is to elicit objections.
Are there situations where a partner wouldn’t use your company’s products or services? If yes, why? The point here isn’t to hammer them into submission but to prompt feedback needed to improve your company’s portfolio and respond to the MSP community’s needs (as well as their customers).
Which additional features would have the most positive impact? Think tactically and strategically. Looking ahead 3-5 years, do they plan to move upmarket or tackle new verticals? Are there new features, products or services they or their clients would be willing to pay a premium for now that could be moved forward in the development cycle?
What new technologies are they and their clients exploring? That line of questioning is an opportunity to explore integration opportunities and uncover complementary or potentially competitive offerings.
Are your partner programs meeting their needs? Of course, every MSP would like to see more (it’s a natural response), but vendors must know where they stand with their key customers. That insight allows you to allocate resources most efficiently. Is your marketing team meeting their promotional needs? Are your sales and engineering resources genuinely as good as you think they are?
These are just a few of the questions vendors need to be asking their partners. Since it’s impossible to make every feature and program enhancement request a priority, these discussions could and should help determine what needs to be done today, tomorrow or next year.
No company has ever been able to meet fulfill every customer and partner request. The end user and channel ecosystem are just too diverse to achieve 100% satisfaction. But, with the right focus and dialogue, your team can better qualify and quantify their priorities.
That’s what the GetChanneled team does every day. Give us a call or drop us an email. We’d love to discuss the questions you should be asking MSPs to grow their business ̶ as well as yours!