Selling Value – Empowering MSPs to Drive Sales Through Customer Interactions

May 23, 2023

In the competitive world of cybersecurity, where every sale holds immense value, unlocking the secrets of what your customers want from their managed service provider (MSP) can be the turning point that helps you close deals instead of striking out. 

Tiffany Ricks, founder and CEO of HacWare, is intimately familiar with the struggle of meeting customers where they are to connect and form a strong working relationship that continues throughout the partnership. On the most recent episode of the Apptega Cybersecurity Podcast, she walks through her approach to selling value, rather than technology, which evolved after a pivotal realization that her clients weren’t connecting with her pitch.  

For MSPs, understanding the importance of selling value is a game-changer. While MSPs are often most comfortable discussing the intricacies of technology, it is crucial to recognize that software buyers are more interested in the business outcomes that technology can facilitate.  

But the questions remain: how do MSPs lead with value and why does this process work? 

The Why  

Many business owners have a rudimentary understanding of cybersecurity – because that’s all they’ve needed historically – which impacts the type of communication that will resonate when pitching cybersecurity services. To truly engage customers and secure their buy-in, MSPs should focus on conveying the value of framework compliance, rather than overwhelming them with technical explanations.  

By illustrating the positive outcomes that compliance can bring, MSPs can demonstrate their commitment to taking necessary precautions and instill confidence in their customers. Proactive cybersecurity measures often make businesses more attractive to potential customers, leading to business growth. 

"Where I feel most comfortable is nerding out on technology,” Ricks told Apptega. “And I lost a lot of deals before I learned that, often, software buyers don't care about technology – they care about how technology helps." Leading with value propositions, business outcomes, and program goals aligns the MSP’s services with the client’s aspirations.  

Establishing a relationship with customers in highly regulated industries is especially advantageous for MSPs. The inherent challenges in switching MSPs within such industries create a sticky relationship, thus leading to long-term partnerships. By building a strong rapport upfront, MSPs not only enhance their sales potential but also lay the foundation for ongoing collaboration. The ever-evolving nature of cybersecurity necessitates an ongoing relationship to ensure consistent compliance. 

The How 

To leverage compliance as a sales opportunity and best connect with customers, MSPs must identify the areas where they frequently miss out on potential clients. The following are common missteps that MSPs make when speaking to potential clients: 

1. Insufficient Sales Conversations: MSPs should become adept at having meaningful sales conversations. This involves shifting the focus from purely technical discussions to highlighting how the compliance standards benefit long-term business goals and align with the MSP's capabilities.

2. Understanding Customer Needs: It’s best to avoid speaking primarily about the technical minutia that the customer may not need to fully understand. Instead, take the time to comprehend the customers’ requirements and communicate in a manner that resonates with their specific needs.

3. Recognizing the Process: Success in compliance-driven sales is not achieved overnight. MSPs must acknowledge that it is an iterative process that requires continuous learning and improvement. The extended nature of cybersecurity programs makes a strong MSP-client relationship even more important and also can lead to a stickier partnership.

Driving Sales With Value 

Ricks understands firsthand the importance of evolving from a purely technical space to addressing what customers truly want and need to support their business. Through trial and error, she discovered that connecting with customers and conveying value necessitates a deep understanding of their aspirations and concerns, ultimately leading to a beneficial partnership. 

Demonstrating the true value of following cybersecurity frameworks, emphasizing clear value propositions, and speaking the language of the business are vital steps toward securing customer buy-in. By adopting these approaches and continuously refining sales strategies, MSPs can navigate the ever-changing landscape of cybersecurity and thrive in an economy where security is a pressing concern. Ultimately, it is the ability to understand and communicate the value of their services that will set MSPs apart and propel them toward long-term success. 

Listen to the full episode here.