The highly anticipated premiere episode of Change the Channel, a new LinkedIn Audio series, featured an in-depth discussion between two seasoned channel and marketing experts on practical strategies for managed service providers (MSPs) to thrive in the era of cloud and artificial intelligence (AI).
Dux Raymond Sy, Chief Brand Officer at AvePoint, and Janet Schijns, CEO & Co-Founder of JS Group, covered several insightful topics relevant to MSPs looking to expand and decisively grow their business in today’s landscape. Rather than conceptual ideas, they focused on providing clear, tactical recommendations MSPs can act on immediately to capitalize on emerging opportunities.
Examining the Explosive Growth in SMBs
Kicking off the wide-ranging conversation, Dux and Janet took a data-driven look at the massive growth happening among small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) globally. As Dux highlighted, SMBs now represent over 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment worldwide. Yet despite their massive numbers, SMBs often lack internal IT resources, representing a major opportunity for MSPs to provide critical technology enablement and support.
Janet expanded on this point, stressing that while recognizing the explosive growth trend in SMBs is useful, MSPs must go further to understand how to fully capitalize on it through their go-to-market strategy, tailored solutions, and messaging. Since SMBs now power jobs and innovation across industries, their technology needs have reached an inflection point, presenting a prime opportunity for MSPs to deliver tremendous value.
Offer New Services Aligned to Market Trends
Transitioning to actionable recommendations, the first area they emphasized was offering new services to customers based on strategic market insights. A starting point is developing a cloud and AI roadmap tailored to each client’s specific needs, priorities, and goals.
Even SMBs not ready to fully invest in the latest technologies can benefit enormously from professional guidance on consolidating disjointed systems, methodically leveraging existing tools like Microsoft 365, and planning a step-by-step approach to digitally transform over time.
Migration services to help customers successfully move from on-premise environments to the cloud and sustainable adoption programs to drive effective usage of new solutions were also highlighted as high-impact new services MSPs can provide. These deliver tangible value to SMBs struggling with fragmented systems and applications.
Dux provided examples like using Microsoft 365 tools to improve workforce training/productivity and partnering with vendors like AvePoint to access resources and content to make rolling out net new offerings faster and easier for MSPs.
Provide Managed Services Driving Recurring Revenue
The second big opportunity they identified is providing managed services that drive predictable monthly recurring revenue (MRR). With security threats constantly rising, Dux and Janet discussed how services like cloud-based data protection represent a huge chance for MSPs to generate ongoing revenue while proactively protecting SMBs.
Ransomware and other attacks can completely cripple small businesses financially and operationally if critical data and systems are compromised. By offering data backup, recovery, and monitoring on a subscription basis, MSPs can save customers from this risk while building their own MRR.
Additional options like security services leveraging AI and machine learning to identify issues before they escalate and comprehensive employee education/training programs are also vital, as Janet noted internal human errors and threats cause the majority of breaches. SMBs often don’t have programs to make personnel security-aware, another area ripe for MSPs to deliver high value.
Ramp Up Marketing to Reach SMB Customers
Throughout the expansive discussion, Janet and Dux stressed that marketing is now an essential competency and investment for MSPs to consistently reach customers, demonstrate expertise, and earn their business. Janet suggested reallocating budgets away from excessive and inefficient sales staff towards hiring dedicated marketing resources and campaigns. This shift reflects research showing buyers now complete over 80% of their journeys independently online before engaging a vendor.
Dux then offered several easy, low-cost tactics MSPs can start deploying now, like building connections on social media, creating helpful content using generative AI to establish thought leadership, optimizing websites for search visibility, and leveraging vendor resources to amplify reach. The goal is to expand visibility and credibility with SMBs through consistent, insight-driven marketing.
Continuous Learning Critical for MSPs
Ongoing learning also emerged as a top priority, with both advising MSPs to actively and continuously expand their knowledge. Janet recommended thoughtfully identifying skills that tightly align with passions, innate abilities, and customer needs as a way to maximize value. For Dux, rapidly building marketing capabilities is the most critical area for MSPs to urgently improve to reach SMBs more effectively. Staying on top of technology shifts will also be key.
Key Takeaways from the Premiere Episode
In concluding the info-packed inaugural episode, Janet left the audience with a final call to action – be aggressive and creative in executing marketing initiatives over the next year to grab market share before competitors.
With insightful contributions from two well-respected channel and marketing leaders, the first episode of Change the Channel episode delivered a wealth of tangible, practical advice MSPs can act on immediately to grow their cloud, AI, and overall business in today’s landscape.
Miss the live session, but want to hear Dux and Janet’s conversation? Listen to it here!
You can also visit the AvePoint Partner Program website for more details on how AvePoint helps partners and their end-user customers secure their collaboration systems.
Be on the lookout for our next episode on October 19th which will focus on “Modern MSP Marketing: How to Jumpstart Your Brand” RSVP for the event on LinkedIn!