I have a good friend who's a partner at a 10-employee healthcare practice that recently faced some bad news from an IT auditor for the federal government. The auditor informed my doctor friend that his practice was out of compliance with its email (the practice didn't have a formal email management policy), and the consequence was that the small healthcare practice was going to have to pay back the $37,000 credit it had received nearly two years ago for switching over to an EHR (electronic health record) system (a $200,000+ investment) within the government-mandated deadline.
Needless to say my friend found himself looking for a new IT service provider that had a better handle on healthcare IT compliance. The search led to an engagement with two MSPs, which had a very different approach to IT services. Hearing my friend recount his experience with both MSPs was a good reminder of what it takes to be a successful MSP. Here are a couple of highlights from that conversation:
1. The first MSP was professional, but she wasn't able to explain to my friend and his business partner -- at a practical business level -- why they needed to make a $20,000+ investment in new IT equipment and pay several hundred dollars each month to monitor everything remotely. In fact, my friend relayed to me that his business partner asked him after the MSP's presentation, "Do you have any idea what she was talking about? None of that made any sense to me!"
2. The second MSP had the luxury of going second in his favor, plus he did a good job of finding out from the doctors (i.e. the buying decision makers) what they didn't like about the first MSP's proposal. using this info, he delivered a "one-two punch" that included a low-ball figure, and he explained his offering in very easy to understand terms that didn't cause either doctor to break out in a cold sweat.
Here's the real nugget I don't want you to miss: my friend shared with me that he would have actually gone with the first MSP -- and paid thousands of dollars more -- if only she had taken a little more time and explained each of her recommendations at a basic level that he and his business partner could have understood. So, even though the second MSP felt the need to low ball the small healthcare practice to win the deal, the real value he offered and what ultimately gave him an edge was being able to explain his IT solution and services at a practical business level. I wonder how many reading this could learn a lesson or two from these MSPs when it comes to selling cloud and other managed IT services?