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MSPs vs. AI: why you should not let AI pass you by and how to capitalize upon it

The changing market

In today’s dynamic business landscape, Managed Service Providers (MSPs) must evolve beyond conventional IT Support. While your day-to-day will always include a volume of, “Help this is broken”, support requests; most MSPs would agree that a growing volume of support inquiries have shifted towards more of a style of, “How can I do this?”.

Clients now seek partners who can strategically leverage technology to fuel their growth. Artificial Intelligence (AI) is the cornerstone of this evolution, presenting a pivotal opportunity for MSPs to enhance their client offerings and maintain a competitive edge.

By failing to take up the proposition of AI within your MSP Marketing, you’re restricting the paths that could lead to conversations with those all-important net new prospects.

Why AI matters for MSP propositions

Increasing your MSP’s relevance to your customers:

AI is reshaping businesses across industries. By integrating AI-driven solutions, MSPs demonstrate adaptability and a commitment to their clients that they not only remain at the forefront of technological advancements, but continually help their evolution by realizing these benefits within their own business. This not only bolsters your relevance but also positions you as a forward-thinking partner in your clients’ success.

Delivering real-term return on investment to your customers:

By providing only reactionary insurance-style services, evidencing Return on Investment (ROI) to customers is never easy. Despite helping them avoid downtime and sustain productivity – those benefits are invisible when it comes to the bottom line – their cost base is the same regardless. But by taking your service delivery beyond troubleshooting, AI enables MSPs to provide clients with much more tangible returns on investment. By integrating solutions like ChatGPT or Microsoft Co-Pilot into your clients’ businesses, which will streamline productivity and efficiency; your service delivery will provide real-terms cost savings and improved performance that hits bottom line improvement for customers.

Forward-thinking MSPs strive to deliver beyond fixing the here and now:

Today’s firms are looking for more than just retrospective IT problem-solving. Whether they realize it or not, they seek strategic guidance that actively propels their business forward. AI-driven insights and automation tools empower MSPs to offer additional productivity-led technology that people will experience and benefit from day-in-day-out; beyond supporting the far less attractive and often ignored IT infrastructure that sits behind the scenes.

Differentiate and more easily start conversations with prospects:

Differentiation is THE biggest challenge for MSPs in acquiring new customers. The impetus for businesses to switch MSP is low – the competition are generally too good at retaining their clients, despite how weak their service delivery might be. So by incorporating AI into your service offering, you can be sure to set yourself apart in the crowded market. Use AI in your MSP Marketing to open doors to meaningful conversations with both existing clients and prospects. You’re not just selling a service; you’re offering a transformative partnership that empowers businesses to thrive in the digital age.

Encompassing AI within your MSP proposition

Understanding client needs:

Start by gaining a deep understanding of your clients’ businesses. Identify pain points and growth opportunities where AI-powered solutions can make a tangible impact. This customer-centric approach forms the foundation of your tailored AI offerings.

Broaching the conversation:

Introduce AI as a strategic tool for business growth. Showcase how it addresses specific pain points, delivers ROI, and contributes to long-term success. Use real-world examples and case studies to illustrate the potential benefits for each client.

Practical implementation:

Partner with reputable AI solution providers to develop customized offerings aligned with your clients’ unique needs. Whether it’s automating workflows, optimizing communication, or enhancing decision-making, ensure the solution directly contributes to your client’s goals.

Business Process Automation (BPA):

Advocate for process digitization and automation to deliver tangible, measurable ROI. Demonstrate how BPA drives efficiency, reduces manual efforts, and unlocks new levels of productivity for your clients.

Commercialization opportunity:

Offer consultancy and support around AI platforms, guiding clients on integration, optimization, and maximizing benefits. Highlight the concrete impact on their operations and bottom line, reinforcing the value of your partnership.

How to price AI solutions

If you’re reading this as an MSP, it is highly likely you’re feeling, “here we go again, yet another product we need to work out how we can even make any money from”… I get it. When both Microsoft 365 (or Office 365 as it was back then) and Cybersecurity first came on the scene, it was no different.

Here are some considerations for how you might take AI forward in your position:

1. Don’t charge – use it to bolster your value-add and as a MSP Marketing tool

Most MSPs will value any opportunity to keep the conversation going with a customer – demonstrate the value you continue to add to their business and increase their stickiness. By simply addressing the “AI Conversation” with customers, you’ll be appreciated as an educator and a proactive partner – steering the customer towards new technological advantages.

2. Consultancy services – fixed-fee projects

Develop a fixed-fee offering for clients with clear itemized deliverables – for example: “For £/$1495 we’ll improve your operational performance by 20% through AI!”. Start with a discovery session to analyze a team (or teams) productivity, what they do day-to-day and where they might digitize some of their manual workload. Make recommendations and map-out how transitioning to a digital workflow might look. The implement the technology, while providing training and guidance to ensure user adoption.

3. Productized service – price per automation

Another approach might be developed around a fixed-price per automation or by app. Perhaps you could package up and re-sell ChatGPT or Co-Pilot, (or even automation tools like Power Automate, or, at an accessible price point per month. Within that, you will analyze, configure and support the automation process.

This is a new undefined marketplace – be bold and define a productization that suits you and feels accessible to your customers, while delivering them real-terms ROI benefits.

The Way Forward with AI for MSPs

The AI revolution is here, and MSPs have a golden opportunity to lead the charge. By harnessing AI-driven solutions, MSPs go beyond mere troubleshooting; they become catalysts for business growth. This shift, from fixing issues to driving innovation, positions MSPs as indispensable partners in their clients’ success stories. The future belongs to those who seize this opportunity and pave the way for a new topically relevant approach for your MSP Marketing.

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