MSP product specialties

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Managed service provider (MSP) product specialties are the specific areas or types of products an MSP chooses to deliver based on their expertise, market demand, and strategic goals. Focusing on specific areas allows MSPs to provide their clients with specialized knowledge, targeted solutions, and value-added services. At times, MSPs struggle to choose their MSP product specialties, but understanding your options and leveraging your existing skills can help when developing your product catalog.

How MSP Product Specialties Work

MSPs play a vital role in delivering and supporting specific categories or types of products to meet the IT needs of businesses. MSP product specialties work in a three-fold manner: choose and invest in particular areas, target specific niches, and offer value-added services.

Successful MSPs first invest in training, certifications, and hands-on experience, since increasing experience is the best way to build proficiency in particular areas and provide specialized solutions to clients. They then target specific niches, IT functions, or even technologies to tailor their offerings according to clients’ unique needs and challenges. Finally, they focus on offering comprehensive and high-value services to get new clients and retain existing ones.

Done the right way, MSP product specialties can offer key benefits, including:

  • Differentiation and Competitive Advantage: By specializing in specific product types, you can differentiate yourself from competitors. Clients looking for expertise in a particular area are more likely to choose an MSP that specializes in that domain.
  • Strong Partnerships and Vendor Relationships: MSP product specialties help establish partnerships and strong relationships with vendors. These partnerships provide access to training, technical support, marketing resources, and preferential pricing.
  • Effective Marketing and Positioning: As an MSP with product specialties, you can develop targeted marketing strategies to promote your expertise and offerings. This will help you position yourself as an industry leader and trusted advisor in your specialties.

MSP product specialties require ongoing learning and adaptation since the technology landscape and client needs evolve rapidly. This is why you must stay abreast of the latest trends, updates, and best practices in your chosen areas. Luckily, there’s an eight-step process to determine your MSP product specialties, plus tips to keep in mind as you develop your expertise.

Determine Your MSP Product Specialties in 8 Steps

You can firmly establish your MSP product specialties by first focusing on your existing expertise, learning about market trends and your target clients, analyzing your competition, and thinking about how to scale in the long run. Next, get feedback from your current clients, pilot and test your specialties, and continue to adjust as needed.

1. Assess Your Existing Expertise

The best way to get started is by evaluating your team’s skills, knowledge, and experience. You need to identify the areas where you have the most proficiency and can deliver exceptional service. Consider the technologies, industries, or specific IT functions you excel in and upskill by getting some of the top MSP certifications to improve your IT expertise.

For example, if your team has extensive expertise in cloud computing, you can specialize in managed cloud services, such as infrastructure management, cloud migration, and optimization. If you excel in cybersecurity, consider focusing on managed security services, including threat detection and response, vulnerability assessments, and security awareness training.

2. Analyze Market Trends & Demands

Researching current and emerging trends in the MSP industry can help you get an edge over your competitors. Look for areas with high demand or a gap in the market that you can fill. You should explore technologies or services that are quickly gaining popularity and are expected to have sustained growth; this will help you choose your MSP product specialties.

A good way to stay updated is through industry publications, reports, and websites that provide insights into the MSP market. Look for research and analysis on emerging technologies, market forecasts, and customer preferences. This information can help you identify trends and demands that are shaping the industry.

3. Identify Your Target Audience

Start by determining the types of clients you want to serve. Take factors such as industry verticals, company sizes, and geographic location into account to understand their specific pain points and IT requirements. This will help you tailor your services and build your MSP offerings according to client needs.

You can identify your target audience by conducting market research and analyzing the needs and challenges faced by different types of clients, including businesses of different sizes, industries, and locations. 

4. Evaluate the Competition

Research other MSPs in your market, analyze their product offerings, and find out what they’re doing to win and keep customers. Use your research to identify gaps or areas where you can differentiate yourself or do better. Evaluating your competition will also help you look at things from a closer perspective, explore opportunities that provide unique value, or specialize in an underserved niche.

To evaluate the competition, you can use social media monitoring tools to track your competitors’ social media activities and engagement levels. Tools like Semrush and Similarweb can provide data on their website traffic, keywords, and online advertising efforts. You can also read customer reviews and testimonials about your competitors. Pay attention to both positive and negative feedback to understand what customers value and where your competitors may be falling short.

5. Consider Scalability & Profitability

Assessing the scalability and profitability of potential product specialties can help you determine if there’s a sustainable demand and if you can achieve a reasonable margin. To reach optimal scalability and maximum profitability, evaluate the costs, resources, and investments that you may need to support and deliver specialized services.

The demand for remote work solutions continues to grow, and offering managed virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) services can be a long-term viable choice. Similarly, managed IT services that include monitoring, maintenance, and troubleshooting of networks, servers, and endpoints will likely remain in demand thanks to the increasing complexity of IT environments.

6. Seek Client Feedback & Input

Client feedback is crucial to determining your specialty and ensuring it’s the right one. Engage with your existing clients and gather their feedback on current and proposed services. Try to understand their pain points and challenges, and use that information to identify ways to enhance your offerings. Their input can give insight into the specialized services that would be most beneficial.

Provide your clients with an opportunity to share feedback through online platforms such as customer review websites, social media channels, or dedicated feedback portals on your website. Monitor these platforms regularly and respond promptly to address any concerns or issues raised by clients. Before launching new services or features, involve select clients in user testing or beta programs.

7. Pilot & Test Your Specialties

Once you’ve identified potential specialties, consider piloting or testing them with a select group of clients. This will not only allow you to refine your offerings but also help you assess market acceptance and gather feedback for further improvements.

Here’s one way to go about it: Offer your service at a discounted rate or as part of a pilot program. Measure the success of the pilot program based on predefined metrics, such as customer satisfaction, revenue generation, or efficiency gains. Based on the pilot’s outcomes, refine the offering as needed before scaling it to a wider client base.

8. Continuously Learn & Adapt

The MSP industry is constantly evolving, so staying updated on the latest technologies, industry trends, and client demands is crucial. Continuously invest in learning and development to expand your expertise and refine your specialties.

The best methods involve investing in employee training and development, fostering a culture of experimentation, encouraging knowledge sharing, and engaging in continuous improvement. Collaborating with vendors and industry partners, monitoring customer needs and expectations, embracing automation and innovation, and establishing a feedback loop are also effective strategies.

Following these eight steps will help you make informed decisions that align with market needs, maximize your strengths, and ensure your offerings provide value to your clients. Do them in order for the best results, and spend the most time on the steps you believe will help your unique business the most.

Top 5 Tips for Choosing Your Product Types

Choosing product types for an MSP requires careful consideration, choosing the right vendors, and making strategic decisions. The top five tips to help you make informed decisions when choosing your MSP product specialties include taking your strengths into account, offering complementary services, working with quality vendors, considering the long term, and creating a well-rounded marketing plan.

Leverage Your Strengths & Expertise

Doing what you do best can never go against your favor. Assess your team’s skills, knowledge, and experience, and identify your core competencies and areas where you excel. Choose product types that leverage your strengths, allowing you to deliver exceptional service and differentiate yourself from competitors.

Focus on Complementary Offerings

Along with evaluating the scalability and profitability of product types you’re considering, choose product types that complement your existing service offerings. For instance, if you already offer managed network services, you can complement them by adding managed Wi-Fi services, ensuring clients have a reliable and secure wireless network infrastructure.

Partner with Reliable Vendors

Collaborate with reputable, renowned vendors and suppliers that are known for quality products and support. Partnering with established vendors will help you ensure your customers have access to the latest technologies, training, and technical assistance and give you solid ideas when choosing or updating your product specialties. You can evaluate vendors and their product types based on product quality, reputation, reliability, and alignment with your business goals.

Consider Long-Term Viability

Assess the long-term viability of your MSP product specialties or the product types you’re considering, evaluating their relevance and potential for growth in the evolving technology landscape. To make the most out of your product specialties, choose products that have staying power and are likely to remain in demand for years to come, such as remote work solutions.

Develop a Comprehensive Marketing Strategy

After choosing your product types, develop a marketing strategy to effectively promote and position your products and services in the market. Make sure you clearly communicate the value and benefits of your offerings to your target audience and leverage various marketing channels to reach and engage potential clients.

Keeping these tips in mind will help you choose your product types. You may even discover your own best practices as you follow the tips and steps above.

Bottom Line: MSP Product Specialties

The modern competitive market demands MSPs to differentiate themselves and deliver exceptional services. Specializing in specific product types, continuously learning and adapting to the latest trends, and understanding your target audience will help you choose the most suitable product types. The key is to have a balance of all these things so your brand stands out and you can more easily achieve your goals.