Productization and Documentation of MSP Offerings
When it comes to productization and documentation of MSP offerings, there are two different variations for companies to consider. One option is the traditional channel partners, agents and I.T. consultants. These trusted advisors work with clients and help them through their journey. NETRIO does a significant amount of business with Channel Partners.
However, NETRIO is also an MSP (Managed Service Provider) meaning we can enable a company to become a white label partner (WLP). In this scenario, NETRIO makes it possible for a company to deliver its products and services as their own.
Mike CromwellHey, everyone, Mike Cromwell here, I'm joined by Brian DeVault, my co-host on Whiteboard Wednesday. So welcome to the next new edition.
Mike CromwellBrian is on lockdown, preparing for a trip to the Bahamas and therefore we can't be in front of the typical whiteboard today. So we're going to do our best to do it virtually. And we started off our series going deep into how Netrio and for that matter, any MSP onboards its managed services clients, a really key part of the process and one that's critically important to get it right and to get the right outcome for the customer considering it today, we're going to pivot into a new topic and we're going to talk about today is the difference between white label versus agents.
Mike CromwellWe're going to talk about two different variations of partners that Netrio works with. We have 100 percent partner model at Netrio. And with that being said, there's two different variations for companies to consider. On the one hand, traditional channel partners, agents, I.T. consultants that are going to work with clients, advise them, help them through their journey, also known as trusted advisers. And we certainly have significant piece of business that we do through traditional channel partners.
Mike CromwellBut we also are known as the MSP of MSPs, where Netrio can enable a company to become a white label partner and deliver the same services that Netrio provides, enabling a partner to deliver it as their own. So we're going to talk about that today. So, Brian, welcome back to Whiteboard Wednesday.
Brian DeVaultThank you, Mike.
Mike CromwellWhether you're going to develop a product yourself and take it to market yourself and through direct sales model or whether you're going to do it through channel partners or through white label, you have to get the product well-defined first.
Mike CromwellSo, Brian, you want to walk us through this phase in terms of what good product management looks like at a high level.
Brian DeVaultYou and I have discussed many times on many occasions the importance of productization of your service offerings, and that's really what we're talking about here. So it's through all the aspects of what the product looks like, how the customer is going to consume it, or how they subscribe to it. What what the scope of that service is that you've turned into a product and making it into a subscription that's easy for the end user to consume. That's what we're talking about when we talk about the product offering.
Brian DeVaultFrom there, you can move into pricing strategy. So that is evaluating the marketplace. You want to remain competitive. You've got to make sure you're looking out for the business's bottom line as well. At that point, obviously, if you want to make sure that you're positioned correctly in the market as well to win deals. Documentation, such as your products slicks, brochures, information for PowerPoint presentations, for customers. These are things that they're going to look at after you walk away and reference.
Brian DeVaultAnd it needs to be concise and accurate and give enough information about the product that allows them to be able to take the next steps.
Mike CromwellCan share a little perspective in terms of how important that documentation is when you're talking about enabling partners to sell.
Brian DeVaultI think it's absolutely critical. You have a very complex product in these managed services offerings. You've got to get the product documented on paper. So explains accurately what the service is and what it provides, what the scope is, all those things that are going to be critical in that customer's decision to make a purchase, but also critical in educating the white label partner or the agent, whichever model they choose, they can go take this take this out into the market.
Brian DeVaultAnd that next step, they go to market strategy. They've got to be equipped with the right tools in order to sell, and that product documentation is it. As you know, we've spent years creating our product documentation and we continue to refine it on a regular basis as our products evolve. You know how much importance we place on it and certainly for the purpose of sharing it with our partner community.
Mike CromwellBecause as you go to enable partners, training is a critical element of that. And you can't train if you don't have the proper documentation and process defined.
Brian DeVaultThat's right. There's a steep learning curve associated with managed IT service, especially for the traditional telecom agents or telecom brokers that haven't had a lot of experience in that space. And so the more that product documentation you can create up front and have it readily available for them to distribute is absolutely critical to the success of the engagement. And I think is the distinguishing factor between companies that will be successful with the strategy and the ones that will not. I think you've had some some testimonials to that and some of your previous roles at other companies where you were able to demonstrate that without having the product documentation and the right go to market strategy, you've seen programs that were unsuccessful versus where you had the right tools and the right documents and the right training and everything else in place to get partners and agents trained up on a product or service.
Brian DeVaultAnd you you saw extremely wild success with it. There's definitely testimony there in the wild to support the production of the product documentation and the delivery of it in the usage of it within the sales cycle and so forth.
Mike CromwellI've seen it both ways, Brian. I've seen the ones that have done it well and I've seen ones that don't. And there's a there's a huge difference in terms of not only the success and adoption of that product for the partner, but also in what translates in the form of customer experience, the more documentation and training you do, the better results you're going to have with your clients.
What is the difference between a WLP and an agent?
The Admin Bar defines a White Label Partner as an individual or team who do work on your client’s project but appear to be part of your core team. A WLP partner of NETRIO would sell our services as an MSP under their brand. NETRIO would be delivering MSP services under our WLP alias. When NETRIO works with an WLP, we are an extension to their team and the customer does not know the difference.
White Label Services are a great fit for MSPs or Service Providers that are looking for after-hours helpdesk coverage; assistance with overnight patching and maintenance; staff augmentation (Tier 1/Tier 2 Support); or those looking to expand their portfolio of services.
An agent is a trusted advisor who works with clients to help them through their journey to finding a solution. For example, an agent would be selling NETRIO services to a client as a way to outsource Managed IT Services. The agent would guide the customer through their journey of signing a contract with NETRIO. NETRIO would then be aligned with your business requirements and help your company meet its strategic goals.
Now that we have covered the difference between WLP and an agent, we can move on to tips if your company is looking into their options as a MSP. Enabling partners to sell is critical to the success of the company.
Productization of Your Service Offerings
The goal of a service offering is to create something easy for the end-user to utilize and manage. That can include:
- What the product looks like
- How the customer is going to consume
- The scope of that service that you’ve turned into a product and made it into a subscription.
Pricing Strategy & Documentation
In order to come up with a pricing strategy that makes sense, you will need to evaluate the marketplace. The goal is to remain competitive but fair. After nailing down a pricing strategy, it is time to put together your collateral. Things like documentation, brochures and PowerPoint presentations you can walk through with the client will really make your company stand out as the right choice.
Enabling Partners to Sell
It is critical that your documentation and collateral is in a good place when it comes to enabling partners to sell your products and subscriptions. Your documentation will accurately explain what the service is and what it provides, and what the scope is. This information is incredibly critical in the customer’s decision-making process. Making sure this step is polished will also allow you to educate the white label partner or the agent (whichever model your company runs off of) so they can take the product into the market.
At NETRIO, we are always fine-tuning our product documentation on a regular basis as our products evolve. We place importance on it and it provides our Channel Partners with exactly what they need to sell our products and services. Documentation is the distinguishing factor between companies that will be successful in implementing their strategy and the ones that will struggle.
This blog post is part of NETRIO’s weekly White Board Wednesday series. Follow along on Linkedin and YouTube each week as Brian and Mike discuss use cases, new technology, and trends. The goal is to provide insights for enterprise customers and channel partners, trying to solve complex problems using technology.