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Trends In Marketing Managed Services

The Global MSP Network (GMN), the association for Managed Service Providers, Friday disclosed preliminary results of its sales and marketing survey.

The organization, which is focused on the advancement of the outsourced management service provider (MSP) channel, initiated the original research in October, 2001 to identify key MSP trends and support its MSP members with effective sales and marketing tools.

Key findings helped back what industry experts have long suspected and indicate that most MSPs were formerly systems integrators or Value Added Resellers, (VARs). Fewer than a third of the MSPs surveyed actually started their current businesses with an MSP focus in mind.

Survey respondents in the preliminary findings have been focused equally between small-medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and enterprise customer focus.

The GMN says that most are horizontally focused and almost half market their organizations on an annual budget of $100,000 or less.

"As we complete this original research, it's increasingly apparent that the marketing budgets MSPs must work with are surprisingly slim," said Dan Atkinson, EVP of DirectPointe and co-chair of the GMN survey.

"Our findings indicate that all of our MSP members (large and small), have a tremendous need for effective and focused marketing tools."

Results show that MSPs tend to have fairly small staffs, with over 80 per cent reporting 99 employees or less.

The GMN's survey indicates that targeted marketing to specific groups is one of the most highly effective marketing avenues among successful MSPs.

It was also found that horizontal marketing for brand awareness was not effective, with the top three sales techniques found to be: Customer references; Solution demonstrations, and ROI tools.

"The results of our findings are helping the GMN and its MSP members become much more effective in developing appropriate marketing tools," said Rob Moore, vice president marketing for Center 7 of Lindon, Utah, and GMN research co-chair.

"For example, based on feedback from GMN members and on the findings of our original research, the GMN recently developed and released an MSP-specific ROI Toolkit that is available now."

The purpose of the ROI Toolkit, Moore said, is to provide a framework and a set of resources that MSPs can use to help calculate ROI for their services. The Toolkit is able to calculate the anticipated costs of IT services both with and without the prospective help of an MSP.

Based in Salt Lake City, Utah, the GMN is aimed at helping members gain a better understanding of the MSP business model, and increasing awareness of the MSP channel.