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As many SMBs moved employees into remote workforces due to the current pandemic, the transition has put new cybersecurity risks in the spotlight. This shift is making it more important for MSPs to market and sell cybersecurity services.
Small business owners are becoming more knowledgeable and aware of today's myriad threats, which is driving opportunities for MSPs to help them reduce risk and protect their businesses. Customers know they need something to stop the bad guys and are looking to their MSP for the solution. If you are not talking to your customers about cybersecurity and showing them how you can help protect them, your competitors will.
Building out a beneficial set of cybersecurity products is essential to every MSP, but marketing and selling those services can be a challenge.
Here are three tips for MSP cybersecurity sales and marketing success.
1. Lead by example
It is recommended you put the same effort into protecting your own business as you would your customers'. Security is an investment, not a cost: Your business and your reputation are at stake. You should consider this your No. 1 priority.
By now, we are all aware of the numerous successful cyberattacks on MSPs, which have led to thousands of ransomware infections and, in some cases, an entire MSP customer base becoming infected. You want to be the front line of defense to your customers and should lead them by example. Once you can speak to customers about the protections you have for your own systems, they won't care so much about which security tools you use. Customers will want those tools protecting their businesses, which, in turn, makes security easier to market and sell.
As you secure your internal systems and create or update internal security policies and processes, you will find tools to fill in the gaps and supplement your stack. You will also find many important changes can be made for free.
Examples include the following:
- Enable multifactor authentication on all your systems and portals.
- Update your internal password policy.
- Have conversations about cybersecurity with your team to keep it top of mind.
- Make sure your employees are not using personal devices for work.
- Ensure your company devices are always secured.
All these activities will become part of your cybersecurity offering to your customers.
The takeaway here is to lead by example: Before you can market and sell cybersecurity, you must first protect yourself and become an expert with the tools you are using and offering to customers.
Do not overcomplicate the sales process. Bundle all your products into the per-user/per-device cost.
If you sell MSP cybersecurity services "a la carte," you will get pushback. In the end, a customer that does not follow your guidance and advice is a risk to your business as much or more than their own. The effects of a ransomware attack are not just felt by your customer, but by your business, as well. Successful ransomware attacks take away precious tech resources to deal with the aftermath, create potential legal and insurance ramifications and, ultimately, can adversely affect the reputation of your business.
If you get pushback from a customer on your cybersecurity solution, this is the time to talk about cyber insurance. Ask your customer about their premiums and offer to have a conversation with their cyber insurance provider to find out how they can reduce their insurance costs through better protection and policies. If they do not have cyber insurance, introduce them to your provider. Many providers that work with MSPs have a reseller channel, which could help boost your revenue. More than likely your customer will be in the same boat as the rest of us facing large premium increases. Teach them how your cybersecurity offering will protect their business and their data. At the same time, doing so will help keep their cyber insurance premiums as low as possible.
3. Marketing through education
The more you educate your customers with facts and information on cyber-risks, the more aware they will become on the need for stronger security.
Educate customers with newsletters, blogs and email campaigns that are specific to security. There is a lot of relevant information available that you can gather and share with your customers. A little bit of research will go a long way in helping you stay on top of the industry and making it easier to educate customers. Become the security expert to them, not just their IT support company.
As we move into a new way of working, we also move into a new way of looking at security. There has been a 667% increase in spear-phishing email attacks since the end of February 2020, and ransomware attacks on SMBs is as high as it has ever been. Protect your business with good security tools, then learn those tools so you can bundle, sell and market them through conversations with existing customers and by using email, blogs and social media campaigns. As you become your own security expert, you become your customers' security expert.
About the author
Craig Lojewski is president of C2 Computer Services, an MSP based in Coral Springs, Fla. Lojewski is also a member of The ASCII Group, a North American IT community of more than 1,300 MSPs, solution providers and systems integrators.