How CSPs can streamline efficiencies to create healthier margins

| By:
Topher Barrow

To ensure business and service profitability, it’s important to have a strong sales strategy in place, as well as an established way to create healthy margins. If you’re considering adding a cloud solutions offering to your existing services, or already offer cloud services and want to increase profitability, here are a few tips for cloud service providers (CSPs) to find success.

Consider the cost of acquiring new clients

You invest a lot of time and money to acquire new clients. Whether you’re adding or already offering cloud services, this is a great time to assess your strategy and find ways to make your sales cycle more efficient. By decreasing the time and money you need to spend to secure new business, you can increase your profitability. While you may not be able to reduce hard costs associated with adding new clients, you can look for ways to reduce the time you and your team spend finding new business. The best way to do this is to look for ways to leverage automation in your sales and marketing processes.

When evaluating your sales process, find more ways to leverage automation and capture revenue through technical means:

  • Consider a direct point of purchase on your website
  • Create forms to capture lead information and have it routed to the appropriate contacts on your sales team
  • See if any integrations you partner with would be willing to refer your products or services to their clients

These tactics could lead to ways to capture revenue automatically and require less time commitment from your sales team.

In marketing, explore automation solutions that help you create a high-output, low-touchpoint marketing scheme that allows you to reach more prospects with less effort. These tools can help you create drip or nurture email campaigns to engage clients you may have in the database, but haven’t made a purchase. They can also help you identify who your highest quality prospects are so you know where to spend more of your attention.

Finally, look at the packages and service you’re offering clients. If you have a standard set of services you offer, consider pre-defining and pre-scoping these packages. Also, see if it’s possible to automate part of the product licensing process, which can save your team time with each package you sell.

Increase repeatable process in your everyday operations

The great thing about cloud infrastructures is that they have a variety of services built in to help with repeatable processes outside of the sales cycle. Often, the most time-consuming tasks also have the lowest value to your organization. Examine your internal processes and see if there’s a way to free your techs and sales team from some of these mundane tasks.

Automating simple steps with tools like ConnectWise Manage® and ConnectWise Automate® can create efficiencies throughout the customer journey and at every stage within your business. Depending on which solutions you use, you may also have an opportunity to create a level of self-service for your clients, which could alleviate questions your service delivery team might get. However, you’ll need to determine what things you’d let your clients do themselves, as well as how to educate and train them on the tools.

Develop cloud packages to automate service delivery

Defining cloud packages allows your service delivery team to better manage the services you’re providing to your clients. If you define the packages, and the processes or tasks associated with them, you won’t have as many one-off tasks, which allows you to automate more of the service delivery as your team has a better idea of what to expect.

Another benefit is when you create something that’s pre-defined, you develop a focused package based on a target market, industry, line of business, or other criteria. For each business within an industry that comes to you for service, you can direct the prospect to the established cloud package that best meets their needs, which is much easier than having one package that needs to be individualized on a per-customer basis.

Along with defining packages for specific businesses, you should also preconfigure as many details of the cloud environment as possible using vendor resources, templates, and more. You’ll offer clients transparency into what’s covered, which can help eliminate scope creep, and gives them an understanding of what to expect from your services, which can help foster a healthy relationship.

Finally, establish a fixed priced product catalog. Fixed prices remove many of the sales cycle moving parts and creates transparency and predictability for your customers. It will also save your sales team time because fixed pricing makes it easier to automate the quoting process, which will save them time and help them deliver a quote in a timely manner.

Build intellectual Pproperty (IP) into your cloud packages

If you understand how a specific industry will use your cloud solutions, see if you can offer IP that will benefit them specifically. Take for example LawToolbox365® for Microsoft® Office365®, an Outlook add-in that centralizes and automates reminders for attorneys and their staff. Not only does IP provide a lot of value to your customers, research shows adding IP brings in the highest margins—upwards of 70%.

With these tips, you’ll build cloud solutions that not only benefit your clients, but add a healthy stream of recurring revenue for your organization.