Importance of references in managed services business
Having good references is crucial to the success of a managed services business. This has to be fostered by the Managed Services organization, not just by providing a good service. It starts in the sales cycle, whether it is selling a new managed service or up-selling an existing customer. To do this, it is important to communicate that you want to gain the customer’s trust and become a reference. For example, you can include that in your contract. It can be done and it is effective. Just make sure you have three or four standard sentences that you want to add. For example, you could say that you agree to make reference calls to clients, analysts and trade journals once a month or once a quarter, provided that you are providing a good service. If you are negotiating with a client and the client asks for price or other concessions, encourage them to include this paragraph as part of the compromise. It’s not truly enforceable, but it works. In addition to this, I have also found it effective to offer financial incentives to client management to get them to agree to be a reference. The incentive doesn’t have to be large, but it can be effective.
It’s very important to create a culture of getting references in your organisation. References are a big problem for many managed service companies. A determined, patient and thorough effort to obtain references is effective in all businesses. Those who have the best relationships with the right client executives should be the ones to drive this forward and request orders. The ultimate ‘buzz’ vehicle for offering managed services is an article in the trade press. And lots of reprints and URL links in emails can be sent very effectively.
Nothing helps to create a buzz in the external market like this. There are a few things you can do to make this happen. The first thing you should not do is try to get an interview with a publication believing that your message of competence is very attractive.
The first thing you should not do is try to get an interview with a publisher believing that your competence message is very attractive and that it must be interesting, and then spend all your time trying to make it so. The key is to come to the table with two things: one, an industry analyst and one, an industry analyst who is happy to talk to publications. You can offer journalists the opportunity to talk to industry analysts as you describe your services and explain your services. The journalists will always say yes.
It gives credibility to your message. The second thing is to find clients who are willing to be interviewed. This is more difficult because many clients’ corporate communications teams are This is more difficult because many clients’ corporate communications teams are blocked. blocked. It is worth the effort as it can make the difference between getting a story and not. If the reporter can talk to the analyst and the client, the chances of getting the story are much better. Trade journals are particularly interested in client-centred stories. And if the article is published, it will generate more buzz than a huge marketing budget.