MSP Go-to-Market Playbook

Introduction

It would be easy to suggest various tactical marketing programs and hope they work, but rarely is any tactic successful without being completely integrated into the overall strategy of the MSP. Instead, we’ll break this GTM Playbook into a few different sections. We’ll start with a discussion about the existing and intended customer base and their needs. We’ll then overlap that with what services are being provided to customers and what business models are being leveraged. By understanding these strategic issues, it will be easier to select the best approach to target potential customers for JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service® platform.

Once the strategic part is documented, we’ll turn our attention to the best ways to go-to-market with solutions that would be valuable to potential customers. This will include messaging, the intended audience, and then specific sales and marketing programs. As we’ll remind the reader repeatedly, these are all suggestions and ideas for the MSP to consider.

Adapting to Your Customer Base

Often, MSPs leverage JumpCloud’s Directory-as-a-Service platform to sell higher-level services with benefits to the customer, without mentioning the specific product / service being utilized. This thought process and approach will be woven throughout this GTM Playbook.

JumpCloud has seen time and time again that the most successful MSPs have a strategy that completely aligns the value of JumpCloud with their core needs and market approach. We should again also caveat this GTM Playbook with the fact that MSPs know their businesses best, and that MSPs should feel free to adapt this guide to their specific needs.

If you are working through the JumpCloud GTM plan, then your designated Partner Account Executive (PAE) has already started a conversation with you about your GTM approach. Note that the JumpCloud Partner team would be happy to work with you on a GTM plan, so don’t feel as though you have to do it on your own. This is just an overview guide to help you get started.

Strategic Alignment

Before introducing any new solutions, revisiting the core focus is always a good checkpoint. Ideally, an MSP adds solutions that fit the target market and their prospective customers. Sometimes, it isn’t possible to generalize the target market because an MSP may serve several different types of customers and diversify the targets for their IT services. Generally speaking, however, an MSP’s customers fall into one of a few categories based on industry and individual needs.

Targeting Guides by Industry

Cataloging your most popular industries will help to ensure that the plan to roll JumpCloud out to customers makes sense and matches some of their critical needs.

  • Healthcare: Providers that are looking for HIPAA compliance and cloud services. 
  • Financial Services: Fin-tech, crypto-currency, CPAs, and investment advisory firms that need to leverage tools to manage their employee access, but yet maintain strict compliance.
  • Manufacturing: Firms leveraging modern equipment that is tied to the network with logins for the operators often backed via LDAP.
  • Technology: Software, hardware, and technology consulting firms looking to leverage the cloud where possible, but don’t have the resources to manage their own, internal network.
  • Media: Creative agencies and/or web properties looking for scaled storage and high-bandwidth infrastructure in order to handle large files and complex client engagements.

Speaking of needs, that’s the next step. MSPs acquire customers because of the critical needs customers need solved. There can be a wide range of reasons that MSPs are hired to support their customers, but we’ve listed a few that we commonly hear. Similar to above, please treat these as examples.

Addressing Core Client Needs

Manage the IT Infrastructure
Perhaps one of the most common needs clients have is to turn over the management of their IT infrastructure to an MSP. Often this is done where the MSP is effectively the entire IT department for the organization and as a result, the client has no need for IT staff.

Augment Technical Resources
In some cases an IT team exists, but they are often overwhelmed with the amount of work, so an MSP effectively becomes staff augmentation. In reality, the IT team is shifting the less unique work to be done to the MSP, while they focus on the things that only they can do for their organization.

Acquire Specific Technical Expertise
Sometimes IT departments hire specific expertise, for example, security monitoring, managing an application, or running a piece of equipment where it doesn’t make sense for the internal team to try and replicate that expertise.

Support Security & Compliance Initiatives
A common area of need for IT organizations these days is security and compliance. With the changing and shifting landscape of approaches and solutions, it makes sense that a third party would be able to do a better job with some of these initiatives rather than the client themselves.

The good news is that most MSPs have a very clear and distinct value proposition. We don’t often find an MSP trying to be all things to all people. For the purposes of this plan, it is critical to pick your core one or two needs that you best satisfy for your clients. The sale of JumpCloud will end up dovetailing off of your core value proposition.

How Clients Find Your Services

Now that we’ve detailed the target customer and why they would work with your business, the next step is to understand how existing clients are finding you and working with you. What was the initial point of contact, and how did they find you?

  • Word of Mouth
  • Advertising
  • Events / Seminars
  • Other

Sometimes it is hard to think back and remember how your existing customers found you, but it is important to understand, especially if you will be leveraging Directory-as-a-Service as a catalyst for new business.

Along with analyzing your new customer wins, it is just as important to spend time understanding the best way to approach existing customers with new offerings. Is it best to go out and meet with your client, send them an email, invite them to a seminar, or some other mechanism that they respond to?

Services Offered

By understanding the needs and requirements of your target customer base, it is easier to overlay the services required to solve those needs. As an MSP, you have existing services with your existing clients—but how will adding another service complement the existing services? Is a cloud directory service adjacent to existing offerings, or is it in a completely new category? Or, can a JumpCloud offering be folded into existing services that are being delivered to customers? It’s important to consider whether a Directory-as-a-Service offering will be a completely new area or operate underneath an existing area of your service offering.

Often an MSP’s services may look something like the following:

  • Managed IT services
  • Security
  • Endpoint Management
  • Hosting & cloud services
  • Network & network security

Of course, there are many other ways to slice services for customers, and the list above is by no means comprehensive. A great deal of what services an MSP focuses on works in conjunction with the customer focus and the internal expertise. The result is that cloud directory services may end up being involved in some or all of the services that an MSP offers.

Optimizing the Business Model

It’s important that any new offerings fit in with the business model an MSP offers. Usually the business model is already tuned to the customer segment, vertical, and industry that the MSP services. On the other hand, offering a wide range of models can be difficult for MSPs to manage and can easily leave customers confused. Unless the business model fits for the MSP and customer segment, the new solutions won’t be successful.

Below, we describe a few different business models we see regularly in the MSP space and how a new offering, such as Directory-as-a-Service, can be integrated with them.

One Price per User / Device / Network

This all-inclusive model includes everything an MSP needs to do for a client. Effectively, the MSP is managing the entire network and includes the cost of all tools and solutions within the monthly costs. Generally in this scenario, MSPs make many of the product and tooling decisions with a focus on efficiency and creating increased margins. For MSPs that leverage this model, understanding how a cloud directory can save on software licenses, hardware, and operating costs can be the critical win.

Base + Add-Ons

A hybrid model that many MSPs are using is to charge a base fee to manage the IT infrastructure for an organization. Often this includes many of the basic functions and there may even be different tiers with various services included at each tier. Of course, beyond each tier can be optional services that clients can purchase. If an MSP doesn’t want to change their core services to include directory services, then there is always the option to include it in the optional category.

A La Carte

Some MSPs with a wide range of services and clients will enable their clients to choose a bundle of services that matches their needs best. An MSP that leverages this model may try to use best-of-breed solutions for each service and let their clients choose what is best for them. Adding a new product offering under this model is usually straightforward and usually the MSP has a lot of experience with forecasting the costs and demand of a particular service.

Time & Materials

For those MSPs that are leveraging a professional services model, including an additional service can be straightforward. Most MSPs will pass along the costs to the client and charge for the time to implement and manage the cloud directory service.

Whatever business model is in place, new services should fit within that model to ensure that the new offering will be successful. If there are too many new components to implement with an offering or the offering isn’t consistent with existing models, it is often difficult to make it succeed within an organization.

Value Proposition

Now that you’ve settled in on a business model to roll out a new cloud directory service, the next step is to determine the best way to position and message the new offering to customers and prospects. Of course, keep in mind that the work you’ve already done to line up the offering to your existing customers and targets along with their needs will be critical to outlining the value proposition.

While each situation will be different, most of the positioning and messaging will be a derivative of the following high-level value points of a cloud directory service. To get all the details of how a cloud directory can help your clients, check out this article and feel free to share it with potential customers. If you’d like something more visual, feel free to share this “Move to Modern IT” infographic that summarizes the problems a cloud directory helps clients overcome.

Freedom of Choice

A neutral cloud directory provider will enable organizations to leverage whatever IT resources are best for them. That means that as an MSP, you don’t need to tie your clients to Microsoft platforms or just manage web applications. Rather, you’ll have the flexibility to work with your clients to find the best IT solutions for them and then be able to manage access to those centrally.

Efficiency

IT solutions should help make everybody more productive. A cloud directory service does that with end users and with the people that manage the infrastructure. MSPs can become a great deal more efficient eliminating the need to be involved with password resets, SSH key management, and much more. End users can get frictionless access to their IT resources leveraging one, secure identity.

Security / Compliance

Identity compromises are the number one method of security breaches. A core identity provider can help address identity and network security issues by dramatically reducing the risk of a security breach. Further, with many organizations—even small to medium-sized enterprises—subject to compliance regulations, the ability to leverage one solution to cover a number of security, and compliance areas can be high impact.

Cost Savings

The right approach to cloud directory services can reduce costs of IT management, product and tool selection, and security/compliance activities. While the tangible, hard cost savings can be significant and measured through ROI tools, the intangible cost savings can be meaningful as well.

For MSPs looking to integrate cloud directory services into their offerings, the specific messaging and positioning may vary, but the themes above should be woven throughout.

Marketing Programs

The last major step in this go-to-market strategy is to actually reach your clients. Of course, once you have a potential customer, the work of convincing them that a cloud directory service will be valuable starts. The good news is that all of the heavy lifting that you’ve done will help make that process easier.

In this section, though, we’ll introduce our selling guides and focus on the best ways for you to reach your existing customers and new customers.

Selling Guides for Targeting Client Needs

Intended to guide your marketing and sales efforts towards a variety of client needs, we’ve published a series of MSP selling guides for Partners to lean on however needed.

Directory Services
Building an IT Security Practice
Multi-Factor Authentication
Endpoint Management
Full Disk Encryption
WiFi Authentication and Security
Dynamic VLAN Tagging
True Single Sign-On

Email Marketing

Often the easiest way to introduce a new service is through an email cadence. Because your clients likely get a tremendous volume of email, you’ll likely want to have a series of emails sent to introduce the concept of a cloud directory service, the benefits of it, and how other similar organizations may be using the cloud directory service.

Made exclusively for Partners, the JumpCloud Email Campaign Guide provides tips, resources, and email templates to help kickstart your marketing cadence.

Webinar

Often, a webinar where a solution and its benefits can be discussed is valuable. This ends up being a scalable way to introduce the concept of a cloud directory and it can be more in depth with a visual introduction as well. Question and answer at the end can be helpful for potential clients and the fact that the entire webinar can be recorded and used as a future marketing tool makes it even more valuable.

If you’d like to conduct a joint webinar with JumpCloud, please reach out to your Partner Account Manager. We’d be more than happy to work together.

Face-to-Face or Phone Call

While much less scalable, for MSPs with, say, under 50 customers, it is possible to do direct outreach to introduce new concepts. Many MSPs already have deep relationships with their clients and are in regular communication. Marketing a new service directly and tying it to challenges that the client is facing can be powerful.

There are, of course, many other methods to reach existing clients. Some MSPs may have newsletters, events, or even online portals where introducing new services can have a high impact. Ultimately, the items above are just suggestions, and MSPs should leverage the mechanisms that they find best.

Tying it All Together

With customer prospects, MSPs may be able to leverage some of the same tactics, but it is useful to scan back through the ways existing customers were found first and the value proposition for those customers. Often with new prospects, an MSP is not selling a specific service like cloud directory services, but rather the benefits of working closely with the MSP. As mentioned above, these benefits could include outsourcing of day-to-day management of the IT infrastructure to security, compliance, and specific managed services. We find that MSPs will often slightly alter their messaging and positioning in their current marketing channels (e.g. website, ads, emails, etc.) to include the benefits of cloud directory services.

The end goal of this go-to-market plan is to help support the positive introduction of JumpCloud’s directory services into an MSP’s offerings. JumpCloud’s Partner Account team is happy to work closely with you to develop your GTM strategy for this innovative new area of cloud services.

For more information on how you can decrease costs, spend less time on onboarding, gain peace of mind about security, and reduce compliance audit hassle, drop us a note at sales@jumpcloud.com.

About Jumpcloud

JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service is Active Directory and LDAP reimagined. JumpCloud securely manages and connects your users to their systems, applications, files, and networks. Try JumpCloud now, or contact us at 855.212.3122.