Bid The Job Well

February 23, 2021 Bid The Job Well

By Captain's Chair

When an MSP (Managed Service Provider) bids on a new business opportunity or a new proposal, it’s a chance to set the stage for a successful relationship. The bidding process can be challenging for MSPs, especially those whose reputation and expertise have typically been focused on break/fix expertise. Even for those accustomed to presenting themselves as more of a strategic partner, it can be challenging to properly enumerate all the value a good MSP will deliver beyond just service ticket responses.

But it’s worth the effort, because a successful bid can help deliver a longer and more fruitful relationship with a client. It can also be a way to elevate the MSP’s value in the client’s eyes before any work is even done.

A Successful Bid

To frame the relationship properly from the start, a successful new business or service proposal should include these elements:

    • Telegraph the MSP’s strategic intent and expertise by listing proactive services that will be provided, alongside the expected break/fix responses.
    • Monetize the MSP’s services by listing and pricing them — otherwise some strategic services may be undervalued by a client just expecting reactive services.
    • Create a culture of frequent communication and interaction by recommending a regular cadence of communication in the bid. Each meeting or communication then becomes a chance for the MSP to reaffirm its initial value proposition.

Bidding the job well allows the MSP to stand out from the competition and differentiate its services. As discussed in this recent blog, delineating all anticipated value-add services in the bid should then be followed by the MSP logging all of them in the form of service tickets once the contract is secured.

The right job bid will also help prevent unexpected surprises, such as a client who may be expecting certain services but has never agreed to pay for them in the original contract.

An Honest Forecast
To give clarity and shape to the professional relationship before it begins, a successful bid should include these areas:

    • Convey the strengths
      What does the MSP do best? Make sure the contract spells that out.
    • Set expectations
      If an MSP expects to encounter a flood of Trouble Tickets (fixes to broken or non-optimized IT resources) once hired, cite that in the bid. Then telegraph to the client that a later decrease in that type of ticket will be indicative of a planned transition to more Service Tickets (elective, non-urgent fixes). Otherwise, the MSP may be judged by a decrease in the former.
    • Establish transparency
      Be clear about what the MSP will need from the client. Write into the bid capital allocations that may be necessary, as well as any other commitments needed from the client to achieve goals. This may include telling the client hard truths, much like a doctor telling an overweight patient the risks of not addressing the obesity.
    • Be proud of making the sausage
      Pull back the curtain and detail how you’ll elevate the client’s operations with a dynamic and detailed IT plan. It can be a challenge to convey technical expertise and services to a non-technical audience, but it’s crucial. The Captain’s Chair dashboard can help, because of the clear way it conveys information to audiences through easy-to-understand pie charts, bar graphs, and other information that’s available around the clock.

The payoff of a detailed, holistic, and honest bid will come in ways the client may not even appreciate when they award the MSP the business. For instance, there’s an opportunity for a good MSP to help clients avoid problems that can’t be anticipated by presenting a full-bodied plan with strategic goals and contingencies. An example of this is how some MSPs have fared better than others when the COVID-19 pandemic hit — a topic we’ll explore in the next blog in this series.