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Six key takeaways from Datto’s 2017 State of the MSP report

Thu, 27th Apr 2017
FYI, this story is more than a year old

A new State of the MSP report from data protection vendor Datto shines a light on the pain points and challenges faced by MSPs highlighting the issues they're facing and the paths they're taking.

While the survey covered 1,200 North American managed service providers, Datto says the results still have relevance for the local market.

So what were the key takeaways? Read on:

Specialisation counts

Sixty-four percent of MSPs surveyed by Datto focused on a specific verticals, with the top verticals targeted being professional services, manufacturing and construction, and healthcare. Other vertical focuses included finance, education, government, legal, non-profits and SMBs.

One MSP noted that focusing on a specific vertical can be efficient from an operations standpoint given that you're providing a similar service for most, or all, of your clients.

Marketing and sales woes

Marketing and sales efforts were the key struggles for MSPs, proving a top challenge for 26% of those surveyed.

Datto says the majority of MSPs are struggling with a strong lead generation strategy in their marketing plan. Sales talent/growth, qualifying prospects and an increase in local competition were also causing pain on the marketing/sales side for those surveyed.

BDR pain

Selling backup and disaster recovery was the second largest pain point, at 18%, with pricing objections and declining budgets constant hurdles to overcome during the MSP sales process. Educating SMBs, qualifying leads, getting an initial appointment and overcoming competition were also hurdles to selling BDR.

Good staff are hard to find

Staffing and training was a concern for 17% of respondents, with recruiting technical talent the biggest challenge for MSPs of all sizes. Training and retention were also common struggles.

Growing pains

As MSPs grow, the lack of time and resources prove to be their biggest challenge according to the survey, which highlights operational efficiency, standardisation of policies and services, delegation to manage growth and mergers and acquisitions as other challenges falling within the growing pains category.

Growing pains was cited by 16% of respondents as a key pain point. Most of Datto's MSP partners serve 100+ clients and have more than US$5 million in annual revenue.

Other pain points included ransomware/cybersecurity, at 14%, vendors and technology, pricing services, customer service, internal operations and changing technology.

Evaluating new products and services

When it comes to finding a new product or service to offer, MSPs are turning to… Google. Yes, a Google search was the favoured method of ‘evaluating new products and services' at 67%. Referrals from colleagues was second most popular at 49%, with tradeshows and events (38%) and industry forum (37%) also popular options.

When it comes to staying up to date on industry trends, technology websites were favoured by 53%, with industry peers (24%) and tradeshows and conferences (23%) also making the cut.

It's Star Wars all the way, thanks!

In case you're interested, the force is very much with American MSPs, with 66% preferring Star Wars over Star Trek.

Datto's number crunching extended to letting us know that Star Wars fans are more challenged by marketing/sales and staffing/training than Trekkies, who were more challenged by pricing services.

Oh, and 9% prefer neither Star Wars nor Star Trek, with 8% opting for Firefly, Bablyon 5, Battlestar Galactica, Guardians of the Galaxy, Harry Potter or Stargate…

In other ‘fun' facts: Freakonomics and Serial were the top ranked podcasts for MSPs, of whom 57% say they listen to podcasts and/or read blogs online, with Reddit the top website.

And 78% of those surveyed are football fans. We're assuming that's American football.

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