The MSP Opportunity in Up-Serving and Cross-Selling

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In my work with IT Solution Providers and Managed Service Providers (MSPs), I regularly ask business owners what their biggest challenge is.

The answer they give me is typically “finding new clients”.

As a former MSP owner myself, I totally understand this challenge!

Doing consistent, quality marketing to prospective MSP clients is a time consuming and often frustrating process.

But what if I told you that instead of having to find new clients, you are sitting on a potential goldmine of revenue with your *existing* clients?

Lowering the Cost of Support and Increasing Revenue

How many services do you offer to your existing clients?

At a guess, there will be:-

  • Your core Managed Service offering
  • Cloud-based backup and Disaster Recovery solutions
  • Dark Web monitoring
  • Web Content Filtering
  • Email Hosting
  • Email Backup and Archiving
  • Network Management

... and probably a dozen other services and solutions you could offer your clients.

Now, how many of your clients take *all* the solutions and services you offer?

Probably not too many, right?

Yet if you were to educate all of your clients -- or even a good portion -- I’m betting that not only would your revenue increase substantially, but thanks to your clients being better protected, the cost of supporting those clients would drop thanks to fewer support tickets.

So, by upselling and cross-selling solutions, you’d lower your cost of support contracts and increase your revenue?

So why aren’t more MSPs doing this?

Upselling can feel like a Dirty Word

When you mention sales to most MSP owners, it comes with certain negative connotations.

Salesmen are seen as snake oil merchants, trying to persuade customers to buy something they don’t need.

Yet, the vast majority of MSPs I know came into the IT industry because they enjoy helping and serving people.

This reminded me of the time I had the opportunity to interview Bob Burg.

Bob is the renowned author of the best-selling book “The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea” and a globally respected sales coach (you can check out our conversation at How Being a Go-Giver Can Increase Your Sales).

Bob coined the phrase “up-serving” and I love this term, because it perfectly captures what we, as MSP owners, are looking to achieve with our clients.

That’s why I think we need to redefine the word “selling” to “serving,” and as a result, instead of looking to upsell or cross-sell to our clients, we learn the benefits of up-serving our MSP clients.

How Can I Begin Up-Serving My Clients?

Earlier in this article, I mentioned that you probably have dozens of solutions or services you *could* offer to your clients.

But just how do you keep track of which clients are taking which services?

Well, when I ran my own MSP business, we went old-school on this concept!

I put up a whiteboard in our office, and across the top axis, I wrote every client's name.

Then, across the left axis, I wrote every solution or service we offer.

Finally, in the grid I’d created, I went through and put a green tick where a client already took that solution or service from us, and a red cross where there was an opportunity to help that client with an up-served solution.

Thankfully, nowadays, you don’t have to use such basic solutions as tools like Zomentum allow you to build your own sales efficiency within their software!

(If you’re interested in seeing how, then check out my Video with Ben Spector of Zomentum on How to use the Zomentum solution to improve and streamline your sales and marketing process).

Get it for free | Download Zomentum’s up-serving & cross-selling template 

Focus On A Solution Per Month

Once you have your sales plan in place, then I’d recommend you focus your marketing efforts on promoting a single solution each month.

For instance, the first month you could focus your marketing on educating clients on the value of a Backup & Disaster Recovery (BDR) solution.

The next month, you could focus on why Voice-over-IP (VoIP) solutions provide better quality call management.

Each month, you’re trying to convert more of your existing clients to your solutions -- looking for opportunities to increase the revenue you generate from the client *and* lower your cost of supporting that client.

As a side note, one great side benefit to this process is that the same marketing can be used to promote your services and solutions to *new* clients, too! So, if you’re struggling to do consistent marketing, this methodology will help you too.

A double whammy!


The vast majority of MSP businesses are working hard to win new clients.

Yet the reality of their business is that they probably haven’t maximised the value of their existing client relationships!

By up-serving your clients, and educating them on the full range of services and solutions you could help them with, you’ll find that you increase your revenue.

And, as a result of your clients taking more of your services, you’ll notice that they are better protected and log fewer support tickets with you. So, you’ll increase the profit of your support contracts.

Upserving clients is a win-win. It increases your revenue, reduces your cost of supporting a client, and makes your client more “sticky” too.

So as you approach your business growth strategy, before pursuing new clients, consider the goldmine of revenue you’re already sitting on!

About The Author

Richard Tubb is one of the best-known experts within the global IT Managed Service Provider (MSP) community. He launched and sold his own MSP business before creating a leading MSP media and consultancy practice. Richard helps IT business owner’s take back control by freeing up their time and building a business that can run without them. He’s the author of the book “The IT Business Owner’s Survival Guide” and writer of the award-winning blog