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Build a Better MSP - Blog

2 min read

Building blocks for Strategic Engagements

By Skip Ziegler on Aug 23, 2019

The Strategic Client Engagement.  It’s a fancy name for a meeting; but it helps set the overall goals of what we are trying to achieve: an opportunity to talk with our clients about how technology can help drive their business to meet their current and future needs.

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7 min read

The 4 Steps of Successful Cybersecurity Service Monetization

By Caleb Christopher on Aug 15, 2019

The problem

In my observation, previously working for an MSP and now with MSPs: for some, monetizing security is an elusive goal that seems to be reserved for those who already have connections, experience, and the right customers. Why?

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3 min read

Why MSPs are not closing business enough

By Mark Woldman on Aug 5, 2019

You pro­vide a great ser­vice, the price is right, your mar­ket­ing cam­paign is spot-on, yet very few deals are actu­ally clos­ing? Does this sound like your com­pany? Sadly, a good offer often times isn’t enough to win a client over. Some­times a lower level com­peti­tor gets the busi­ness. Why? Bet­ter sales tech­niques. In order to go from con­tact to con­tract, you need to be one step ahead of your com­peti­tors, espe­cially as it relates to sales processes and tech­niques. Fol­low­ing are some help­ful tips that will help you close the sale faster – and eas­ier – than ever:

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4 min read

Why vCIO Programs Fail

By Adam Walter on Jul 25, 2019

The industry is changing, you need to evolve or be left behind by your clients. The next step to MSPs is vCIO, but how do we get there?

I have spent the last few years coaching MSPs on how to create successful vCIO programs. There is a consistent message across every single MSP:

“We want a vCIO program but have not been able to get it going”

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2 min read

What does EOS have to do with becoming a CCSP

By Jamison West on Jul 25, 2019

I'm talking to you today because I've been getting a lot of questions about why I've been so focused on EOSTM (Entrepreneurial Operating System) and then other strategic methodologies and all of these teachings that I've been bringing to you regarding shifting from a traditional managed service provider to becoming a Cloud-Centric Solution Provider (CCSP). And what I've realized as I've worked with different clients is that one shoe doesn't fit all...

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1 min read

How much time should you spend on account management activities?

By Myles Olson on May 31, 2019


Are you spending all your Account Management resources on your noisiest clients? Does this mean some clients are being overlooked and underserved? What’s the best way to segment your clients and assign the appropriate resources?

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1 min read

The IT budget spreadsheet you never find time to build

By Myles Olson on May 31, 2019

Have you always wanted to sit down and design a great budget spreadsheet that clearly explains IT spending? One that your clients will understand, complete with pretty graphs?

Here you go!

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3 min read

Client Engagement Excellence Program

By Denes Purnhauser on May 31, 2019

Here is the Problem...

Communicating with your clients at only the technical and tactical level will eventually lead to diminished engagement. Executives are looking for more strategic and business-oriented conversations. Without a clear understanding of the roles for the Account Managers, Technical Account Managers, Technical vCIOs or Business vCIOs it is nearly impossible to leverage any process, best practice or tool to get your critical audience excited.

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2 min read

Monetize Microsoft 365 Services

By Denes Purnhauser on May 31, 2019

On this interview Rich Anderson (Imagine IT) and Adam Walter (Virtual C) talk about leveraging Microsoft 365 for business discussions, differentiation and as a platform for growth.

Rich has been successfully validating the opportunities behind MS365 discovery processes and services. Adam has built a remarkable audit process for turning productivity issues into projects.

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1 min read

6 Best Practices of Top Performing vCIOs by Virtual-C

By Adam Walter on May 31, 2019

If you think technology strategy involves talking to your client about firewalls and server patching levels you are doing it wrong!

Technology is becoming a commodity. Just a few years ago you needed an engineer just to install wireless. Now anybody with a cheque book can order turnkey solutions from amazon and manage their entire technology stack from the cloud. Businesses need partners to help them compete, they don’t need to be more educated on the greatest next generation firewall.

Topics: Virtual CIO
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2 min read

Get Buy in from Executives on Required Projects

By Denes Purnhauser on May 31, 2019

 

Problem: long decision making process and postponing of urgent/important projects

When projects are vitally important or urgent but the client is hesitant, doesn't make a decision or simply ignores the facts, then they do not see the value that you do.

Your goal is to demonstrate this value, make the decision easy and instill a sense of urgency to move forward.

Because this is a crucial conversation, structured meeting tools can help to:
Use visuals to align the client with the problemGenerate a high level perspectiveMake the deliverables tangibleRationalize the decision with an ROI Calculator.

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2 min read

Bring your reports to life with embedded applications

By Myles Olson on May 31, 2019

There’s no arguing that interactive experiences are a lot more fun than just being handed a pre-canned report. The best meetings all share 1 inherent quality: They tell a story that the audience wants to participate in. Now you can structure an impressive, engaging client meeting and consolidate lots of great information in a relevant way using 3rd party applications.

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2 min read

Stop Dumping on your Clients

By Myles Olson on May 30, 2019

Today let’s investigate how to deliver incredible client experience in your meetings. But first, we have to inspect what we expect from the meeting. 

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3 min read

Smart Shoppers Won’t Buy What They Think They Already Have

By Myles Olson on May 29, 2019

There are collectors, like Jamiroquai singer Jay Kay with exotic cars, Imelda Marcos with shoes and Donald Trump with golf courses, but most of us try to economize, and don’t go shopping for something we already own.

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2 min read

Start vCIO with Quick Productized Projects

By Denes Purnhauser on Mar 2, 2017

Starting vCIO services can be a struggle not just for you and your people, but for the clients too. There are some established expectations of vCIO services, which sets a hurdle right at their kickoff of these services. There is, however, a natural way of solving this problem: use easy to sell and easy to deliver productized vCIO projects.

Of course, developing such effective and elegant solutions does take time, so we’ve set up a shortcut to start, and let you build up vCIO Project products instead. Don’t worry - this isn’t taking on new work - just solve problems you’re expected to already, but start getting paid for all you do.

Let's see seven examples of typical vCIO products:

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4 min read

Productized IT Strategy Guidance to clients and prospects

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 23, 2017

We had a great debate in our Banff Workshop about timing one’s IT Strategy correctly when meeting with new prospects. Some people were adamant the IT Strategy meeting be a requirement to even sending a proposal, while others were more inclined to implementing an IT strategy creation process after the onboarding, after we fix all the client’s technical issues. This is often the case in a workshop, when everybody was right but in conflicting ways. Let's see how to best approach this question.

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5 min read

Systematic service development process

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 17, 2017

One of the hot topics in the bootcamp was a typical MSP issue - managing client agreements. The problem gets verbalized in different ways: "I have many new services I would like to sell to existing clients" or "I have to re-onboard all of our customers because the agreement is very old" or "I want to increase our prices to reflect the improvements and additional tools we introduced" or "I barely make any money and I need to renegotiate our prices". Sound familiar? We’d like to introduce a systematic approach to solve this problem for now and the future.

 

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4 min read

My 7 Ah-ha! moments on the first MSP 2.0 boot-camp

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 9, 2017

We just finished our first ever live 3 day Managed Service Productization boot-camp in Banff, Canada. With 25 participants we worked to crack the code in scaling up the managed services. Jam-packed with real work, the workshop groups created amazing content and generated ideas that have been sparkling. I wanted to capture some of the more intriguing ideas the MSPs came up with.

I’ll be elaborating on these topics in upcoming weeks, since I see each topic as worthy of more than a blog post, but here are the main ideas. These are my personal Ah-ha! moments.

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7 min read

ROI Calculation of the Account Management role

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 2, 2017

If you’re running a successful, growing and modern MSP practice, you either have solid Account Management / Technical Account Management practice in place, or you’re still doing it ad-hoc, and plan to develop a clear structure as soon as possible. In both cases calculating the ROI of the new role is critical, as well as setting goals and realistic expectations for the employees. Check out this ROI calculation and the huge potential of proper Account Management to growing your business.

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4 min read

20% rule of vCIO pricing

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 26, 2017

Here’s a mystery you all know all too well - pricing your stand-alone vCIO services so you’re not robbing your clients nor yourself...that trepidation when you’re putting together the proposal, or trying to ballpark a figure in a meeting. It’s always been a gamble. There’s a way to find the proper middle ground, following a simple process to help you to close more deals without risking a critical over or underestimation, of your client’s expectation or your services. Here is the formula...

We just call it a 20% rule....

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4 min read

Five principles behind an engaging Quarterly Business Review process

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 12, 2017

 

In our design of the new Quarterly Business Review tool we wanted to ensure that MSPs can find business opportunities with existing clients, enhance the quality of their engagement, become a business partner and demonstrate the value they provide all at once. Achieving those multiple goals in the midst of commoditization of traditional infrastructure management services requires finding a balance among five different strategies. Let's check those success factors to make sure you deliver timely and engaging QBRs.

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4 min read

Debate on "All In" vs. "Modular" MSP pricing

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 9, 2016

The Managed Services business was created from the traditional suite of desktop management, backup, network and server support. Most MSPs now are offering various services outside the traditional managed infrastructure scope: application management, additional security or virtual CIO services. This is the evolution of managed services, and the right way, however many MSPs have just reactively added some of these services to stay relevant to their customers and protect the core MSP services. They might call themselves "your IT department." Let's check out why it’s a problem and what to do about it.

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1 min read

Packaging and Delivering Scalable vCIO Services

By Péter Torbágyi on Oct 17, 2016

 

 Carrie Simpson, Founder and CEO of Managed Sales Pros talked with Denes Purnhauser, CEO of ReframeYourClients, and shared the most common mistakes IT managed services providers make when it comes to building their vCIO offerings, and how you can increase your MRR with the correct approach.

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4 min read

Where the MSP serving software industry is going

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 2, 2016

All our accolades to the development people in the Connectwise Team and the super beta users; after three months of development we’re happy to announce the Connectwise integration is live.

I know integration is a boring subject and I don’t intend to explain the details of the features here. But the development process and the results have been prompting many to wonder where the software industry and specifically the MSP servicing software industry is going.

Ours was not just a simple data based integration. Our tool is actually running inside Connectwise with customized screens. One doesn’t even need to log in to our native tool to use all the features inside Connectwise, like execute Account Management, vCIO activities and running discovery workshops with prospects.

The question I am raising is: are we actually heading to where we have only one application that runs our MSP, and all the vendors create “modules” for that application?

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6 min read

5 false Myths of Managed Services

By Denes Purnhauser on Aug 26, 2016

As we have been talking with hundreds of Managed Services around the world we have been able to identify several common beliefs, and even myths shaping their thoughts.

The biggest problem here is that these beliefs were valid in the past. The times when the MSP model founded and spread across the world, these concepts were helping people to sell and execute services. However as the market went forward with the tectonic shift of consumerization, cloud, mobile and the overall maturity of IT, these beliefs are no longer valid.

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4 min read

Managing "unrealistic" expectations

By Denes Purnhauser on Jul 25, 2016

I just watched a hilarious 2 minute Youtube video where a comedian recounted the tale of someone righteously indignant over the atrocious inconvenience of the wi-fi breaking up during his trans-Atlantic flight. It made me ponder the trend of setting unrealistic expectations when it comes to technology. We have a short memory for problems fixed, take progress for granted and miss the chance to revel in our achievements.

Then I was thinking that perhaps this reminds you of a type of client of yours who is spoiled by all the progress and never satisfied. Who set these unrealistic expectations? How can we make sure we're not creating the problem ourselves? Check out this quick video and see what we can do to prevent it happening.

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4 min read

Three canvases for MSPs to make communication work with clients

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 20, 2016

Having been inspired by the business model canvas, we started our own IT Management Canvas almost three years ago. We’re thrilled to see how creatively people adopt the canvas with the related questionnaire and instigate vibrant client engagement. Through our development of vCIO and IT Security related assessments, the new canvases have been born. Let's check out the revision of the original IT management Canvas, the IT Security Canvas and the vCIO Canvas.

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5 min read

Terrible buying process for Managed Services

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 10, 2016


People are talking about MSP sales processes when it comes to discussion of new client acquisition. I believe we should see the process from the customer's perspective and realize that the buying process for them is terrible. Given the current typical buying process, a working future strategic relationship is becoming less and less likely. Let's take a look why the process is broken and see if we can figure a fix.

There are three major underlying issues causing this trouble:

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3 min read

Two ways to differentiate your MSP

By Denes Purnhauser on Apr 15, 2016

Two weeks ago we posted the interview with Verne Harnish, author of Mastering the Rockefeller Habits and Scaling Up! The interview has inspired many of our clients and readers to think about particular aspects of their business. I’ve personally been experimenting within two of those aspects lately, based on his thoughts: Hyper Specialization and Service Productization. I just wanted to share an update on how we’ve developed what we learned.

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4 min read

Scaling up your MSP with Verne Harnish

By Denes Purnhauser on Mar 31, 2016

We are continuing the “MSP 2.0 bestseller” series in March, as well. No question, one of my all time personal favorite books is Mastering the Rockefeller Habits from Verne Harnish. It helped me to apply the paradigm of “work on your business instead of in your business”. For many Managed Services Provider leaders this book has been a foundation to building their businesses. He’s followed this with his new book Scaling Up - Mastering the Rockefeller Habits 2.0. I had a chat with him about the required steps for Managed Services Providers to stay on top of their business and to start Scaling Up!

Verne is straight to the point, so put on your seat belts and get your notepad open, this is going to be a high-paced trip!

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1 min read

What is your pink cable?

By Denes Purnhauser on Mar 16, 2016

This is a motif that’s had some traffic in the last few weeks in several situations, coming up in conversations about differentiation, going the extra mile, remarkable service, engaging clients, building a brand and the use of stories in this business.

One of our managed services provider clients told us a story about a fashion design client in Los Angeles with fashion conscious California team members. The office is artistically designed of course, with bricks, standing desks and an open cafeteria with bar tables. Lots of nice, creative radiant people having lattés while working makes this the place where techs are making up reasons to go every day.

He had some work out there and got inspired by the environment to get expressive, so he bought pink cables instead of the boring black ones.

He was just having fun. He didn’t predict the result...

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6 min read

4 Disciplines of MSP Service Development

By Denes Purnhauser on Mar 4, 2016

  One of the most under-appreciated success factors of an MSP is its capacity to develop services. We’re the purveyors of Managed Services; there are hundreds in the repertoire of any given MSP. This keeps us busy - going from concept to a product that can be sold and delivered is a long road. While product based companies have a process for product development, we service companies too often overlook the value in this powerful business practice, where all our innovation, differentiation, profitability and growth can be formulated in advance.

The trend of fragmentation in services - into verticals, delivery tools, integrations - just multiplies the need for planned process.

The usual development process for managed services providers is to do a project - develop something that solves a problem for (and with) a specific client and standardize it later. This can lead to long term future revenue, but without a clear process mixing up service development and the real revenue generating activity of the company will not only kill our internal productivity, but likely our relationship with the client, if everything they see is always in beta testing.

Let’s identify some basics to ensure our process is better than the average and pull ahead of the competition.

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7 min read

6 strategies to make MSP services more tangible

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 26, 2016

One of the most common and largest hurdles for MSPs is difficulty expressing our value proposition properly, and hence differentiating ourselves.

There are two fundamental aspects of our industry responsible. First is the abstract nature of the proposition. The problems we solve are less tangible, like “competitive edge” or “staying ahead of the curve” rather than “keeping the lights on”. The second is the more managerial and higher level services such as solution selection, and team alignment and integration rather than executable defined processes like device management and remote monitoring. 

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4 min read

Trending Topics in the MSP 2.0 Peer groups

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 19, 2016

A few months ago we started sessions of real peer groups, to get people together to discuss real issues, problems and challenges we’re all facing and hopefully to come up with some individual plans that boost the accountability of process execution. From these I’ve compiled a list of topics that are front-of-mind among participants. I can report that the discussions dealt with the problems in a very forward looking manner, with creative solutions and not stuck in status-quo thinking. In my opinion these sessions are giving a unique insight into where the industry is going.

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2 min read

Teams vs individuals for IT management roles

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 11, 2016

Baby boomers, Gen X, Millenials: the different generations in the workplace set some challenges for IT leaders and service providers as well. Who’s best suited for the vCIO role?

I came across an illuminating infographic in the last week that discusses the different strengths and weaknesses involved in these demographics.

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