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2 min read

Power of Physical Presence

By Adam Walter on Oct 3, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/ds2OMZ8lIPQ

Let’s admit it. Those of us in IT tend to be reclusive. It’s in our nature to “avoid” seeing the customer and instead do our work at our desks - after all, it’s where are able to accomplish the most. However, let’s consider stepping away from our desks and seeing what we can accomplish when we choose to be present with our customers.

The power of physical presence is severely underestimated in the world of IT. You’re still able to get just as much work done whether you’re present with your customers or if you’re at your desk in your office - the key is to change the perspective of your to-do list.

When you’re present with your customers, you may not be closing out tasks or getting things done that are technical in nature, but you are working on one of the most vital aspects of any successful business: relationships. Speaking face-to-face with your customers allows you to establish a connection and develop your relationship, which is just as important as the technical tasks on your to-do list.

Physical presence allows for engagement. Sometimes, engaging with your clients is as easy as popping your head into their office to say “hello.” When both you and your client are able to match a face to the voice you and they have become familiar with, the relationship becomes even stronger. Your client is able to humanize you, and you become much more to them than their vendor.

When you feel like more than just a vendor to your client, their trust in you grows significantly. Trust will increase your client’s tolerance, specifically for those inevitable mistakes that will happen. No matter how much you avoid it, mistakes will occur, and when they do, you’re going to want to have a strong relationship there to catch you when you fall.

The power of physical presence is also applied to colleagues that you may only know virtually. When you are present with your colleagues, you get to know their mannerisms and learn about what makes them happy, what makes them upset, etc. There may be times when they’re having a bad day and struggling to adequately complete their tasks. When you have a connection established with your colleague, you’ll recognize that they’re not an incompetent employee, but rather trying to get back into their working element. The takeaway here? When you’re present with your colleagues or clients, it offers the opportunity for empathy to exist in your relationship.

Don’t stress yourself out trying to physically be everywhere that your clients and colleagues are at all times; they don’t expect these physical engagements to occur often, and you shouldn’t, either. However, make sure that you are setting aside time once in a while to be present with the people you work with so that your relationship with them is based on something stronger than the occasional email.

Speaking of physical presence, we would love to have yours at IT Nation Connect 2022 on Wednesday, November 9, when Humanize IT competes in the PitchIT competition for a grand prize of $70,000. I have been communicating with so many of you for years, and look forward to the opportunity to finally shake your hands!

Topics: vCIO QBR Quarterly Business Review Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Power of Collaboration

By Adam Walter on Sep 26, 2022

We’re all passionate about something. At Humanize IT, our passion is helping MSPs have better conversations - not presentations - with their clients. Imagine how much better an individual’s passion for something could be if they collaborated on it with others.

Collaboration is key to discovering new ideas, improving concepts, and bettering discussion. You have to remember that you’re not the only intelligent person in the room. When you are willing to collaborate with other smart individuals in the same room as you, you are able to create an even better product than if you were to attempt it on your own. If you were to decide to take the venture alone, you would be left with only your own ideas; we don’t even want to think about all of the value lost if you chose to not receive input from others.

Humanize IT frequently invites experts from various areas to join the podcast as guest speakers. From cyber security pros to published authors, we’ve seen many types of talents come onto the podcast and share their knowledge. Every single time, it produces a valuable discussion where both sides share their experiences, knowledge, questions, answers, and ideas.

MSPs (and other types of businesses) should prioritize collaboration when meeting with their customers. Have you ever left a client meeting feeling really great about the outcome? It was likely because you and the other individuals were truly collaborating and working together in the conversation. When ideas and opinions from both sides are shared, you’re always able to do more.

Collaborative conversations can also turn into a debate. So long as it doesn’t result in an argument, this isn’t a bad thing. A debate is typically a sign that both sides are heavily weighing the facts and putting their heads together to come up with answers. A collaborative conversation should also have a leader. The leader isn’t there to “be in charge” but rather to ensure that everyone in the room is truly being heard. Think of them as the judge of a tennis match; they are watching two sides go back and forth and ensuring the conversation stays “in bounds,” or within the scope of the topic.

Activity is important to producing a fruitful discussion. Does your team spend meetings scrolling through their phones or picking at their coffee cup? If so, you’re not going to have a good discussion because there is a serious lack of engagement. Engagement is key to collaboration.

In order to get your team to be engaged in the conversation, you, as the leader, must make them feel valued. Simply telling them “Thanks for coming to this meeting, I really value your time!” is not going to do the trick. Instead, make eye contact with them and ask them for their opinion on the topic. For example, if your CFO has not offered their input, try asking aloud what the estimated financial impact will be on the project that is being discussed. This is an easy way to give them a cue and invite them to join the conversation.

When you are looking for the outcast in the room who isn’t contributing to the conversation, consider that they may be someone who isn’t comfortable speaking in front of others, especially if it’s a larger group. Try pulling them aside after the meeting so they can speak to you one-on-one and offer their ideas in a setting that may put them at ease.

All collaboration will be unique depending on the people involved, the topic being discussed, and the knowledge and ideas being laid out on the table. You’ll know you’re on the right track when you are humanizing the conversation so that will be able to relate to each other once again.

Topics: vCIO QBR Quarterly Business Review Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Stop Wasting Words: Part 2

By Adam Walter on Sep 19, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/LneGDVsfipY

Last week, we introduced the concept of “wasting words” and discussed the ways that people are being wasteful with their language. This week, author Sean Mahar joins us again to address how people can have better conversations and stop wasting their words.

You’ve explained the idea of wasting words to your employees, but how do you actually change their mindset about conversations? It can be difficult to adjust your conversation tactics so that you are talking with people rather than at people. Instead of talking at people, try to accomplish something with your conversation. This is your opportunity to make a difference.

For example, your goal should not be to simply compliment someone - it should be to make them feel good. Rather than delegating something to a colleague, your goal should be to encourage them to actually get the task done. Instead of giving feedback to your employee, the idea should be to help them to become better next year.

It’s also a challenge to ensure that the information is actually received - not just delivered. We have been trained to believe that if the person we are speaking to is able to repeat back to us the information we just shared, then that means the message got through to them. This is not the case, as it’s easy for someone to repeat back exactly what they just heard. To confirm that the message itself actually got through to the person you are speaking with, try asking them to repeat the information back to you in their own words. If they’re able to accurately restate the message - perhaps with words that have more meaning to them - then you know that your words were absorbed by them.

Another way of ensuring that your message is received is by being selective about the questions you ask. Rather than asking questions that can be answered with “yes” or “no” - for example, “Do you understand?” - ask a question that forces the person to respond in their own words. “What is the actionable item?” is used often around here.

The more conscious you become of your own communication processes, the more successful you will be in every aspect of life. You can start by looking at the way you treat people and your conversations with them. Strong communication will result in you being able to do an action based on what they said (or vice versa). Ultimately, this will help you sell more for your business, enjoy talking to your clients, and feel happier when walking into meetings or appointments that you may have otherwise dreaded.

When we make those important connections and build up strong relationships by being more conscious about our communication style, we can feel more confident in our conversations. Next time you have a conversation with someone new, ask yourself at the end what you have learned about them. What do you know about them? How can you get on the same page as them? If you are able to answer these questions, you’re on the right track to better communication. Changing your conversations is key to your business.

A technician can spend all day changing their process to be better at their job, but they’re ultimately just chasing pennies. Learn to be a better, genuine communicator to chase the real relationships that lead to huge success.

Topics: Strategic Leadership Client Success Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Stop Wasting Words: Part-1

By Adam Walter on Sep 12, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/rlKx8_Toa4k

This week, author Sean Mahar joins us to discuss the concept of his book, Stop Wasting Words: Leading Through Conscious Communication. What does it mean to waste one’s words, and what are people doing (or perhaps saying) to make their words wasteful?

If the idea of wasting your words is hard to grasp, try thinking of your words as your time. You surely wouldn’t be wasteful with precious time, and your words are no different. If a loved one were reaching their final moments, would you spend this time with them chattering about trivial and unimportant matters? Absolutely not! You would pour out words that are meaningful and touching. Doing this is important in far more life aspects than simply when it’s time to say goodbye to a loved one. Being intentional about using meaningful words has an effect on your relationships - both personal and professional - as well as your success.

There are words that accomplish things and there are words that can prolong or diminish success. In order to ensure we are using words that accomplish things, we must be using the right words and terminology in the correct settings. When you are meeting with a client, are you using words that matter to you or words that matter to them?

This results in the challenge of figuring out what words are meaningful to the person you are having the conversation with. Meanings of words are assigned by the receiver of the conversation - not the sender. In order to figure out what words will work for the receiver, you must abandon the meanings that you, the sender, hold to those words.

Let’s look at the word ‘table.’ You mention to someone that your table has a few weak spots. The person receiving your words may assign a different meaning to the word ‘table’ than what you intended. Is it a dining table? Chess table? Poker table? Pool table? Does it seat four, six, or eight people? Does it have chairs or specific accessories? They may even think of a completely different type of table, such as an SQL table. The person is now trying to nail down what exactly you mean by the word ‘table.’ As a result, you can’t accuse the receiver of misinterpreting your words. You can only blame yourself for not having found the best words to work with.

Words are also wasted when the sender does not attach any meaning to them, either. Take this situation as an example: A leader of a company schedules a meeting for employees to come together and share their thoughts about a certain issue. This meeting eventually became a “word throwing competition” where everyone showed up to simply throw their words out there, and no one was there to catch (receive) these words. At the end of the meeting, no one truly heard anyone else’s words, because no one was using their words as a way to get something done.

When we look at words as ways to tell people what to do, explain things, or give praise, we tend to throw some words out there and hope for the best. However, when we view words as a tool to accomplish something for someone - for example, you want to make them feel good about something - words are better received and understood. This often requires the prerequisite of learning about the person you are having the conversation with, such as their traits and preferences.

Next week, we will dive into how to have these better conversations and how to relate to people by no longer wasting your words.

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers Humanize Podcast
3 min read

It’s the Little Things

By Adam Walter on Sep 6, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/I_RZo9MXaBQ

As an MSP, you’re going to have moments when you mess up. There will be times when you forget a project or miss a deadline. Have you built up enough goodwill with your clients that in these instances, they’re going to tell you that it’s okay?

Let’s paint the picture using chips. Your client has a bag that, anytime you do something nice for them or perform a favor, a chip gets placed in the bag. Eventually, you’re going to withdraw chips from that bag when you need a favor of your own - but what happens when there are no chips in that bag? Well, the bag is likely to be thrown at you.

There are some people that are constantly doing nice things for other people, though they never spend the chips they earn by asking for favors of their own. They’ve built their business and are unaware of how to ask for help due to being too independent. It’s important to not only collect chips, but to spend them, as well. You must have a flow of exchange in order to develop a mature and productive relationship with your client.

This is where the little things come into play.

To build this relationship with your client, you have to remember the little things. For example, if your client has a sticky mouse, replacing it with a new one may mean more to them than the hours upon hours you spent replacing their entire server farm. Though the server farm was a much more difficult project and far more beneficial for the business as a whole, the replacement of the mouse is something that they will think about every time they sit at their desk and use it. Your client will remember this little thing you did for them that left a big impact on their daily work routine, and it will leave a lasting impression.

Sometimes, the little things might not make sense to you. You might not understand what these little things mean to your client or even appreciate the value they place on them. Though it seems minor to you, it is a big, meaningful deal to your client.

Your knowledge as an engineer can also help you place importance on the little things. You know about thousands and thousands of different technologies. Which one of those technologies would make the biggest impact on your client? They could be curious about NFTs, the VR world, inventory management, fleet management…the list goes on of various technologies that would change your client’s world if you shared your knowledge with them. Let’s take, for example, product release dates. You have these launch dates memorized, but your client doesn’t. They mention that they want to purchase an iPad, and you inform them that they should hold off until October when Apple releases the newest version of the iPad. The cost of older generations will go down, and your client will be able to save some money on a new iPad. This little piece of advice means the world to them, and by proving that you are listening and you want to help them out for the better, it will take your relationship to the next level.

You also don’t want to make assumptions. Perhaps your client is someone who wants the newest, greatest product out there. They’re not going to want to be advised to wait until October to buy an older generation after it’s discounted; they’re going to want to be told to wait until October when the newest iPad is launched, so that they can have the most current product in their hands.

Try thinking of things in your own life. Someone cleans your entire home - except the kitchen. When you come home, the huge mess in the kitchen is the first thing you see, and it immediately upsets you. The same can be said for your clients. There are things that they care about - that may be little to you - that, if not done, will upset them no matter what other work you complete. This is why it’s important to get to know your client and learn what these little things are. It may even be something as simple as vacuuming when you’ve finished your work.

Something may happen that causes you to drop the ball on a client’s project. If you have a strong relationship with your client already built, then they’re more likely to forgive the mistake - in other words, take a chip out of the bag. On the contrary, if you have a client that you know would be incredibly displeased with this mistake, it’s an indicator that you have a relationship that needs some work, and it all starts with the little things.

This is a good time of year to talk about the little things. As we near the end of Q3, businesses are discussing budget planning, year-end projects, and strategic focus. Make sure you have a good relationship with your clients to really close out Q4 strong with the bigger things that you need to be tackling. If you’re short on the little things, then the bigger things are going to be hard.

Replacing your client’s sticky mouse can be a bigger chip in the bag than the 16-hour project. It may not be something you care about, but the little things that your client cares about are the little things that matter.

Topics: IT Account Management Disruptive MSP Technical Account Manager
2 min read

Automated Pentesting and Profit: Part 2

By Adam Walter on Aug 29, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/G_2sh57fqAk

Last week, we discussed pentesting and why it’s important. This week, we are going to dive into how MSPs can utilize automated pentesting to generate higher profit margins.

Pentests have never been so accessible in terms of a price point and turnaround times, making it a valuable tool to add to your security tech stack as an MSP. However, you’re already as busy as it is - despite the revenue that an automated pentest can generate, you just don’t have the time to implement it into your offerings.

This is where a third-party consulting firm comes into the picture. They will advance your security stack to include pentesting, which ultimately attracts businesses who are interested in improving their uptime.

Some MSPs use automated pentesting as a prospecting tool. They’ll reach out to clients and emphasize their ability to do what others can’t in order to ensure that the client’s tech stack is secure. When a business knows that their tech stack is secure, they can end the day without worry of a vulnerability attacking and shutting down their system for a period of time - thus ensuring consistent business uptime.

Value is found not only in this assurance, but also when the results of the pentest show vulnerabilities within the system. Unlike a vulnerability assessment that shows simply the “red flags” of your system, the pentest will demonstrate the risks your business faces if those vulnerabilities are not remediated. Business owners should not only be aware of exploits within their system, but know the risk that comes with them.

Thankfully, risk is something that your client will already understand. They don’t have to understand all of the language that is behind the risk a vulnerability places on the system - they just know that it’s dangerous and is something to take seriously. This is why a pentest offers so much more value to the client than a vulnerability assessment. A vulnerability assessment focuses more on the security of the system - something that your client may not have a good understanding of - whereas the pentest paints a clear picture of the risk a business is facing.

We have reached a point with technology and networks that it’s not the question of “if,” it’s the question of “when.” Hackers are everywhere, and it’s crucial to stay ahead by ensuring that your system is protected. With automated pentests now available, businesses can be aware of any risks their system faces and take care of exploits before they become a critical issue.

Topics: Disruptive MSP Implement New IT Services IT Security
2 min read

Automated Pentesting and Profit: Part 1

By Adam Walter on Aug 22, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube:https://youtu.be/Qf2gw5yLsp4


Vulnerability assessments and penetration testing - more commonly known as pen testing - play a huge role in cyber security, something that is more important than ever. According to a report by Dark Reading, businesses suffered a 50% increase in cyberattack attempts per week in 2021. This huge increase should alert all business owners to ensure their networks are adequately protected.

To more efficiently help business owners do just that, there have been some drastic changes in the world of vulnerability assessments and pen testing. Here are some of those key changes, and why you should care.

To start, let’s talk about the difference between a vulnerability assessment and a pen test. A vulnerability assessment is geared towards fighting issues on the surface level by identifying the vulnerabilities within a system. For example, imagine the vulnerability assessment is trying to go through your front door. It can report back to you that it’s unlocked, as well as all the things that could potentially happen if a vulnerability were to walk in. Sure, it may be good to know that your door is unlocked - but if a vulnerability entered, how does this impact your system?

This is where the pen test enters. A pen test evaluates the security of the system by mimicking a cyberattack; it takes the vulnerability assessment several steps further by showing you what a vulnerability would be able to access if it were to be present. Not only are you made aware of the vulnerabilities that exist, but the pen test demonstrates impact. What would happen if somebody were to actually export this vulnerability? Do they gain access to sensitive data? Could it transition into ransomware? Are other vulnerabilities able to be accessed?

Pen testing requires logic, which means that it often takes multiple weeks to have a completed report. It includes figuring out IP addresses, gaining access, and writing the reports. However, automated pen testing is possible - and it produces the same accurate results as a manual report in a fraction of the time.

Automated pen tests have recently been introduced into the cyber security world and have changed how businesses approach this important task. Automating a pen test is similar to automating a mindset. A pen test makes many decisions and commands and interprets the output. It is essentially a huge logic tree that continues to grow. Because it is automated, programmers are then able to spend more of their time in security research and focus on targeting new vulnerabilities that come out in the export.

The ultimate goal of a pen test is to prepare the information of the export to be easily digested by a business person. It involves cool technology, but it ultimately exists to protect clients and businesses, and must be created to make sense to them. Not only does a pen test help them to understand the vulnerabilities, but it increases the perceived value of exploit remediation.

When you onboard a new client and sign the contract, they count on you for protection. A pen test is a reliable method of ensuring security, ultimately building trust between you and the client.

Topics: vCIO Win New Clients IT Security
2 min read

Rebranding Humanize IT

By Adam Walter on Aug 15, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/9txxCMMaUg4

Humanize IT - The new face of Managed Services Platform

The landscape of your business will continue to shift and change throughout the years. You may find that the vision and mission you started with have morphed into something new. Any successful company knows that its business is constantly evolving. Change is to be expected.

In 2013, Managed Services Platform set out to deliver client success by creating a platform to empower operations through personal connections. Four years later, we partnered with Virtual C with the mission to help young companies navigate the sometimes tumultuous seas of running a business. Yes, there have been changes, but one aspect of our journey has remained consistent - humanizing the IT experience. Humanize IT.

When you meet with a client, your goal is not to burden them with a list of your services. Your goal should be to make a lasting impression. By connecting with clients on a personal level, customers will remember more than the services you provide. They remember you. Humanize IT believes in conversations, not presentations.

Our message and mission are clear in this next phase of metamorphosis. Humanize IT puts an emphasis on the human element, building to strengthen the connections we make in business. As an MSP, knowing the ins and outs of your client's industry is not your job. What is important is that you take the time to understand the goals they strive for and how you help them achieve success. This understanding doesn’t come from a spreadsheet, document or presentation. It comes from taking the time to build personal relationships and aligning your vision with those of your customers. It allows you both to get excited about your industries and sets a clear path for guidance. When your clients see your passion, they know that you’re invested. They understand the value you bring to the table and that your success depends on theirs. You’re not a vendor or a hired hand. You’re a partner.

Humanize IT is pointing the spotlight back at the customer and building relationships that can last decades. In the IT world, we often think of ourselves as fixers, not salespeople or HR representatives. But human connection is vital when setting yourself apart from the competition and leading your team to greater heights. Focus your time and energy on changing the IT industry's narrative. Humanize IT recognizes that all people are different. As a result, all businesses, even those in the same industry, are different. We understand that the pathway to nurturing a professional relationship is not a static plan. Approach and strategy have to shift depending on the customer. Just as you are required to be flexible with your clients, Humanize IT tailors our coaching to help you along the way.

Human - it’s a small word that carries a lot of weight. It’s what we are and connects us to one another. By acknowledging the human element in business, Humanize IT provides the tools and resources to turn technical presentations into meaningful experiences.

To find out more about Humanize IT, please visit humanizeit.biz.

Topics: Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Dimes, Dollars and Profit

By Adam Walter on Aug 8, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/fjYb1uKnNNQ

Dimes, dollars and profit. Put away every dime you make and save it for the future. It’s an idea we’ve all heard and are eager to follow because it usually makes more sense to save every penny. But the truth is that stashing money away will never lead to making a profit. You’ll start making money when you prioritize where to spend your time, making human connections and even where to spend your money.

In the corporate world, it’s not unusual to find oneself doing nothing and still making money. But as MSPs, we don’t have that luxury. We have to keep things moving, provide solutions for our clients and, most importantly, have conversations.

We’ve all found ourselves in those meetings - the kind that can last for hours and take up huge portions of the day. Meetings are important. It allows us to sit down and hammer out all the kinks that may be holding us up and plan for the future. But if these happen too frequently, you’re spending money paying your employees to sit in, they’re losing out on the time where they could be helping your clients and you are losing opportunities for more client engagement. Again, meetings have their place and purpose. However, it is imperative that you prioritize topics of discussion to ensure that you’re spending your time and money wisely.

Sales are important. It’s what keeps your business growing and makes your money. But when you walk into a meeting with a potential client, you’re not just selling your product or services. You’re selling your story, listening to theirs, and aligning them so that you can both be excited about your venture together. Make your client engagement memorable. Get to know them. Take them to dinner at their favorite restaurant for your next quarterly meeting. Host an event where your new and existing clients can get together and have fun! Customers are more likely to do business with you if you have taken the time to engage with them. When they know you understand their mission and are passionate about the value you bring to their success, you can continue cultivating a lasting relationship, even if your competitors have lower prices.

In the tech world, we tend to be service driven. We have a task or goal and work to get the job done. We focus on the operations and forget about the human element that drives people to want to do business with us. Balance operations and the time you take to engage with customers and staff. The personal touch is guaranteed profit. Your staff feels heard and valued and your clients know that you are invested in their mission. Make sure you are someone that you would do business with, someone you want to work for.

Turn your dimes to dollars and start making a profit! Human engagement with both your clients and your staff will drive up your revenue and make your work enjoyable for everyone involved.
yone involved. 

Topics: IT Sales Person MSP Pricing IT Business Development Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Gap analysis for profit

By Adam Walter on Aug 1, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/jSRDaSpEdBw

When reviewing a gap analysis with a client, we often come off as the person on a terrible first date. Instead of conversing with our clients, we sit down and point out all the wrong or missing things. No one wants a date like that, and your clients are no exception.

A poor approach to gap analysis can hurt your business and the relationship you are trying to build with your customers. Of course, you need to do a gap analysis for your clients. It’s part of what helps you understand the goals of their business and how you can help. However, if you can’t align your findings with the needs and values of your client, you’ll find yourself getting nowhere. When approaching your client with your analysis, it’s not your thorough, super detailed report that will catch their attention. It’s understanding your client and the value you bring to the table. When your clients come to the same understanding, you stop becoming a nag with the same repetitive concerns. You become a partner and an asset.

Talk to your clients about their business. Make it a point to understand what aspects of your gap analysis are most valuable to their operation. You may have a lengthy list of items that need to be addressed, but not all of them are things your client will care about. Let them know how your gap analysis helps them run their organization and generate profit. When you take the time and effort to have a conversation with your customers, you start to build trust, which will, in turn, open up more opportunities for you!

There will be gaps that your clients will not understand. This is not a foreign concept to those of us in the IT world. We have language and lingo that a layperson does not use. While this can be a challenge, you should take this as an opportunity to showcase what you have learned about their business and how your gap analysis pertains to their success. Educate them as to why your services are needed. Prioritize the things that are most important to them. This is not you being a salesperson. It allows for a customer-led strategy! Your customers have the chance to do the work for you by prioritizing what risks need the most attention. Then let them know what future steps you can take to improve things in the future. It’s a win-win scenario!

Remember, you do not know every gap in your customer’s portfolio. When a client seeks your services, you are often given a small window of insight that usually only pertains to IT. Make an effort to build rapport. It will help you prioritize the gaps that need the most attention, and your client will start to trust you to make decisions. Again, this allows you more opportunities to expand your services and build a business relationship that can last decades.

Gap analysis doesn’t have to be boring and repetitive. Use it as a tool to strengthen your business relationships and turn them into a profit!

Topics: Demand Generation for IT Companies Technical Account Manager IT Security
2 min read

Right Person, Right Seat

By Adam Walter on Jul 25, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/wJKWn98LKWs

So, you’ve started a company. Great! Now the hard part; finding people to run it. Many companies look at their employees as nothing more than bodies in a seat. Once a seat is empty, they’ll look for anyone to replace it. But running a company is more than just ensuring that seats are filled. Your company’s mission statement and culture not only tell your story, it tells your employees who you are, what you value and how they are a part of your vision. It’s important that you hire people who possess more than just the skills or education needed to do their job. Find people who care!

Establishing the culture of your company is crucial in hiring the right people. Many individuals may have all the qualifications to fill a needed position. But if they’re not a good fit for your company culture, hiring them will only hurt them and your company. When you talk to potential new hires, make sure you make your company culture clear. How do you operate? What do you value? How do your employees and executives interact and communicate? Pay attention to a candidate’s approach and demeanor. They're not the right fit if they don’t align with your company culture.

Your mission statement needs to be clear and unique. Find your “it.” How does your “it” make you the best at what you do? Mediocre and generic mission statements make for mediocre and generic passion from your staff. Live that mission statement every day with enthusiasm. Attitude is like a wildfire. It spreads to everyone, including new employees. When your staff talks to their peers about your “it,” they attract people who clearly understand the kind of company you are and how they can fit in. You’re attracting new candidates who share your values.

As your company grows, your staff may have to adjust. The roles and responsibilities that once marked their performance will shift. It is essential to talk to your team about the changes. This may lead to some uncomfortable conversations, and some people may choose to leave. It may cause you to be short staffed for a while. However, the last thing you want is to fall into the proverbial, shoving a square peg in a round hole. Allow your employees to excel in work that they enjoy. Forcing them into a position they don’t want will only cause for an unhappy work environment. Your staff will lose their passion and leave you to pick up the pieces.

Major corporations will always be a threat to your small business. Right now, everyone is feeling the strain of employee shortages. Make no mistake; those corporations will be happy to poach your staff. They’ll offer more money and benefits that you may not be able to match. But you still have an ace up your sleeve - you’re a small business. When an employee is offered a position from these big companies, take this as an opportunity to talk to them about your unique benefits. Small companies don’t treat staff like an unrecognizable cogs in a big machine. They value their employees. Often, you know them as a person. You know their families, what makes them laugh, what makes them tick. No big corporation can compete with that! People are more apt to stay in a company they love, not the one that pays the most.

Right seat, right person - it’s more than placing a warm body to fill a position. It’s finding people who share your vision and are excited about the role they play in your success. Your team is ready! The roster is yours to create.

Topics: IT Management CIO
2 min read

How to Get Out of Firefighting Mode

By Adam Walter on Jul 18, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/bSQaRC-aT0s

“The cobbler’s children have no shoes.”

We’ve all heard that ironic story of how a cobbler was so busy making shoes for other people that they forgot to make shoes for their own children. Sadly, the same can be said for those of us in the tech industry. We are so busy putting out fires for our clients that we forget to look around and notice that our business is in flames.

Sometimes it can feel like your entire day is spent putting out fires. You hop from one spot to another, fixing bugs that seem to arise minute to minute. Of course, you want to ensure that all problems are addressed. But constant firefighting can negatively impact your work quality and the work-life balance of you and your staff.

There are a couple of things that you can do to get out of firefighting mode. The first may come off as a bit of a shock or an unpopular opinion; drop a ball. As a business owner, it is your natural instinct to want to be all things for all people. Unfortunately, in doing so, you often end up pleasing no one. When you find yourself juggling too many tasks at once, it may be time to re-evaluate which one of the balls you can stand to drop. Take a look at your ROI. Do a risk analysis on yourself! How much will you lose if you continue to produce substandard work because you are busy fixing everyday problems? How much will you lose if you drop a particularly needy client to focus on others? Be open with your clients. Tell them there may be jobs put on hold or delayed, and explain why. Explain how fixing one big problem and holding off on small ones will benefit them in the long run. Clients are far more likely to be understanding when they are forewarned.

If you want to get out of firefighting mode and get into focusing on projects, this requires foresight and planning. Learn to fix problems before they arise. Evaluate what issues come up most often and why. Talk to your staff and executives. Discover which conflicts they frequently encounter and how it affects your overall business. Make it fun! Sit down at a table with a box of donuts and sodas and present them with hypothetical scenarios and problems. How would they solve them? What can they do to ensure that problems don’t happen again? Pay attention and share pertinent information with your clients. It may open up more opportunities to expand your services and pull in additional revenue.

Time management seems like a no-brainer when it comes to avoiding firefighting mode. However, we often plan our tasks down to the last minute. Make sure you allow yourself some extra time for… nothing. Problems are sure to arise, problems that will push back on pressing matters at hand. When you allot for some “nothing time,” you’ve given yourself a window to fix all the little issues that have arisen during the week without impacting more significant projects.

Firefighting all those little issues can be exhausting. Don’t let yourself get inundated with tiny flames and lose sight of the bigger picture. Prioritize, plan ahead and give yourself the gift of time. Those little fires can be snuffed out before they become an inferno!

Topics: Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Why Tech Companies Suck at Risk Analysis

By Adam Walter on Jul 11, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/7uIOwxWU_HU

In the tech world, we tend to focus on the tasks that directly correlate to our work. But if we only focus on things like fixing firewalls and cybersecurity without understanding our clients - that is what makes tech companies suck at risk analysis.

That is not to say that what we do is unimportant. Our clients would not have hired us if they did not need our services. What is important is that we understand that to our clients, there is a difference between technical risk and business risk.

It is only natural that tech companies focus on technical risk. It’s what we do! But, you must remember that business risk will always outweigh technical risk to your client. Make it a point to talk to your customers. Understand what they see as risks and threats to their company, and then align your services with their needs. For example, if you have a client that runs a dog kennel, their main concern is the health and safety of the animals. If you only talk to them about everything you have done to improve their cybersecurity, your words will fall on deaf ears. But, if you can explain to them how improvement to their cybersecurity helps oversee all dogs that they are caring for and allows owners to safely access live streams of their pets from work, you have proven how your goals match those of your customers. Now your client has more features to sell to their customers, and you have opened the door for your business to provide additional services to build an ongoing relationship.

Aligning technical risk with business risk benefits you and your customers by providing a clear path to success. It helps your clients prioritize the factors that threaten their business and enables you to understand how your services help them meet their goals. Use this as a foundation to expand your business.

Business Risk x Technical Risk = Opportunity

When your client understands how the risks and threats to their business can be resolved by addressing technical issues, it allows you to cultivate your business relationship and the opportunity to offer additional services. In turn, it is your responsibility to ensure that you understand your customers. Focus on what your clients care about and what is most important to them. Learn how to identify the problems they face and then mitigate them to how IT can help prevent problems from happening. This strengthens the trust your clients have in you, provides direction for you and your client and creates a base on which you can expand your services.

Tech companies don’t have to suck at risk analysis. We just need to listen and understand how our work impacts client businesses and reduces the threats they face. Building client rapport is more than just doing a good job. Remember, we have conversations, not presentations! Take the time to understand what they value. Turn your risk analysis from sucking to spectacular!

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Management IT Security
2 min read

PitchIT Volume 2

By Adam Walter on Jul 5, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/xK0KEi-AKD8

Welcome to the second part of PitchIT with Sean Lardo of ConnectWise! We’re diving deeper into our IT world and how to provide your service to clients.

For those of us who work in IT, we know that our industry is ever-changing and growing. However, the growth that we’ve seen over the last few years has been exponential. When Covid hit, our services had adapt and expand in ways we did not anticipate. People had to stay home and run their businesses while out of the office. Innovation wasn’t what we wanted. It was what we needed!

Serving our MSPs is, of course, always at the forefront of our work. But how do we ensure they have the resources and understanding needed to do their jobs? The answer is simple, and ConnectWise has broken it down into 3 promises they make to their clients.

Be easy to work with
Invest in partner growth
Bring more innovations faster

Being easy to work with sounds simple, but it’s more than being friendly and showing up with a smile. You need to know your clients’ needs and develop solutions they can understand. Your clients deserve to know your company’s value and how it betters them. When people think of IT, their first thought is cybersecurity. But MSPs work with everyone from mechanics to bakeries by providing services from HR automation to accounting. Understanding what your clients want and need makes it easier for everyone to achieve their goals. Make it a point to know your clients and be personable! Ask them about their weekend. How’s the family? Let them know you care and are genuinely invested.

Investing in partner growth helps your client achieve their goals and keeps ongoing business by building stronger relationships with your customers. At MSPL, we believe in conversations, not presentations. Before meeting with a client, send them an agenda with your understanding of their needs, how you can address them, and how to move forward in the future. It tells your clients you are listening, invested, and have a firm grasp of their goals. Don’t use your PowerPoint or slides as the basis of your meeting. Use it to keep the conversation on track and address the topics that need to be discussed. An hour-long conversation should only require 20 minutes of slide show presentation. Tailor your conversations to your clients. Showcase your understanding of their needs, that you’re invested and how you can be of service.

Your clients want results, and they want them now! When you talk to your customers, you’re telling a story. Let them know how far they’ve come, where they are now and what the future holds. Each conversation needs to be better than the last. It allows your client to see how quickly you’ve improved their organization, where they are now, and the potential yet to come. Know your vertical, your space, and own it! New IT companies sometimes get into the pitfall of, “We can do anything!” but that’s not necessarily true. Sometimes a request goes beyond the scope of your abilities, and that’s OK. Be honest with your clients and help them find another venue to fulfill their needs, even if that means sending them to your competition. It shows the clients that you care and want to get them the best results as soon as possible.

Serving clients is the primary goal of any business, IT or otherwise. By being easy to work with, investing in partner growth and bringing more innovations faster, you are setting yourself and your customers up for success!

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Account Management QBR
2 min read

PitchIT Volume 1

By Adam Walter on Jun 27, 2022

Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/cZnUQXv1mPw

Get ready to share your innovation with the world. Whether your solution solves a need in IT, finance, business operations or sales, it is up to you to make sure that your business has the resources and structure for you, your colleagues and your clients to get the job done.

This week we have a great guest speaker, Sean Lardo of ConnectWise. With so much ground to cover, we have a two-part podcast coming your way!

So many of us have found ourselves in a time when we did not have the right processes or technologies to simplify workloads and make scaleable business models. When this happens, everyone suffers. We may not always have the answers or solutions to ensure that these processes are in place. Sometimes, the right answer is, “I don’t know.” Take this opportunity to learn, make connections in your industry and get excited about the possibilities on the horizon. Teach this to your colleagues and employees. They may not have all the knowledge, but encourage them to ask questions. Take the time to educate them about your industry and get them excited about your mission and the work you do. When people are passionate about your vision, they become a sponge to soak up knowledge! Talk to people in a language they can understand. Not everyone knows the lingo or work of your industry. Get on their level, and they’ll rise to the occasion.

We focus on conversations, not presentations. Sure, a presentation can be helpful and informative. But how do people really connect and retain what they’ve learned? How many relationships have you built solely on a slide show? Probably none. That’s why it is so important to add that personal touch by taking the time to talk with people. Open communication and conversations with your clients and colleagues make you a better leader and innovator. There’s a lot of passion in building relationships. Bring that passion to your team and your business!

When bringing your vision to fruition, it can feel a bit overwhelming. There are a lot of things to think about because we all know that a well-laid plan means nothing if you don’t have or provide the tools to execute your ideas. For example, if you’ve created the best firewall that’s ever been made, it will not go anywhere without a great sales team to bring in new clients and a crew of staff to keep your operations running smoothly. Sometimes looking at the big picture is not the best idea. So many things to do. So little time to do it. One of the best ways to deal with a huge undertaking is to take a note from the great Sherlock Holmes - keep a clean attic. Clear your head, cut out the unnecessary noise of information and make room in your brain for the context that helps you connect the dots and build. Remember, there’s success to be had when you are the architect with a vision instead of a micromanager who loses sight.

Enjoy the ride! The world is ready and eager for your innovation.

Topics: vCIO Business Building for IT Companies MSP
2 min read

The evolution of Entertainment

By Adam Walter on Jun 20, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/f3VfzE4CSW4

Entertainment and business - do the two of them go hand in hand? Absolutely! This week, we will talk about the entertainment industry and how to apply it to your business.

It is easy to fall into the old idea that the streams of work and play should never cross. But that is not necessarily true. If you think about it, our society is driven by entertainment. For you to be successful, you have to pay attention to what is going on in the entertainment industry.

When you are at work, what tools do you usually utilize? Do you use messaging platforms like Slack or Discord? Do you host virtual meetings with your clients or staff? You can thank the gaming industry for that. Think back to the 90s and early 2000s. Games went from platform leaping side scrolls to remote play. Suddenly, we were able to play games and connect with people all over the world. Next came VR. Now you can share virtual worlds, games and sports with people from the comfort of your own home. Whole companies and businesses have been created using what they learned from gaming messaging platforms and applied it to develop tools that organizations of every kind use on a daily basis.

Need more evidence? Look at crypto-currency. It’s not something you can put in the wallet or purse, but it’s definitely got value! They have turned graphic cards into something that is more than just something cool to look at. It’s an actual form of currency.

Our world is always changing. What engages people, what pulls people in - like it or not, it has to be entertaining. If you want people to lean into your message, they have to enjoy it. This means you have to pay attention to the ongoing trends. Check out the latest YouTube videos or what’s trending on social media. What are people tuning into? What are they watching? What online games are popular? Why? Now, put yourself in your clients’ shoes, answer those questions and help them implement plans to push the envelope and keep them fresh. The same goes for you and your business strategy. Keep up with the times and keep your audience entertained! Your impact will be much stronger when people have fun.

So, how does the formula to success in entertainment match a business model? The answer is simple: When demand increases, so does the value. When the value increases, there’s money to be made! Learn what makes a business tick. Whether it’s you, a client or MSP, it’s up to you to keep things moving. Success is essentially a gaming model. You start on level one, master it and then move on to the next level. It’s up to you to ensure that each level is mastered before moving on to the next.


Now, that’s not to say that everything “old” is obsolete. There’s a whole market for people who still listen to music on cassette or records for the “right” sound. But trends come back! When you know what is happening and what is driving people to engage and tune in, it helps you understand what people value.

Entertainment is successful because it is constantly evolving. It tries something new, releases it to the public and tests the waters. It may not always work, but when it does it can lead to big wins. Businesses do the same thing and like entertainment, they have to change in order to stay relevant. Switch on, power up and be entertaining!

Topics: Managed Services Providers Business Building for IT Companies Implement New IT Services
2 min read

Fix your Webinars

By Adam Walter on Jun 13, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube:

Topics: IT Sales Person Marketing for IT Companies Win New Clients
2 min read

Opportunity Preparation and Failure

By Adam Walter on Jun 6, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/1NypPGLGvW0

As a business owner, you probably spend a lot of time planning. Generally, your plans probably don’t happen exactly how you thought they would—but, when they do then all the time you spend prepping is worth it. That’s exactly what this week’s episode is all about. Opportunities, preparation and failure.

Engineers have a more difficult time getting used to the concept of strategy and having a plan for the future. If there is a piece of technology that is broken, there are steps to take in order to fix it. The fix is also right there in front of you as is the solution. Once you fix the problem then you close the ticket and call it accomplished and feel the satisfaction of starting a solving a problem quickly and seeing results instantly. The effects of your efforts are visible.

For businesses, it’s not the same. Business owners have to spend time coming up with a general idea of where they want to be in the future and figure out how to get there over time.

This prep work is super important. If you have no aim for your business, then what are you really trying to accomplish? Wanting to make money is not a good enough reason to be in business. You have to have a strategy for how you will actually be successful.

It all comes down to making a plan, working that plan and then reviewing that plan. First, you need to access what the goals are for your company. What are you currently doing and what do you hope to be doing in 1, 2 or even 5 years? Have a vision for the future of your business. Then, get everyone in your company on board. If only one person knows about what your goals are, then they will not be achieved. When everyone is on the same page, start looking at current and future opportunities and match up those that will line up with your vision. Be careful not to spread yourself too thin. You can’t and shouldn’t say yes to everything just because it’s available. That will set you up for failure. Be okay with saying no to things.

If saying no is really hard for you, then think through this process any time you are considering an opportunity. Look at your goals and who your company is. Does this opportunity match who you are and will it help you get to where you want to be? If you answer no to either of these questions or don’t know, then it’s safe to say no to that opportunity.

The last piece of prepping your business is learning from failures. There are going to be opportunities that you take that will not pan out. There are going to be situations that you didn’t prepare for or prepared incorrectly. Do not beat yourself up or get frustrated with your business plan. Look at these things and learn what you could have done differently. Adjust your goals. Move forward knowing that you will most likely make that same mistake again.

To sum everything up, Look at the opportunities ahead of you, match those up with the vision and goals for your company and then make preparations for those goals. And just know that you will never get to a point where all your goals have been met and you’re done. You’ll always be adjusting and changing as you grow into a better version of your business.

Topics: Managed Services Providers Business Building for IT Companies MSP Humanize Podcast
2 min read

MSP Culture

By Adam Walter on May 31, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/Mmv2chhxpv0


The role of an MSP has changed a lot over the years. You aren’t just fixing personal computers, you’re strategizing, leading and giving technology advice for businesses of all sizes. Today, we’re talking about how MSPs have evolved and what the real differences are between corporate and MSP culture.

With corporate work, you are doing the same job every day. In the MSP world, you’re fixing something new or solving a different problem every day. That leads to a very different experience for people in those two areas of work. Neither are bad, but the culture is very specific for each.

You definitely still fix stuff in the corporate world, but it’s more stable and less exciting. For MSPs, you have so much experience and you’re constantly learning new things. Most corporate workers will learn one system, use it every day and get really good at it. Nothing new generally comes up because the system runs seamlessly. In a corporate environment, you will learn the most in the first 6-12 months because new tech is rarely introduced. If you’re interested in getting very familiar and deep into one topic instead of spreading out among a wide variety of topics then corporate work is for you.

If that does not sound exciting and you’re driven to learn and understand, then the MSP world is for you. This world is full of new technologies but also rich with various types of companies that you get to work with. Doctor’s offices, schools, ice cream shops—you name it! Everyone needs help understanding how technology could help their business.

The thing about the MSP world is that it can be stressful. Where the corporate world is more stable and comfortable, the MSP world is full of new tech, constantly learning, asking lots of questions and evolving. The culture is fast-paced and MSPs love that! If you want a more relaxed setting, then the corporate world is for you. If you can handle the stress and are not trying to make top dollar, then the MSP world is probably pretty attractive for you.

Another part of culture is employee retention—your employees should be happy with their work! What the corporate world has to keep in mind is replacing people is expensive. Keep your employees around by making sure they have what they need and are giving them new or exciting projects to work on. MSPs have to keep in mind that, when hiring new employees, you can’t hire a unicorn. There is not going to be someone that will exactly fit the role of the previous employee, so don’t judge them based on the past employee’s experience.

It has been cool to watch the MSP culture and role change from simply fixing computers to transitioning into digital advisers and strategists. And for corporate workers, figure out how to keep your employees challenged and growing in the corporate world.

Topics: IT Management MSP Humanize Podcast
2 min read

The Importance of Vacations

By Adam Walter on May 23, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/YWobWj0OcGU


Every single person is super unique, but we all have one thing in common: a need for rest and recuperation. You may be convinced that you can work and work and work with no breaks. In a world that is so fast-paced, we reward people that are hardcore and refuse to step back or take a deep breath.

Although hard work is great and should be rewarded, it’s also pivotal that you take breaks. You can only work efficiently for so long without resting. The longer you work on something with no break, the more mistakes you will make.

You’ve probably been in a situation where you’ve tried to solve a problem or fix something and the longer you stare at it, the harder it seems to come up with a solution. Contrary to popular belief, that problem will not magically become clear by spending more time staring at it. The best thing to do is put it away and come back to it in a little while. You will most likely find that time away makes the solution easier to figure out—maybe even obvious!

Your brain needs time to work stuff out and process. It is a muscle and should be treated with the same respect and care that you treat the rest of your body. Give it time to relax and put good stuff in so you can get good stuff out. Take working out for example. You can’t do your maximum lifts every single day or you will wear your body out. You have to give your muscles days to do light workouts in order to come back the next day and work hard. You also wouldn’t put the heaviest weights on and expect to be able to lift over and over without feeling completely tired and burnt out. And, after a workout, you have to stretch your muscles to allow the best recovery—basically, you have to take care of yourself.

Even if your company offers unlimited paid time off, it can be hard to take advantage of that. You want to get stuff done and you probably think the harder you work, the more you’ll get done. When you’re tired, your body goes into autopilot and simply plays the part. You may feel like you’re being productive when really, you’re getting as much done as you could.

Your brain needs a change of scenery. That doesn’t mean simply slowing down on work; it means you need to switch up what you’re doing. Find something that you enjoy like reading, playing video games or going for a walk to give your mind a much-needed mini-vacation. When you return to your desk, it will be easier for you to focus on the tasks at hand.

Vacations don’t just mean taking a week off and traveling. Taking 30 minutes or 2 hours every day to focus on something else or rest will help you put your distractions on hold. There is a value in dedicated away time that includes unplugging from your work, your phone and anything that might cause you stress.
You may think that this topic doesn’t pertain to you. But, if you find yourself snapping at people, eating or drinking more or having a hard time sleeping, then you are out of balance and your body is trying to overcompensate for your lack of energy. It’s time to take a vacation, trust us!

You should definitely still take that awesome family vacation in the middle of summer. But, make sure that isn’t your only vacation this year. Take time every single day to do something that will make your brain relaxed and make work more enjoyable. Humans were not created to constantly work. Relax and give your body time to recharge and focus!

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Management Strategic Leadership
2 min read

Why are you in Tech?

By Adam Walter on May 16, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd
Youtube: https://youtu.be/ArFI83D0yUE

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Management Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Your Audio Sucks

By Adam Walter on May 9, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Testing, testing. One, two, three. Can you hear us clearly? Today, we’re tackling the topic of good and bad audio and how it can make all the difference in your interactions with people online.

People underestimate the importance of a great audio setup. If your audio is bad and warbled or choppy and hard to hear, people will tune out or stop listening completely. This is obviously not good for any circumstance, especially now that working from home and virtual meetings and conferences are here to stay.

Here at Humanize IT, we always stress the importance of conversations. These conversations are not just happening in person. If you are not able to talk to your current or prospective clients with clear and easy-to-hear audio, then you are missing out on how great those conversations could be. It’s truly doing a disservice to both you and your clients.

People are judging you based on what they are hearing and good audio will convince people that you are genuine in what you are saying. It will increase your engagement and make the conversations flow much easier.

Now, your audio doesn’t have to be perfect. Of course, you will not always be able to control the street noise or the neighbor’s lawn mower. But, if you have a good microphone and sound quality, then those other noises will not distract or be a big deal.

Again, your audio doesn’t have to be perfect, but it does have to be the main focus. If you are only able to get one thing out of this blog or podcast episode, let it be this: start with audio. You can have the nicest computer and the most up-to-date video equipment, but if you don’t have good audio, none of that will matter. If you start with a good audio setup, then everything will fall into place. Even if your video is awful, the audio will save it. Now, don’t get us wrong, video is important. But, it’s just not as important as audio.

To have a good audio setup, you don’t have to spend a fortune. You definitely could, but you can have great equipment without spending a ton. You want to find a mic that will make you sound great so that your conversations will go smoothly. Ultimately, you should spend an amount that is dependent on how much you will use your audio.

It doesn’t take much, just be intentional. The amount that you spend will be paid back in quality. The bar is very low when it comes to audio, just get what makes sense for yourself. Try carving out an amount ahead of time so that you can prepare to spend it on equipment. Also, you spend a lot on your computer and maybe on other types of equipment, so why instead spend it on an audio setup that will last a really long time.

2 min read

Are you a bad MSP?

By Adam Walter on May 2, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

In your job, you most likely assume that you’re doing well. Why wouldn’t you? But, if most people think they’re performing well, how do we actually gauge that and test performance? It’s really easy to talk about what makes a good MSP, and that’s generally what we like to focus on. This is a touchy subject, but one that can really benefit you in your pursuit to be a great MSP. So, let’s get started with how to see if you are a good or bad MSP!

The first thing to look at within your MSP is client retention. If your clients are only staying with you because of an iron-clad agreement, then you may have a problem. If you’re only keeping clients because you’re the cheapest bid in town, that is also a red flag. You should be offering a value to your clients that would make them want to stay with you, no matter what. Client retention should not come from force or a constant effort on your part to convince them to stay.

If you can provide an easy out for your clients and they choose to stay, then you’re doing well. We always stress conversations with your clients, and this is a great way to talk about your value and what you provide for them. You shouldn’t have to beg them to stay!

The next thing you should dive into is whether you are continuously improving. If you’re not growing, you’re dying. Essentially, continuous improvement is the cornerstone of what makes you a good MSP. Do you know if you are operating better than you were last year? Do you have the metrics to analyze to see that growth? If you haven’t improved or don’t have ways to track data, then you’re a bad MSP.

If you answered no to the following questions, it probably doesn’t feel like you’re doing badly. Generally, a lack of improvement happens from ignorance or pride. The best thing to do is identify what could be improved within your organization. It doesn’t have to be monumental changes—just small steps that will help you grow in the long run.

The third and final metric is whether your clients are in your lane. Basically, are your clients looking for the type of MSP that you are providing when looking at both services and culture.

People are always looking for different things, and there are a ton of options for MSPs. The thing to look at is what you are providing your clients. Do those services line up with what your client truly needs? If so, great! But, if not, it is time to refer them to another MSP that will align with them better.

Let’s say you work really well with schools, and that is your niche. Almost all of your clients come to you knowing that and looking for high-quality services that might cost a bit more but will align with the education field. If a hospital comes to you looking for the cheapest option, chances are they are not going to be a good fit for you. As a good MSP, you would refer them to another agency that will be able to serve them best.

Use metrics—customer retention, continuous improvement and whether you align with your clients—to test whether you’re a good MSP. If you aren’t, then it’s not too late to improve in each of these areas! If you are doing well, then maximize those skills!

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Sales vs Engineering

By Adam Walter on Apr 25, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: IT Management IT Sales Humanize Podcast
2 min read

2022 Book Recommendations

By Adam Walter on Apr 18, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Want to know a great way to relax and become more creative? Read! That’s right, today we’re talking about the all-important topic of books. Let’s get on the same page, shall we?

If you’re being honest with yourself, you probably try to impress people with the books that you read. We are constantly recommending and talking about the books that we want people to think we read rather than talking about the books that we actually enjoy.

As a business professional, you do business strategy all day, every day. When you get home, do you really want to read more about business theory or strategy? You probably want to read something that is going to relax and entertain you.

It’s really important to find time to let your brain relax. This allows creativity to sprout and great ideas to happen. If you are constantly thinking and struggling with how to be a better business professional, you will probably feel burnt out and tired. One of the beauties of reading fiction is that the creative sections of your brain get activated because you have to think about things that are impossible. You open your mind up to things that are so different than the every day.

Reading any book is beneficial and helpful, but some books are more helpful than others. You may feel like reading the latest-and-greatest business book will help you become better at your job when really, it just adds to your list of ideas that you have to implement. What if you’re not allowing yourself the creative space to actually create meaningful change and implement ideas because you have too many ideas to begin with. If you are constantly reading about different theories and constantly wanting to implement them, you will never be able to actually creatively and effectively make those implementations work. If your brain is just tired and too full, you‘re not going to actually be able to put any of those ideas into practice.

Reading fiction allows you to relax without adding more things to your pile of work stuff. The whole point is to fill your mind with positive things — allow yourself to truly relax.

Sometimes, you can read books that help you see things more clearly. Books can explain concepts and ideas in a way that you can better understand. So, don’t think that you can’t read non-fiction. Just make sure that you are actually enjoying the book and getting effective insight that will help instead of hurt.

If you already have so many business ideas but haven’t implemented them, there are books that can provide you with the motivation to implement those ideas. Maybe all you need is a push!

Ultimately, reading should be relaxing and beneficial. The best part of reading is expanding your knowledge in a productive way and gaining new perspectives based on the writer’s experience. We often read about things that we like, but we should also read stuff that we’re not as familiar with. Get out of your comfort zone and find a new genre. Do you like sci-fi? Try reading a romance novel! If you love autobiographies, try a western! Just read something that will expand your horizons, give you beneficial perspectives and help you relax.

Happy reading!

Topics: Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Value of Relationships

By Adam Walter on Apr 11, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

People have to realize that relationships matter no matter what industry you’re in. If you can understand that, then you’ll be much more successful. It’s the same for MSPs. Relationships are extremely important for both you and your clients.

MSPs are known for going in and fixing technology while the person isn’t at their desk. But, does the MSP actually know the person or why they need their computer fixed? Do they know what they do at their business? These things are way more important than you may realize.

As you go about your business, you should be deliberate about building relationships with your clients so that you can be the best asset for them and so they trust your advice. It all goes back to strategic engagement — you don’t have to be an expert in your customer’s business, they’re already the expert in that. If you’re only engaging with the end-users when they’re not around and simply fixing the technical issues they are having, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to connect with them. We need to open ourselves up a bit because, when we do that, we begin to foster the business-focused relationships as well.

You may not see the value in these relationships, but trust us — there is extreme value! If you are not choosing to interact with your customers, you may be missing out on opportunities for bigger projects. The information that you learn from conversations can open up the flood gates for future projects and the trust that you have with clients who you have relationships with will help and your clients succeed.

Let’s look at doctors as an example. If you have a regular doctor that you go to a couple times a year for regular checkups and other types of appointments, then you have a relationship with them. They know about your history and they understand what has worked for you in the past, which helps them know what coud work in the future. You are most likely going to feel more comfortable and trusting with this doctor rather than an urgent care doctor that you only go to when you’re not feeling well or something needs checked out. The relationship and understanding that the regular doctor has with you is valuable.

This is not just just something that you have to feel obligated to do. It’s going to pay back by allowing you to accomplish more by knowing the person you’re working with or working for.

Now, there are going to be people that you don’t match with culturally, and that is good to know. You can help those people out by finding an MSP that will match their style of relationship or company better.

Besides the abstract value relationships bring the table, they have very concrete dollar amount attached to them as well. If your client knows you and you have a relationship with them, your suggestions for products and solutions will be more likely to be put in place. Your clients will be more likely to spend the money on something that you believe will help them because they know that you are on their side. This is valuable!

Ultimately, MSPs have to decide what types of relationships you want so you and your clients can get the most value out of them.

Topics: vCIO IT Management IT Client Engagement
2 min read

Tech and Teens

By Adam Walter on Apr 4, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

We’ve got a very special guest with us for this week’s episode: Lizzie Walter, my daughter! We’re talking about one teenager’s opinion on technology and how it affects school, home life and friendships. Here’s a glimpse into our conversation!

Adam and Skip: What kinds of technologies rule your life right now?

Lizzy: Snapchat and Instagram. I don’t have Snapchat, but most teenagers have them. I usually use Instagram over most other things, even though Instagram is pretty similar to Facebook.

Adam and Skip: When we were in school, we used to have books for classes and carried them around in our backpacks. Today, most people have Chromebooks for school. What do you guys use for school?

Lizzy: Google Classroom, a portal with all of our textbooks and video platforms, Google Keep for notes and Google Classroom to plan and keep track of assignments.

Adam and Skip: Do you trust these technologies, or do you feel the need to check on it and make sure everything is working properly?

Lizzy: I trust that it’s going to be there and give me the information that I need.

Adam and Skip: Google Classroom is pretty accessible. Given the choice, would you rather pick up your phone or your Chromebook?

Lizzy: I prefer my phone to quickly check assignments, but if I have to do something on a Google Doc, then I prefer to use my Chromebook because it’s easier to see and type on. And, It’s less distracting.

Adam and Skip: VR is the new, cool technology in town. How big are you on VR stuff?

Lizzy: It’s cool and all, but most of my friends don’t have a VR headset, so I can’t really talk to them or play with them on that. I have other stuff I can do with my friends.

Adam and Skip: What’s your digital life like at home?

Lizzy: We turn on the TV and everything that we want to watch is there. Sometimes we have to pay for stuff, but that’s becoming less and less of a thing. My phone, the switch and the Xbox are my favorite technologies at home.

Adam and Skip: It’s pretty normal to get mad at technology. Do you ever get frustrated with technology?

Lizzy: Yeah. I probably yell at my phone on a daily basis because something isn’t loading.

Adam and Skip: Do teens unplug or take technology breaks?

Lizzy: Some of us do, but not a lot. I feel like I need that every once in a while. I like being outside and it’s nice to get a break from technology. I really don’t think about how much I use my phone or other technology. I can see how much I use it, but it doesn’t really bother me because I am just used to it.

Adam and Skip: What do your friends think about technology controls or people watching over them on their devices?

Lizzy: I have gotten a few complaints about restrictions, especially when I run out of time on a game.

Adam: Can you explain to everyone what our deal is and how you get restrictions with your phone?

Lizzy: I usually get more restrictions when I am abusing the phone, spending too much time on it or downloading games I’m not supposed to. But, if I’m open with how I’m using my phone and my screen time goes down, then I get more freedom and my restrictions get loosened.

Adam and Skip: To wrap up, what’s one piece of advice you can give tech leaders and parents?

Lizzy: Restrictions are good because they help turn your kid in the right direction. You may think you’re being mean, but in the long run, it’s super helpful.

Just like at Humanize IT, good conversations and open communication help everything run smoothly. Thanks Lizzie for chatting with us about your take on technology! Join us next week for another episode.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer Implement New IT Services
2 min read

Dumb Mistakes

By Adam Walter on Mar 28, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

We all make dumb mistakes — it’s just a part of life. Some of these mistakes might stick with you and haunt you to this day. The important thing to pay attention to is how you will respond when you make silly mistakes.

We here at Humanize It have made our share of dumb mistakes. We get it! But, we have learned a lot and grown from those mistakes. The ability to look at those mistakes and celebrate what you got out of them is really important.


As a business owner, if you notice your MSP making little mistakes that should be avoided, you should check in with them. Make sure that they are doing alright. Based on personal experience, sleep deprivation can be a huge cause of making dumb mistakes. Make sure your MSP is not overworking and is getting enough sleep in order to have the right amount of energy for the tasks they have ahead of them. If they are getting enough sleep, look deeper. See what the cause of these mistakes could be and if there is anything you can do about it. If there isn’t anything that can be done specifically, you might just need to express the need to be more careful and mindful with the work they are doing.

The most important aspect of making mistakes is being able to learn from them. And, in order to do that, you have to be open about your mistakes. Engineers, this one is for you. If you are prone to hide your mistakes instead of bringing them into the open, you will not be able to learn and grow from those mistakes. You need to be open about what is happening or the problems you’re experiencing. This will allow other engineers and MSPs to be open as well. People look up to the engineers, and being open and leading by example will only help the team as a whole.

If you’re a business owner, it is critical that you invite mistakes and allow your team to fail in order for them to grow. If you cultivate a culture of fear of failure, people will walk on eggshells when something goes wrong. Investigate the culture of your work place and make sure that you allow people to open up. It is also great for you to lead by example, as well, and share your mistakes and what you have learned from them.

The last thing to know about mistakes is there is a difference between dumb mistakes and incompitancy. If you notice one of your engineers is consistently making the same mistakes over and over again, they might not know what they are doing. Check in with them and see what is going on. If you find out that they don’t know how to do the job fully, it is time to either train them in that area or find someone that knows how to do the job better.

Dumb mistakes happen to everyone. Look at the people making these mistakes and see how they are doing. Are they aware they are making mistakes? How are you dealing with these mistakes? Is your environment conducive to learning and are your employees taken care of? Ultimately, there is an opportunity to let dumb mistakes make you smarter!

Topics: IT Management Business Building for IT Companies
2 min read

Operations Vs. Strategy

By Adam Walter on Mar 21, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

If you’re an engineer then you might not like to talk about strategy. We get it! But, strategy is super important in any successful organization. This week, we are going to focus on how strategy is a component that we need to focus on as well as operations.

The simple fact is, strategy is not just simple planning; it’s a larger item that shows where your organization will be going someday. If you’re technical, you might not understand this. You might be someone who hears a bunch of strategic ideas and instantly thinks that none of it can be done. You might be thinking that the ideas are crazy and completely impossible.

The important thing to keep in mind is that none of these strategies and tactics need to be done tomorrow. These are ideas that are going to take time and very small steps forward. Strategy is where your organization is headed. You don’t have to get there by the end of the week!

Where your company is currently and where you will be in the future will look drastically different. You just have to focus on what you’re doing right now and then build to that future company bit by bit.

Look at strategy as the goal that your company is aiming towards, and operations are how you will get there. Strategy should be done in steps and you never have to know what the future step will be. If you’re on step 2, then do what is necessary for step 2 and slowly, step 3 will work its way to your understanding and become clear to your company. Once you’re on step 3, that can be your focus until step 4 begins to form and take place.

Another important thing to keep in mind is, while strategy is important, it’s not everything. Some people get too lost in strategy and nothing ever gets done. Those are the people that engineers hate. Their heads are always in the clouds and nothing ever happens. Operations are the day-to-day tasks that allow strategy to be accomplished. Both strategy and operations must work hand-in-hand.

The frustrating thing about strategy is you most likely will not see the fruits of your labor for months if not years. Results from operations can be seen by the end of the day. This doesn't make one more important than the other — it simply means that you have to be patient and know that both are very critical to your organization no matter the length of time it takes to see results.

In order for both of these to work together, there must be trust. People in strategy need to understand that their engineers will have the ideas and the operations people will be able to accomplish it. The people in operations need to look at the strategic people and know that they have great direction and know where the company is headed. When both work together, that’s when success happens.

In order to understand if your strategy and operations are working together, look back at your company and where you were a couple of years ago. Have you accomplished what your strategists thought would accomplish with the operations help? If not, be honest and make changes based on what you see that is working. Essentially, don’t just take steps to take them. Take steps to get where you’re trying to go.

The moral of the story: strategy is where you are going and operations are how you get there.

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Management Business Building for IT Companies CIO
2 min read

Talk Like a CEO

By Adam Walter on Mar 14, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Last week, our focus was talking like a CFO. This week, we’re tackling how to talk like a CEO!

You might have heard the phrase: one throat to choke, one back to pat. Well, that’s the CEO of a company. They are responsible for their company in the good and the bad, for better or worse. CEO is a title that a lot of people want, but it comes with a lot of weight.

As an MSP, when you’re talking to your clients in a meeting, the CEO might be trying not to fall asleep. Don’t take this personally, their focus is just mainly on the success of the company at large.

With that information in mind, there is one sure-fire way to get the CEO on your side. Make them look good. Yep, it’s that simple. Let them know how your products and services will make their company excel.

More than half of the CEO’s job is politics — essentially, making their company look good and being responsible with their decisions. They are looking for success, which means you need to let them know how your products and services are going to bring that success.

One thing to keep in mind is that success looks different for every CEO. Just like finding success with a CFO, talking to your client’s CEO is how you can determine how success is measured in their company. It is going to be a moving target, really. You can not take one thing that is important to one CEO and assume that it is going to be the same target that the next CEO is shooting for. Having conversations with each CEO will allow you to aim for the right things.

Another important tip is to get a grip on what the company’s culture is. Knowing what the culture is will allow you to get to the table in front of the CEO seamlessly. Some companies are hierarchical where there is an order of people that you must talk to or go through in order to chat with the CEO. Go through that process and be respectful of the way their business is structured. Other businesses are more of a level playing field and it’s okay to go directly to the CEO or upper-level management. Just be aware of that culture and go through the process of communicating accordingly. If you don’t, the CEO will be much less likely to meet with you at all, or they will choose to skip any meetings going forward.

The last tip we have for you is to learn the CEO’s vision for the company. The CEO is constantly going back to the basics of what the mission and vision of the company are and how you fit into that. Figure out what that vision is and put what you’re bringing to the table in that context.

A great way to do that is to go to your client or potential client’s website and write in your own words what you believe their vision is. In your meeting with the client, ask the CEO to take a look at it and make sure that what you wrote is correct. This will let the CEO know that you understand them and desire to make them look good with your solutions.

The CEO’s opinion is important, so have a listening-focused conversation, learn their measure of success, get a grip on their company culture and understand their CEO’s vision for the company. If you do all of that, you’ll be talking like a CEO and bringing success to you and your client in a heartbeat.

Topics: Managed Services Providers CIO Quarterly Business Review
2 min read

Talk like a CFO

By Adam Walter on Mar 7, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

As an MSP, you probably hate talking about finances, but, learning to talk like a CFO will help you be able to better connect with your clients. A CFO is focused on what financial actions are going to increase profits for their company, and you can use them as a resource. Let’s dive in!

First, you have to think about the CFO the same as the CEO: they are an executive who is trying to run a company. A CFO is looking at the revenue coming in and, although they are not responsible for generating that revenue, they are responsible for how that revenue gets allocated. It’s their job to manage expenses and make the right financial decisions for their company.

When an MSP comes in and talks to clients about products and services, the CFO is just thinking about it being another expense. You can’t blame them, it’s their job. Everything is looked at as either risk or reward.

To speak like a CFO, you must think about the financial aspect and how the company’s finances get managed. This means you should talk about products and services in context with how they are going to help the CFO’s company. This will let your client know that you are being thoughtful with your technology suggestions and thinking of your client’s return on investment.

With that being said, you can also learn a lot from your client’s CFOs — they are going to be one of your best resources when it comes to defining what’s going to help the company. CFOs have spent a lifetime learning what they know and you have to take advantage of that.

Ultimately, you don’t have to be a financial expert. The CFO is already filling that role.

MSPs sometimes show up to client engagements with the expectation that you need to educate your clients on technology. If we leave it in those terms, you are not going to get those meetings right. You need to show up and allow your clients to educate you on their business. Along the way, you are going to explain your role and make sure that your client understands how their technology is helping them, but the role of teaching your clients how you do your job is not what your main goal should be.

If you want to sell your clients fully on a product, you’re going to have to talk like a CFO. And, to talk like a CFO, you’re going to have to learn from one.

If you really want to get in with a CFO, tell your client contact that you want to understand how finances work at their company. Ask if you could have some time with the company’s CFO to chat about how ride offs work within their industry to see if there are any that you could help them take advantage of with your technology and services. This will knock their socks off!

You may not know anything about finances or taxes and you may hate the thought of talking about those topics, but you can sell your CFOs on what you’re trying to implement if you can show them why and how it will benefit their business and use their knowledge as a resource.

Topics: vCIO IT Account Management
2 min read

Powerpoint Costs You Clients

By Adam Walter on Feb 28, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd 

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person QBR Humanize Podcast
2 min read

How to Hire Great People

By Adam Walter on Feb 21, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd 

Topics: IT Management Humanize Podcast
2 min read

How to Fire your client

By Adam Walter on Feb 12, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd 

Topics: IT Management Business Building for IT Companies Strategic Leadership Humanize Podcast
2 min read

How to Fire Your MSP

By Adam Walter on Feb 7, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd 

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Management Business Building for IT Companies MSP Humanize Podcast
3 min read

Pick a Client

By Adam Walter on Jan 31, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd 

2 min read

Pick an MSP

By Adam Walter on Jan 25, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: Business Building for IT Companies Marketing for IT Companies Humanize Podcast
2 min read

The Future MSP

By Adam Walter on Jan 18, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: Business Building for IT Companies MSP
2 min read

What you are doing wrong.

By Adam Walter on Jan 10, 2022

This is the big fear of many leaders. This is why clickbait posts titles in the negative we are all afraid we are doing things wrong or missing out on something. 

Topics: IT Management Business Building for IT Companies
2 min read

Here we go 2022!

By Adam Walter on Jan 3, 2022

2021 was a RIDE!  We started off very apprehensive, then we saw the economy start to pick up in 2nd quarter. THEN everything threatened to go south again...and the economy picked up steam again to a crazy level where we are hurting for employees! Once thing is for certain, 2022 wont be just another normal year. We are seeing issues with supply chain still and companies are looking for ways to grow in spite of this.

2 min read

New Year, New Topics

By Adam Walter on Dec 27, 2022

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: IT Management IT Sales Business Building for IT Companies QBR Quarterly Business Review
2 min read

The Metaverse!

By Adam Walter on Dec 20, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: Humanize Podcast
3 min read

Holiday Security Tips

By Adam Walter on Dec 13, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

The holiday season is in full swing, which means that you need to know security tips to protect
yourself from fraud and getting information stolen.

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Security
2 min read

Holidays

By Adam Walter on Dec 6, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers Business Building for IT Companies CIO
2 min read

Tech Conferences

By Adam Walter on Nov 29, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Sales
1 min read

Thanksgiving 2021

By Adam Walter on Nov 22, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person IT Sales conversation
1 min read

Daylight Savings

By Adam Walter on Nov 15, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: vCIO IT Management Drinks with IT
1 min read

Dumb Technology

By Adam Walter on Nov 8, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd


Over the years, there has been a lot of dumb technology. It’s hard to keep track of all the ideas that seemed great at first but ended up being a nightmare. Here are a few pieces of technology that just didn’t make the cut.

Autodialers: an electronic device that automatically dials phone numbers. Once the call has been answered, the autodialer either plays a recorded message or connects the call to a live person. There were great intentions behind this invention, but autodialers aren’t people’s favorite piece of technology.

Virtual Boy: a tabletop portable video game console developed and manufactured by Nintendo. Basically, these 3D goggles were the 90s version of virtual reality but the technology was not ready for this advancement quite yet.

Microsoft Bob: an attempt at a digital assistant, this software was intended to provide a more user-friendly interface for Windows computers. It was discontinued shortly after because it was very clunky and cheesy.

Clippy: a paperclip office assistant character that was created by Microsoft. The main issue with Clippy was the technology was not fast enough to load in a timely manner, making the entire screen freeze and work come to a halt.

Digital Pets: an online pet you could feed, play with and take care of — this technology made doing real chores impossible due to the time commitment to caring for fake pets.

The main point is, there is a lot of technology and some of it works and some does not. The difference between good tech and interesting tech is the implementation and the audience.

If you have new technology, make sure people are ready for this technology and make it work with the already existing tech. If you solve problems instead of adding to them, new technology will be seamlessly added to people’s lives easier.
Topics: IT Sales Client Success Drinks with IT
2 min read

Inspiration

By Adam Walter on Nov 1, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: Managed Services Providers MSP CIO
1 min read

Marketing Your MSP Part 2

By Adam Walter on Oct 25, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: Inbound Marketing for IT Companies Marketing for IT Companies MSP Marketing
1 min read

Market Your MSP (Part 1)

By Adam Walter on Oct 18, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3AyHCUd

Topics: Inbound Marketing for IT Companies Marketing for IT Companies IT Consultative Sales Win New Clients
2 min read

Internet of Things

By Adam Walter on Oct 11, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3uooSU

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Implement New IT Services Adam Walter
2 min read

Music in IT

By Adam Walter on Oct 4, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3uooSU

Topics: IT Management Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Business Shiny Things

By Adam Walter on Sep 27, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3uooSU

Topics: CIO QBR Adam Walter Humanize Podcast
1 min read

Shiny IT Things

By Adam Walter on Sep 20, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3uooSU 

Topics: vCIO CIO Humanize Podcast
2 min read

Gaming in IT

By Adam Walter on Sep 13, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3uooSU

1 min read

Drinks with IT -  August: For the Love of Coffee

By Adam Walter on Sep 6, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3uooSUX

Topics: Business Building for IT Companies CIO Drinks with IT
2 min read

Travel and Technology

By Adam Walter on Aug 30, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3uooSU

Topics: Managed Services Providers CIO Humanize Podcast
2 min read

EpISODE 164: Complexity is the Enemy

By Adam Walter on Aug 23, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl
Spotify: https://spoti.fi/3uooSUX

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Management CIO Technical Account Manager
2 min read

Episode 163: Exercise and IT

By Adam Walter on Aug 11, 2021

Apple Podcasts: https://apple.co/2NHRRDl

Topics: vCIO IT Management MSP Humanize Podcast
1 min read

Unified Member Success

By Skip Ziegler on Apr 26, 2021

Unified Member Success - education, coaching, onboarding and community in one location resulting in faster adoption.

3 min read

Simplified Product Lines

By Adam Walter on Apr 19, 2021

Becoming a world class Strategic Technology provider has never been easier. However, to accomplish this you need to have the right tools, mindset and training.

3 min read

Integrated and Seamless Solution

By Adam Walter on Apr 12, 2021

Becoming a world class Strategic Technology provider has never been easier. However, to accomplish this you need to have the right tools, mindset and training.  In this video and blog we spend some time talking through how streamlining our products is resulting in a big win for MSPs wanting to take their client engagement to the next level.

1 min read

Merger meant for you

By Adam Walter on Apr 1, 2021

Virtual C and Managed Services Platform have been working together to create tools to increase customer success since 2017. Together we have created a turnkey product line with all the tools, templates, coaching and resources necessary for success. These all form the battle-tested Humanize IT framework that many of you are familiar with

Topics: Managed Services Providers Managed Services Platform
4 min read

How Salespeople Close IT Projects Faster?

By Myles Olson on Jan 28, 2021

We’re all too well aware of the enormous amount of work that goes into the preparation phase of every client IT project. From the idea stage (we need to replace the server architecture) to actually being able to send a proper quote ($18,500 with labour cost) the MSP spends dozens of hours coming up with the IT project plan and the numbers. The hours are tracked as “sales” hours spending time on those quotes but at the end of the day most of those projects never take off. Everybody is bummed, the client calls off the opportunity, the team writes off the time to a “lost opportunity” category and life goes on. However there is a totally legitimate, battle-tested sales tactic that a few MSPs use to cut this unproductive and morale-draining busy work. Let's get into the details.

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Account Management QBR Technical Account Manager Managed Services Platform
7 min read

The Complete MSP QBR Process

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 22, 2021

At Managed Services Platform our goal has always been to make your MSP business more productive to face the ever growing expectations of client engagement activities. 

In this article we've collected all the best practices you can utilize to connect the dots on how to prepare, deliver and follow up client meetings. Use this article as a reference guide and sources of many articles, blog posts and feature highlights that can help you make both you and clients more productive.

We've added new sections based on the the new software features and integrations of Managed Services Platform 2021 February Release. 

5 min read

How to Schedule QBRs for Engagement

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 14, 2021

Most MSPs have a hard time not only engaging executives in QBRs but even being able to sit down with clients, as they don’t see the value they add to their business. The goal of scheduling a QBR is more about selling them the process, benefits and the results so they see the value and look forward to these events.

We are going to discover the minimum requirements of scheduling an engaging session with the right people in the client’s organization. As a result you are going to get more executive level decision makers in your meetings with higher anticipation.

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Account Management IT Client Engagement QBR Technical Account Manager Managed Services Platform
6 min read

The State of the vCIO in 2020

By Dr Peter Torbagyi on Jan 7, 2021

Every year Managed Services Platform publishes a report about the state of the vCIO. We summarize the experiences of the largest vCIO community in the world. We’re not just interested in the major trends in the technology space, but how those impacted the vCIO role and responsibilities.

Topics: vCIO Virtual CIO CIO Managed Services Platform
3 min read

Client Engagement in 2021 New Features

By Denes Purnhauser on Dec 10, 2020

At Managed Services Platform our vision has always been to turn technically heavy client meetings into engaging value added business conversations. 

2020 has brought new challenges for Account Managers and vCIOs. Client meetings became remote, the duration of sessions shrank, the topics in QBRs steadily increased and clients got very apprehensive about investing in general.

We would like to go through the upcoming new features to make sure you can solve those challenge.

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Client Engagement NIST Cyber Security Technical Account Manager Managed Services Platform
6 min read

How to bridge the gap between cyber security technologies and business value

By Denes Purnhauser on Dec 3, 2020

The borders of the network have disappeared, and people have moved out of the office with minimal focus on securing their remote environment. Ransomware events are increasing in both frequency and amounts demanded. Compliance and certification is getting more focus as governments move to support cyber security initiatives. The news is full of talk about security concerns. 

Despite all the trends favouring cyber security related services, the gap is still growing between the real value of cyber security Services and their perceived business value. 

In this article we go after why MSPs still seem to be struggling to articulate the business value of higher cyber security standards, creating proper business development plans and capturing the market opportunity. That leads to all kinds of problems for clients, including not being protected. Bad executive decisions mean MSPs cannot monetize cyber security services and end up hurting their bottom lines.

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Account Management Strategic Leadership NIST Cyber Security IT Business Development
5 min read

Business Relationships cannot be automated...

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 8, 2020

There are many tools and best practices out there to streamline, and automate technology conversations with RMM integration, ticket reports and asset management functions. The reason is that as most MSPs by starting their QBR processes they simply try to run faster to the wrong direction. The common mistake we see is they try to streamline a technology focused tactical conversation (important for them) rather than elevate themselves with strategic-business focused QBRs (important for clients). Let’s see the 3 reasons why it is the case, 3 impacts taxing these MSPs and the 3 steps to fix this quickly.

Topics: Managed Services Providers Strategic Leadership QBR Quarterly Business Review
4 min read

Do you have an Annual QBR Playbook?

By Myles Olson on Oct 2, 2020

Although client meetings are getting shorter due to the remote environment, account managers need to pack more into each session. Flooding the client with too much information in a short amount of time leads to an overwhelmed audience, a lack of decisions and countless unorganized follow up meetings. The key is to be able to define all the talking points with the client and spread them out logically over the year. This sets a predictable rhythm for the account manager and the client so they can discuss all salient points and make decisions one step at a time. In this blog we review how to best distribute the topics over the year and the critical points of developing your Annual QBR Playbook.

Your QBR Annual Playbook is your game plan to specify the different topics, decisions and engagement over the year on the different QBRs. This playbook is developed internally and shared with the client to engender alignment.

Different playbooks should be developed for different client segments. If you have only one meeting with a client for a year (as they are small and have no budget for more meetings) you cannot really have a playbook with them. However if they actually have 2 or more meetings a year then a playbook can come in quite handy. We are going to review a 4 meeting QBR formula as this can be applied to medium and larger clients as well.

Topics: vCIO QBR Quarterly Business Review
3 min read

What to ask from executives on a QBR?

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 23, 2020

Most MSPs enjoy great personal relationships with office managers and technical contact people because of their regular work together. As executives are not part of the operation it is very important to know them better, understand them better and build strong relationships with them through the only touchpoint you have: Quarterly Business Reviews.

In this article, we check the 8 most important areas you can cover with your executives to get more engagement.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Account Management Strategic Leadership QBR Quarterly Business Review
7 min read

The reason why QBRs are not repeteable

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 14, 2020

If you’re an MSP doing Quarterly Business Reviews / Business Strategy Reviews / Technology Business Reviews or anything along those lines, you might have noticed a chronic hurdle: it’s impossible to wrap a process around them that has traction for more than a few quarters. Thus it’s hard to make those productive, engaging, and repeatable. The result is either an ever broken process or the owner of the MSP is stuck in these meetings and prevented from focusing on more strategic work.

Topics: Managed Services Providers QBR Quarterly Business Review
3 min read

Lessons Learned: How to thrive during uncertain times

By Adam Walter on Aug 25, 2020

Throughout the pandemic and these times of uncertainty, we’ve seen various industries defaulting to panic mode. They don’t know what to do or what’s coming next, so they hold their breath, make decisions in the moment and hope for the best. Moving from one thing to the next without strategy has left these employees increasingly tired and unmotivated. 

In the technology world, we have a phrase for this practice that we hear multiple times a day: Firefighting. Firefighting means you’re spending your day putting out one fire after, always moving to the next issue with no time to plan ahead or create solid solutions for the future.

Being stuck in this firefighting mode comes with a big problem: burnout.  Always having something to do is fun at first; it feels like you’re coming in as a hero and fixing the problem. Then reality hits. You aren’t getting anything done, you’re just bouncing around from one thing to the next and creating recurring problems.  Fortunately, there’s a way to stop this, and that’s where Lessons Learned comes in.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Strategic Leadership Adam Walter
6 min read

vCIO: The Ultimate Guide

By Denes Purnhauser on Jul 10, 2020

The vCIO or Virtual CIO (virtual chief information officer) term was popularized in the managed services industry to initially differentiate one MSP from another by adding higher-level management practices to their services.

The term has been overused and without a lack of an accepted definition, certification or agreement across the industry the term has lost its original meaning. As any MSP could claim to provide vCIO services it is no longer the main differentiator. Meanwhile, the service provided by vCIOs has become more relevant than ever.

That is why most MSPs have their own terminology for the vCIO role such as digital advisor, digital consultant, business technology advisor, and so on. 

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO
6 min read

The 6 Steps of the IT Consultative Sales Process

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 25, 2020

The currently dominant sales processes aren’t able to generate enough leads nor provide proper differentiation for MSPs. This undermines any chance for predictable growth. When they aren’t able to win new business in a predictable way, managed services providers can’t grow, develop new services, hire the ‘A’ players, develop internal processes or scale. The root problem is that the current transactional (the client is looking for an IT provider) and solution (IT Infrastructure or NIST Cybersecurity Assessments) sales models are reactionary. These methods assume that the client understands the problem and has a pretty good idea of the solution they’re looking for. These models don’t enable the managed services provider to elevate the message, educate the client about what’s important, differentiate the MSP’s offering, set proper expectations, or start a conversation without a buying intent. The IT consultative sales process does all of that and thus provides far more predictability.

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Sales MSP IT Consultative Sales Win New Clients
9 min read

5 reasons MSPs do not have predictable IT sales

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 18, 2020

If you are reading this blog, it’s likely that you’re the best managed IT service provider in town, you have the most mature offering, hire and train the best people, and have the best internal processes an MSP can imagine. However, it’s also probable that your sales are just not at the level you want them to be. You are not alone. Even the best MSPs have issues with sales. But underperformance in sales is only one symptom of the problem. The root cause is that your sales are not predictable, and this leads to all sorts of issues. Let's dig into the cause, then see what you can do, then develop a plan to make this happen!

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Consultative Sales Win New Clients
4 min read

Podcast That Bridges the Gap Between Business and Technology

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 10, 2020

I have long been a huge podcast fan. I listen when I drive, hike or while working out, but I had trouble finding something great to share with our MSP community. I told this to Adam Walter about a year ago and he took up the challenge. Now after hearing the 7th episode of his Humanize IT podcast, I decided to put out this blog for our audience to make sure the word got out. I love this new voice and narrative about how to differentiate, how to serve and how to run an MSP of the future. He has been interviewing the most forward thinking MSP leaders about how to make IT more human, how to drive great conversations and how to deliver business value to clients.

Check out the latest episodes here. Thanks to Adam for doing this for the community!

Topics: vCIO Virtual Chief Information Officer Adam Walter Skip Ziegler
3 min read

Your web conference setup sucks (and how to fix it)

By Adam Walter on May 5, 2020

In today’s distributed workforce everyone is settling into a routine. Many, however,  haven't really put objective thought into how their presence is viewed by their clients. We are still playing by old rules: dress nice, speak clearly, have a predefined agenda. This is no longer the case, and it takes a back seat to web presence. So, for those of you who don’t want to read this whole thing, here are the 3 things you need to know.

  1. Your web setup is too casual and unprofessional.
  2. Your current setup will cost you customers in the long run.
  3. For less than the cost of a new outfit you can distinguish yourself.
Topics: vCIO IT Consultative Sales IT Client Engagement Adam Walter
15 min read

How to craft a perfect QBR Process

By Denes Purnhauser on Apr 23, 2020

 

Quarterly Business Reviews are tricky. Some clients are not engaged with your QBRs and require a different approach, some clients don't justify the time spent on a QBR every quarter, and some clients are more mature and need different reports, even some demanding complete technology roadmaps and updates...do you need a custom QBR template for each client?! If there's no one fit-for-all QBR process or template it seems that scaling Account Management and vCIO is going to be near impossible, since every client is different.

In this article we show you a method to assess the complexity of your QBR needs and the time you can afford to run those meetings. Then we introduce three different types of QBRs with all the major agenda points, and we'll show you how those QBRs look in an example.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers MSP IT Account Management IT Client Engagement QBR Quarterly Business Review
4 min read

How to help executives make strategic decisions in the bathroom

By Denes Purnhauser on Apr 15, 2020

The two most prevalent trends in client engagement are the increased frequency and remote delivery of meetings. We see, however, another trend that may surprise you, and its impact is as significant in your client meetings as in your sales meetings.

The power of the traditional printed collaterals, pdf reports, and personal influence is fading from future decision-making processes. This trend shows that your client executives and prospects might be making strategic decisions sitting on the toilet….

I do not want to bury the lead. Our tool is used to prepare, deliver and follow up important client meetings. We measure engagement with shared reports and we’ve just found out that the majority of follow-up items from client meetings such as QBR Reports, Strategy Reports, and Sales Proposals are opened on mobile devices. 

This shows not just a surprising shift in engagement, attention span, information processing and decision making in general, but should send a wake-up call for every client-facing employee: the way to win deals, approve projects and upgrade contracts is not just doing the same thing in zoom.

Every account manager, vCIO and sales executive should rethink how their processes can help them succeed not just in the next 30-60 days but the years to come.

Here are 6 quick tips to think about in this new era of decision making:

Topics: vCIO IT Account Management IT Client Engagement QBR Managed Services Platform
4 min read

5 Steps to Run Effective Client Meetings Remotely!

By Myles Olson on Mar 31, 2020

Without the ability to meet in person and present your ideas, it may be difficult to keep your clients engaged in IT support services. Spending on IT may not be seen as essential when your clients are struggling. But when has technology ever been more relevant to the success of business and the economy?

How will you communicate your value and the relevance of your services or are you prepared to risk losing MRR right now?

In speaking to our members we have learned what makes a client meeting engaging while working remotely. I put together a quick guide for you outlining the most effective features they have been using in remote client meetings.

Topics: IT Client Engagement
3 min read

How We Predict the IT Industry Will Adapt to a New Crisis

By Adam Walter on Mar 25, 2020

One of the best things about IT is that we thrive on change.  Even when the world is on fire, we are at our best — we have come through for society several times over within the last 20 years alone. Our resilience and adaptability are what make our industry so valuable.  

Topics: vCIO IT Client Engagement Technical Account Manager Adam Walter
3 min read

How to transition to High-Value Business Partners during the recession

By Denes Purnhauser on Mar 25, 2020

The narrative is about to change now. With the recession coming only high-value and proven partnerships are going to last. All fat is going to be on the chopping block. High-value strategic relationships with technology providers will be critical for all organizations. In this blog I teamed up with Rich Anderson to probe some thoughts on the opportunities and conduct a practical walkthrough with inspiration on how to actually do it.

Topics: IT Client Engagement Strategic Leadership Win New Clients Technical Account Manager
3 min read

Times Are Tough, We Hope These Changes Help

By Denes Purnhauser on Mar 25, 2020

We are currently living through a period of uncertainty we'll never forget. We are going to go through this together. Like many of you, we are trying to do what we can to help our customers and the larger community navigate this challenging time. Here are details on plans that will hopefully help, as well as a sincere ask from us for your input on what more we could do.

We are adding free tools, upgrades, solution sets, partner help, new functions, community access and self-help materials to help you to recession proof your MSP! Here are the details
Topics: Managed Services Platform
2 min read

Remote Work Readiness Insights from MSPs

By Myles Olson on Mar 18, 2020

Thoughts from our Covid-19 Remote Work Readiness Webinars

We're certainly living in unprecedented times right now. With many businesses looking to stay productive while sending staff home to work, there's never been a time when technology has been so crucial to the economy. Now is the time for MSPs and IT Solutions Providers to leadership with technology solutions that will save their clients

Topics: IT Client Engagement Win New Clients
6 min read

How to guide your clients with remote work Technology Solutions

By Denes Purnhauser on Mar 17, 2020

Communication is everything now. You can leverage two tools to communicate clearly your clients and prospect's readiness for remote work. A COVID-19 Remote Work Readiness Audit and a COVID-19 Remote Work Readiness Self Assessment help regain your relevance to your clients and prospects. Demonstrate clarity, direction and professionalism with clear communication.

6 min read

Why the better MSPs work the less perceived value they have

By Denes Purnhauser on Mar 10, 2020

For a while after our session with Sea-Level something was bugging me. We pondered a conundrum in this seminar: why can’t MSPs not become the victim of their own success? Why does a smooth service have to lead to disengaged clients? How can the MSP remain the hero not justhen the client has problems in their day-to-day operation but even when those problems are gone and the technology just works, and they stop noticing the value of the services? 

After many 1-1 discussions we came up with an answer. The issue comes into clear view from a distant overhead, as does the solution. Now having been able to create a model that explains the problems, the solution is far less difficult to manage.

We are going to break down the problem into 3 stages each with a brief explanation.

Topics: vCIO IT Account Management IT Client Engagement Technical Account Manager
2 min read

Why your meetings suck

By Adam Walter on Mar 3, 2020

Imagine sitting in an operational meeting with your accountant. They are telling you about reconciliation and collecting receipts. They then tell you how many transactions took place and where they need clarification on spend.  Bored yet? I am typing this and I am bored

This is how your clients feel when attending your quarterly or monthly operational meetings on connectwise tickets. The SLAs and project status are important to YOU and they are kind of important to the business but the method in which you are portraying information is wrong.  How do I know this? I have been an IT professional for over 20 years. Today many clients will ask me to sit in on meetings with their MSPs to help them understand what is going on. It truly is horrible, clients have just accepted that this is the way things are.

Lets go a bit darker now. The truly sad part is that even the account manager and techs are bored in these meetings. They are viewed as a necessary evil because someone told them that a MSP best practice is to meet with the client on a regular basis and give status updates. So here you are, in another boring meeting, wishing that it were time to leave. 

“Everyone is miserable but you keep moving forward 
because it is what you are supposed to do.” 

Now lets flip the tables for a second, that is right, just grab the top and flip the whole thing over. Screw what you are supposed to do, let's talk about what you want to do. 

Topics: vCIO Adam Walter
4 min read

5 Practical Ways MSPs Can Prevent Churn

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 25, 2020

We asked last week during our webinar with Sea-Level Operations: What are the symptoms of Account Management debt? Low perceived value,  communication breakdown, and churn were included in 100% of the responses. Most interestingly 77% of the time churn was mentioned without prompting. During the session we analyzed this situation and identified the crucial methods to prevent potential churn. We are going to highlight the 5 major activities Account Managers can do to accomplish this.

Topics: IT Client Engagement Sea-Level Operations
3 min read

How to build client rapport under pressure & limited time

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 19, 2020

A new customer of Managed Services Platform called us the other day: “Guys, I have a concerned client and risk going into a meeting completely unprepared. I want to do it professionally so they see I am fully organized on their needs, that I can get my ideas across and have an engaging meeting with them. Oh.. did I say I have only one hour?”. We helped this client shift from being reactive, defensive and unorganized to professional, confident and prepared by assembling their personal committed overview ready for the meeting in 30 minutes using our pre-built templates and software. This is how the risk was turned into opportunity.

Topics: IT Client Engagement QBR Quarterly Business Review
6 min read

Why Growing an MSP is so hard?

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 7, 2020

The Managed Service Provider business model is a complex one and comes loaded with all sorts of challenges. One of the biggest issues is being able to drive predictable growth for the company and to build an operational maturity that can manage that growth at the same time. You’re beset from both sides: MSPs will suffer from their growth being slow and all effort will go into desperate tactical marketing and sales efforts. They’ll also struggle if growth is too fast and all efforts are spent on a tactical fix of their service delivery. 

Progressive MSPs have deserved a strategic answer to move from the reactive firefighting mode to a proactive business building model. Let’s review how to solve this problem once and for all.

Topics: Business Building for IT Companies Implement New IT Services
4 min read

Debate on All In vs. Modular MSP pricing

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 30, 2020

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 cyber 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.

Topics: Business Building for IT Companies MSP Pricing NIST Cyber Security Implement New IT Services
5 min read

5 Questions that will make your Client Meetings Strategic

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 23, 2020

What would it feel like not just having great and engaging meetings with clients but being able to become true business partners? Progressive MSPs has been started because when the Quarterly Business Review (QBR) meetings aren’t focused on the “Client’s Business Review” but the “MSP’s Business Review” then engagement drops and the relationship gets mired in the technology partnership level. Although it raises a concern about the scalability of the process - as account manager employees seem to have trouble engaging executives with real business discussions - there are best practices that can be applied to empower employees to elevate the conversation.

In this blog we collected five great conversation starters that will generate huge engagement among high-value client business owners and executives. Your growth need not stagnate just because you as a business owner are the only one who can deliver these meetings.

Topics: IT Client Engagement QBR Quarterly Business Review
5 min read

How to get out of your “Client Engagement Debt”

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 17, 2020

As a Technology Provider, you’ve undoubtedly encountered the symptoms of your clients' "Technology Debt." This is the manifestation of the inherent costs of perpetual support for less-than-optimal technology. This is a drain on both you and the client. Client Engagement Debt is a similar concept that encompasses the implied cost of not having enough quality Account Management, Technical Account Management, vCIO or IT Consulting activities with your clients. This costs you money, erodes trust, loses opportunities and even lowers the value your clients see in your services. Let’s take a look at how much debt you have and how to get rid of it this year.

Topics: vCIO IT Client Engagement QBR Technical Account Manager Quarterly Business Review
6 min read

2019 / 2020

By Denes Purnhauser on Dec 20, 2019

Good news for you as a Managed Services Platform member! Unlike you, the majority of your MSP competitors are still

  • Not delivering consistent high impact QBRs to their clients, and let them wonder what they’re paying for
  • Not delivering visible business value, only trying to look like it
  • Not adopting new services such as cybersecurity, vCIO or Application Management
  • Not winning deals with profitable clients, only growing with low margins with a demanding client base

As a member of the Managed Services Platform, you’re way ahead. Let’s quickly review how you’ve been ahead of the curve in 2019 and how you’re going to be even more competitive next year.

Check out this quick summary of the updates in 2019 and what is coming in 2020!

4 min read

Managed Services Platform Account Manager Report 2019

By Dr Peter Torbagyi on Dec 13, 2019

In our previous blog post, we reviewed how we typically see our vCIO community members from 2019, so now let’s look at another report regarding our other active community of more than 700 account managers that are working with us today.

Topics: IT Account Management Win New Clients Technical Account Manager Managed Services Platform
8 min read

How to Become a Trusted Advisor With Strategic Client Meetings

By Denes Purnhauser on Dec 12, 2019

Most MSPs are facing the commoditization trap. Competition is getting fierce, price pressure is constant, it’s hard to get in front of prospects and selling additional services like cyber security or IT consultation is tough.

There is one telltale sign each MSP should look for of declining client engagement which leads to the downward spiral of less connection, less stickiness (retention) and eventually less profitability.

In this blogpost we are going to learn about this telltale sign, how you can identify whether your MSP is affected and what to do to overcome the problem.

Topics: vCIO IT Client Engagement
4 min read

Managed Services Platform vCIO Report 2019

By Dr Peter Torbagyi on Dec 6, 2019

Managed Services Platform's vCIO community has been growing year by year since 2014. In fact, we are most likely now the largest active vCIO community in the world with more than 600 members. With this news, we have decided to create a short report regarding how we typically see our vCIO members across the globe.

Topics: vCIO Virtual Chief Information Officer Virtual CIO CIO IT Client Engagement
2 min read

5 Reasons You Lose Deals to Your Competitors

By Mark Woldman on Oct 18, 2019

Are you struggling to sell Managed Services?

If you are struggling to sell services, don't worry, you are not alone. MSPs of all sizes are feeling the pinch when it comes to sales, so this struggle is not exclusive to you. 

Factors such as increases in competition, frugal clients, poor product positioning, diminishing referrals and lack of overall strategy, cumulatively contribute to a continual decline in sales.

Leads are at an all time low and the cost of generating leads is at an all time high. In light of this, it is more important than ever to utilize ways to set yourself apart from the crowd, secure your role as an industry expert and thus, gain credibility from existing and future clients.

Topics: IT Sales Person IT Sales MSP IT Consultative Sales Win New Clients
9 min read

Accelerate Your Growth with the new features just released

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 18, 2019

I am happy to introduce the sets of software features, updated templates, expert guide content and super specific programs to accelerate your growth! If your Account Management is not producing project revenues, your vCIO is not getting paid for advice, your Sales people are not getting leads or your cyber security services are not being sold then this release is for you! This is what we are going to cover:

  1. New Software Features for Growth
  2. Expert Guides for Growth
  3. Role Specific Programs for Growth
  4. Quarterly Sprints for Growth
Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Business Building for IT Companies IT Account Management IT Client Engagement NIST Cyber Security Implement New IT Services Win New Clients Profitable Operations Technical Account Manager Skip Ziegler
4 min read

Unleash Your Growth Potential

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 11, 2019

Whether you’re a “one-man-band”, an emerging MSP with a handful of people, a team about to reach the 20 people mark or even a large 50+ organization you have one thing in common: you may have reached a growth plateau and want to unleash your potential to get to the next level. In hindsight you can recognize that it all comes back to bottlenecks in your organization’s capabilities to unleash those potentials role by role: Account Management, vCIO, Technical Account Management, IT Sales, Cyber Security and even the owners. All of them have low-hanging-fruit opportunities and by snagging those you can get to the next level in a smooth, predictable way.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers MSP IT Account Management IT Client Engagement Implement New IT Services Win New Clients Profitable Operations Managed Services Platform
2 min read

How Do I Get Visitors to Engage with My Website?

By Russell Stalters on Oct 8, 2019

How to Do I Get Visitors to Engage with My Website?

I mentioned this in my last Blog post. We live in a very “noisy” world and we need to grab their attention in less than a couple of seconds.

This is true for our website too. People don’t read website content any longer. When someone lands on your homepage they will start skimming the page very quickly to decide if they want to spend more time diving deeper.

Topics: Inbound Marketing for IT Companies MSP Marketing for IT Companies Win New Clients StoryBrand
5 min read

How you steal money from your own MSP and how to stop doing it

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 4, 2019

Unfortunately this is not a cheap cliffhanger title just to grab your attention. You’re reading it on your mobile so I’ll be brief like a bumper sticker: you steal money from your own MSP because you address the symptoms of problems with tactical Bursts of effort. That only generates more work and expends resources to generate tiny bits of unsustainable value. Sure, you feel busy and productive, but you don’t solve the problems in the long run. Sound familiar? Let's take an example and see how to fix it with Smart Goals and an action plan.

Topics: MSP IT Account Management IT Client Engagement QBR
5 min read

7 Smart Tips to Maximize Your Continuum Help Desk Partnership

By Josh Weiss on Sep 18, 2019

After my business grew from a break/fix it tech provider to a full fledged MSP, it was clear that I needed to offer 24/7 Help Desk service. I weighed the options and decided to outsource this role, choosing specifically to partner with Continuum’s Pittsburgh team. This partnership has thrived for the last 4+ years, expanding to encompass our Server Management, Security Operations, Network Management roles and more.

But, even though Continuum is an excellent partner, I learned the hard way that outsourcing a core operational process, like a Help Desk, can not be treated like ‘set it and forget it’. There are instances where it will not fulfil your needs... where you have to tailor it to fit your business. I also learned that the only way to take advantage of all that it offers is by first understanding how it works. It took me years and many mishaps to figure that out.

Topics: MSP Profitable Operations Help Desk Continuum
2 min read

How to Make Managed Service Provider Marketing Better

By Russell Stalters on Sep 11, 2019

Here are two ways to make your making better.

Managed Service Providers (MSPs) most often have really complex solutions. One challenge most people in the IT industry suffer is the “curse of knowledge”. The term was coined by Chip and Dan Heath back in 2006 and then they wrote about it in their 2007 book, “Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die”. Later, Lee Lefever described practical ways to combat the “curse of knowledge” in his book “The Art of Explanation: Making your Ideas, Products, and Services Easier to Understand”. I highly recommend both of these books to anyone who is marketing and selling IT solutions.

Topics: Inbound Marketing for IT Companies MSP Marketing for IT Companies Win New Clients StoryBrand MSP Marketing
2 min read

Make Your MSP Blog a IT Sales Tool

By Derek Marin on Sep 6, 2019

Okay, you just exchanged business cards with the owner of an accounting firm during a chamber event. 

He said, “Sure, let’s plan on meeting some time over the next 2 weeks.

Awesome! You left the event with a qualified lead! Plus, he agreed to meet and he already shook your hand. 

The problem, because we all know it’s never that easy, is that there’s a delay. You couldn’t ask him much of anything, and nevermind describing what makes your MSP unique.

There’s no set date for the appointment, and who knows, he may bump into a competitor or research online in the next 10 days!

So, what do we do now?

Topics: Managed Services Providers Inbound Marketing for IT Companies IT Sales MSP Demand Generation for IT Companies Marketing for IT Companies IT Consultative Sales Win New Clients
4 min read

Why your QBRs are costing you, customers

By Adam Walter on Sep 2, 2019

For those of us who have been in technology for a while, we have seen some pretty crazy setups from well-meaning people. Largely this is because we have very smart capable people trying to work in environments with limited knowledge.  Most were trying their hardest but just didn’t know any better.  

Some of the crazy things I saw back in the day were “vlans” that were actually just subnets, firewalls with giant holes in the ruleset, and unrestricted VPNs that were completely insecure. These mistakes were not made by lazy admins, they were made by well-intentioned technicians that didn’t know they were doing anything wrong. All they knew was that things were working smoothly.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual CIO IT Client Engagement QBR Adam Walter Quarterly Business Review
4 min read

The 4 roles that make you a high value business partner

By Denes Purnhauser on Aug 30, 2019

Transforming your Basic IT Service Provider company into a high-value business partner is a study in communication - why you communicate, what you communicate and who is communicating to whom. There are four roles that are critical to your relationship with your clients. The communication from these four critical roles will determine whether your company is becoming a commodity or a differentiated brand. Let’s take a look at these roles and what you can do to make sure their communication will be excellent.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales IT Account Management IT Client Engagement Technical Account Manager
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.

Topics: IT Account Management IT Client Engagement Technical Account Manager
8 min read

The 4 Steps of Successful Cyber Security Service Monetization

By Caleb Christopher on Aug 15, 2019

In my observation, previously working for an managed service provider 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?

Topics: IT Sales NIST Cyber Security Implement New IT Services IT Security IT Business Development
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:

Topics: IT Sales Person IT Sales IT Consultative Sales
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”

Topics: vCIO Virtual CIO IT Client Engagement Strategic Leadership Disruptive MSP Adam Walter
2 min read

What does EOS have to do with becoming a Cloud Service Provider

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 Service Provider (CCSP). And what I've realized as I've worked with different clients is that one shoe doesn't fit all...

Topics: Implement New IT Services Cloud Services
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?

Topics: IT Account Management IT Client Engagement Technical Account Manager
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!

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.

Topics: vCIO IT Account Management IT Client Engagement
2 min read

Monetize Microsoft 365 Cloud 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 Anderson has been successfully validating the opportunities behind Microsoft 365 discovery processes and cloud services. Adam has built a remarkable audit process for turning productivity issues into projects.

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Sales Implement New IT Services Cloud Services Client Success
1 min read

6 Best Practices of Top Performing vCIOs

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: vCIO Virtual CIO IT Client Engagement Adam Walter
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.

Topics: IT Client Engagement
3 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.

3 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. 

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.

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:

Topics: vCIO IT Management Virtual CIO IT Consultative Sales IT Account Management MSP Pricing
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.

Topics: Managed Services Providers Business Building for IT Companies MSP
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.

 

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Management Business Building for IT Companies MSP QBR Quarterly Business Review
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.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Business Building for IT Companies IT Account Management MSP Pricing
6 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 managed service provider 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.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Management IT Account Management
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....

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO MSP Pricing
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.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers MSP Virtual CIO IT Account Management QBR Quarterly Business Review
3 min read

Packaging and Delivering Scalable vCIO Services

By Dr Peter Torbagyi 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.

Topics: vCIO Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO Managed Services Platform
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?

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers MSP CIO IT Account Management
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.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers MSP Virtual CIO CIO IT Account Management
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.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Management MSP CIO IT Account Management
4 min read

3 Best IT reports for MSPs looking to better communicate 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.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person MSP Virtual CIO CIO IT Consultative Sales Managed Services Platform
5 min read

Terrible buying process for Managed Services

By Dr Peter Torbagyi 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:

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers MSP IT Consultative Sales
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.

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers MSP
5 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!

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers MSP Marketing for IT Companies MSP Bestseller Series
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...

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Management MSP
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.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person IT Management MSP Demand Generation for IT Companies Marketing for IT Companies Virtual CIO IT Consultative Sales
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. 

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Business Building for IT Companies MSP Virtual CIO CIO
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.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO
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.

Topics: vCIO IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO
3 min read

Quick calculation formula for vCIO opportunities

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 5, 2016

The other day I made some calculation with a client about vCIO services. Fortunately it is very easy to calculate your opportunity in creating a profitable and scalable vCIO service offering.

We’ve simplified things for faster calculation, but it’s good to clearly understand what’s at stake. We see three categories in which we can lose or earn money.

Topics: vCIO Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO
5 min read

How Slack app can be a revenue generator for your MSP

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 29, 2016

Last week we went through how we can stop giving out free advice and making consultation a revenue generator. Let’s see that in practice. Our example today is Slack app, the latest silicon valley unicorn (1B+ valuation). Slack, in most cases, is a free tool designed to enhance your internal communication. So how can we as cloud service providers deliver value and earn revenue with this great tool.

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Sales MSP IT Consultative Sales Implement New IT Services Cloud Services
7 min read

The Fall of the Era of Free IT Advice

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 21, 2016

Many IT managed services providers (MSPs) and internet telephony service providers (ITPs) are suffering the challenges of charging for IT consultation. The IT industry has taught its customers that we sell big expensive boxed packages that come with free consultation, placing the value in the big boxes and none in the advice. There are no big expensive boxes anymore, but still the advice remains free. However a systemic shift is taking shape finally reversing this conundrum. It is about offering low-cost SaaS applications and solutions with high-grade consultation fees, placing more value in the advice rather than the tool.

Topics: vCIO IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer IT Sales MSP Virtual CIO CIO IT Consultative Sales
2 min read

Execute your IT Strategy: interview with Gary Harpst

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 15, 2016

We are continuing the “MSP 2.0 bestseller” series in January, as well. The pick for this month is Gary Harpst - Six Disciplines of Excellence. Gary has been a part of the IT industry since being the founder of the well known ERP solution Solomon Software that was sold to Great Plains then to Microsoft. After the acquisition he shifted his focus to one question: how to help companies to execute their strategies. He has put together a very solid methodology in a program called “Six Disciplines” and written a book about this topic. This book is in my top 10 business books and has changed my way of thinking.  I was privileged to meet him in person and have a long talk about these challenges.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Business Building for IT Companies MSP MSP Bestseller Series
15 min read

7 Requirements for a Scalable vCIO Offering

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 11, 2016


The MSP 2.0 model is catching fire around the world. Many MSPs have already started to design, sell and deliver vCIO services. Adding $2.000 - $4000 of vCIO monthly recurring revenue (MRR) to a current 40 seat $5000 MSP MRR is now doable but requires some preparation. We’re going to take a look at the requirements (which can be easily overlooked) of the delivery to make sure we make it profitable.
All seven requirements center around a common set of principles: realizable expectations, efficiency in execution, excellent communication, and transparency.

Let's see the requirements one by one:

Topics: vCIO IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO
2 min read

Transform your MSP sales approach

By Denes Purnhauser on Dec 8, 2015


Branden Baker, President of Integration Technologies from Hawaii is a modern Tom Selleck. He shares a story about the transformation of his IT sales approach.

His team had not been able to close any managed services provider deals for more than a year. But he got involved in the virtual CIO conversation and after only a few weeks he landed his first monster six-figure deal. 

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Sales Business Building for IT Companies MSP Virtual CIO Client Success
2 min read

Break Your IT Sales Barriers with Ian Altman

By Denes Purnhauser on Dec 4, 2015

We are starting our "MSP 2.0 bestseller" monthly book review. We want to start strong, so the first book of this series is the new consultative selling holy bible, Same Side Selling. The co-author, Ian Altman, CEO of Grow My Revenue, is a sales visionary, bestselling author, Forbes contributor and keynote speaker.

While speaking with Ian it became clear he knows how to win the hardest battle IT managed services providers have ever faced: commoditization of the IT infrastructure services and the resulting price pressure, shrinking margins, and the lack of differentiation from competition.

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Sales MSP MSP Bestseller Series IT Consultative Sales Win New Clients Managed Services Platform
2 min read

MSP Financial Intelligence with Larry Cobrin

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 27, 2015

Larry Cobrin, CEO/Founder of MSP CFO, has been working on a project to make financials available for IT managed services provider to make better decisions. In my first call with him I knew we needed him to talk about finances! I was fascinated by his insights about clients’ profitability trends, classifying them and taking actions for better profitability.

He shares a lot of hints and tips about different data you need to look into (which are mostly available already in your PSA) for your organization to make better decisions. If you feel you are leaving money on the table check out this interview!

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer Business Building for IT Companies MSP
2 min read

MSP 2.0 Podcast

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 27, 2015

We have been producing interviews with MSP Thought Leaders and with our clients for more than a year now. We started this as an ad-hoc practice to usher great MSP 2.0 insights into the community. People seem to be enjoying the free interview format without presentation, special offers and other sales tactics.

Now with over 16 interviews we’ve received a ton of feedback and the message we’re getting most often is to make the content available in a podcast format. Many people like listening to these inspiring talks during their commute, or just in the background.

So we have transferred all videos to a Podcast format and it’s available here.

Topics: vCIO Virtual Chief Information Officer IT Sales Business Building for IT Companies MSP Marketing for IT Companies
3 min read

Closing 11 Virtual CIO contracts in 3 weeks

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 20, 2015

Greg Tanner from Denver is a maverick, no question about it. His “Technology Quarterback™” slogan has become a meme among the MSP 2.0 community. We spoke the other day and I am still speechless. He started crafting this vCIO offering back in June, piece by piece, and started selling it in early October. Since then he’s closed 11 virtual CIO contracts with over 20K MRR! In this video, Greg shares the secrets to these amazing results. Be aware, he has very strong opinions about MSP 2.0. (Even stronger than me - Haha!)

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Virtual Chief Information Officer IT Sales Business Building for IT Companies MSP Virtual CIO CIO
10 min read

12 mistakes most MSPs make with their Virtual CIO services

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 19, 2015

The Virtual CIO phenomenon is not new, yet the promises of the role have not been realized across the industry. Some mature MSPs who believe they have a functioning Virtual CIO practice, on closer inspection, still show challenges with delivery, scalability and profitability.

While we could go in depth to identify the root of these problems, instead here we'll highlight the twelve most common mistakes MSPs make with their vCIO. At the end of this article there is a questionnaire where you can measure yourself against other MSPs.

#update - We released this blog a year ago. This is an updated version covering the latest developments. It seems that the MSP 2.0 community was able to solve most of the issues during the last year. These mistakes now can be prevented. It has been a long year, for sure... :-)

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Demand Generation for IT Companies Virtual CIO CIO IT Consultative Sales
3 min read

10 ways MSPs are leaving money on the table

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 15, 2015


Keeping up the margins for IT managed services providers is getting harder and harder. The competition is catching up and while needs of the clients keeps growing, the price still seems to be dropping - and many IT companies are making a practice of leaving money on the table. Let's look at 10 things you can fix to prevent losing money every day.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO IT Consultative Sales
3 min read

Increase revenue with process related Virtual CIO services

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 8, 2015

Ryan Williams is a superstar CEO of the ProcessPlan SaaS application. He really knows the MSP arena well, as he is also VP of Business Development for the MSP Nexxtep

I was intrigued to have an interview with him because of my belief that IT companies are specialists in process. Clients need process management experts, but that’s usually seen as a management role, and not a tech discipline. Ryan has changed this with his tool: ProcessPlan is awesome software that can be used for planning and managing processes. It makes the process problems tech problems, so the IT managed services providers can leverage them to sell process related Virtual CIO services to their clients.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO
2 min read

Cold calling best practices with Carrie Simpson

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 1, 2015

Carrie Simpson, Founder and CEO of Managed Sales Pros is the one and only MSP Cold Calling guru- an expert on what drives tangible results. Though we are very much focused on the inbound marketing side of lead generation, we cannot deny the potential performance of cold calling.

I was really interested in her best practices in getting leads over the phone, and surprised by some of the hints and tips Carrie shared with me. She talks on how to overcome call reluctance, how to build a winning script, and how to best manage the time investment.  

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers Inbound Marketing for IT Companies IT Sales MSP Marketing for IT Companies
3 min read

Building Starter vCIO Services

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 1, 2015

There is no question that vCIO service is no longer a nice to have service offering for IT managed services providers.

  • It is a needed offensive strategy to tap into the growth potential of the prospects with high maturity.
  • It is a perfect defensive strategy to keep the prices up and protect our client base from low price entrants.

However, the delivery of IT Management services is not entirely new; most IT companies have some issue to monetize on this opportunity.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer Virtual CIO Implement New IT Services
4 min read

5 ways MSPs can leverage Business Model Canvas 

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 24, 2015

Business Model Canvas has been a very hot management tool recently. Personally I have created 100+ Business Models over the last couple years for clients and for our companies. One of our companies is even a "Use Case" in the Hungarian edition of the Business Model Generation Book. We have developed different ways for IT managed services providers to use the tool for different reasons. Let's take a look at 5 practical ways to leverage this tool.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person IT Sales Business Building for IT Companies MSP Virtual CIO CIO
3 min read

Implementation of the Virtual CIO Services with Rich Anderson

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 17, 2015

Implementing vCIO services can be a challenge. New ways of thinking, new lines of services, pricing and packaging, and service delivery all abound. Rich Anderson, CEO of Imagine IT has been working on this for a couple of months now. I asked him about his experiences, challenges, solutions and results. If you are thinking on implementing Virtual CIO services, or if you have been working on that already, let’s pick his brain. He’ a smart guy and explains everything very clearly with tons of hints and tips. Enjoy!

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO Client Success
6 min read

Starting vCIO projects the right way

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 11, 2015

Many IT managed services providers see opportunities with their clients that aren’t related to the existing infrastructure. Clients are instead looking for help deciding which CRM they should use; how they should migrate their many Excel spreadsheets to a Process Management application or with something else that needs IT management expertise. You want to help them, of course; you are the trusted advisor, even a dedicated vCIO. The main question is: how do you start a project AND start charging for your project management duties from day one?

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO
5 min read

How to turn an unknown visitor into a lead easier than you thought

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 4, 2015

We’ve been talking about the 4+1 Website Sins Preventing MSPs from getting more MSP leads. Many of you are asking, "Okay. I know our MSP website doesn’t generate leads like we wish it did, but we don’t have the money and time to re-work it, so what do you suggest?" 

Here we describe a process to add elements to your current MSP website in under 60 minutes and generate leads.

Topics: Managed Services Providers Inbound Marketing for IT Companies MSP Demand Generation for IT Companies Marketing for IT Companies Win New Clients
3 min read

Leveraging the IT Quarterly Business Reviews

By Denes Purnhauser on Aug 21, 2015

Many IT managed services providers are doing some type of Quarterly Business Reviews (QBR) and most have trouble delivering it with the right cadence and voice.  It’s too technical and fails to shows business value to the executive team. Introducing QBRs poorly can backfire and land the MSP into a more technical role. Let's take a look at some cool techniques to engage clients with Quarterly Business Reviews.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO IT Account Management QBR Quarterly Business Review
1 min read

Calculating the utilization and profitability of a vCIO

By Myles Olson on Aug 20, 2015

How many clients can a vCIO viably service, and what is the utilization rate? How much revenue does a virtual CIO need to generate? What is the W2 goal rate for a virtual CIO? Many questions like these need to be examined if we want to structure our virtual CIO services successfully. Let's use the vCIO calculation sheet to figure it out!

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO
3 min read

How to transition from the server room to the boardroom

By Myles Olson on Jul 29, 2015

This week's question: How do I become a virtual CIO when I'm “just a tech?”  This week Denes and Myles Olson discuss a path to transition to the virtual CIO role. You may be more comfortable in the server room, but now you're needed in the boardroom.

Topics: vCIO IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO IT Consultative Sales
3 min read

Reporting vCIOs in the United States of America

By Dr Peter Torbagyi on Jul 17, 2015

After Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, we take a look at vCIOs in the United States.  70% of all registered Virtual CIOs operate in the USA. Because of this dominance the US vCIO trends are often difficult to separate from the international scene. When we talk about US trends, we are talking about the international trends at the same time.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer Virtual CIO CIO
2 min read

Reporting vCIOs in Australia

By Dr Peter Torbagyi on Jul 10, 2015

As part of our work with companies in the process of implementing virtual CIO services we are interested in the general vCIO movement worldwide. So we’ve created a series of research discussions country by country.

Although the largest vCIO movement is resident in the U.S.A., we also observe distinct trends in other countries where the movement is under way. Having looked now at Canada and New Zealand, let's travel to Australia and see where the vCIOs reside down under.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer Virtual CIO CIO
3 min read

Reporting vCIOs in New Zealand

By Dr Peter Torbagyi on Jul 2, 2015

As part of our work with companies in the process of implementing vCIO services we are interested in the general virtual CIO movement worldwide. So we’ve created a series of research discussions country by country.

Although the largest virtual CIO movement is driven by the US, we think it’s important to have a global perspective so we try to present trends of other countries where the movement is visible. After Canada, let's travel to New Zealand and see how the kiwi vCIOs live.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer Virtual CIO CIO
2 min read

Reporting vCIOs in Canada

By Dr Peter Torbagyi on Jun 22, 2015

We work with a variety of companies that are implementing vCIO services, and think it’s important to have a perspective on the general vCIO movement worldwide. We have thus created a series of research country by country.

Although the largest vCIO movement is driven by the US, we are starting this series of analysis on our home soil. So let’s see how the Virtual CIO movement is doing in Canada.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer Virtual CIO CIO
4 min read

The secret to making money for IT consultation

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 19, 2015

We have been using a very basic management tool called the 10 Point Exercise, where the goal is to channel client issues into a defined consulting "product" rather than just having discussions pro-bono….getting people together to ask specific questions, getting everything out on the table and developing a plan. It’s easy to learn and it turns IT tech guys into business advisors in 20 minutes.  Most importantly though it let them charge for their knowledge instead of giving it away. Let's see how...

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO IT Consultative Sales
1 min read

Escape the free-advice MSP trap once and for all

By Myles Olson on Jun 19, 2015


Have you ever been asked for IT advice with the expectation that it comes free of charge, and even takes time away from your paying work? Of course you have. The moment it’s discovered that you know about technology you become the go-to guy for reliable “free” advice.
 
Worse, this isn’t limited to friends and family. Your clients are doing it too, and you let them because you’re a kind person who’s passionate about helping people and savvy with technology, and the people asking aren’t consciously trying to steal your time. The problem is once you’ve set this precedent with your clients it becomes difficult to shed the expectation you’ll help for free.
 
You may also be needed to give advice on IT you know works and should be implemented, but aren’t the expert on. How do you charge for advice about something you can’t explain like the engineer who made it? The vCIO 10 point exercise is your solution! Find it here and take part in the video Q&A for more information.
Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO
4 min read

Get out of the MSP commoditization trap

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 12, 2015

One of the more common problems we see IT managed services providers suffer is increasing difficulty with the commoditization of services and differentiation within the industry. There are three factors involved here that we need to understand and manage to solve these problems. 

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers Business Building for IT Companies MSP Virtual CIO CIO
1 min read

What the heck is the MSP marketing funnel?

By Myles Olson on Jun 12, 2015

Denes and Myles discuss the top, middle and bottom of the MSP marketing funnel and how it relates to the buyer's journey through your marketing process.  Understand what type of marketing works at the different levels. Follow these steps to learn how to define your buyer-personas so your marketing efforts directly target your ideal customers.

Topics: Inbound Marketing for IT Companies MSP Demand Generation for IT Companies Marketing for IT Companies
4 min read

Why do most professionals charge for advice while we MSPs do not?

By Denes Purnhauser on May 25, 2015

Isn't it a bit perplexing that doctors and lawyers can ask for $400 per hour for any and every consultation, but IT service providers are too shy to ask for $200 for their expert advice and often just give it for free? Why is the highest possible value MSPs give to the clients so devalued? Let's investigate this discrepancy and check out a couple quick tips for a solution. We are going to take a cue from Dentists.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Virtual Chief Information Officer IT Sales MSP
3 min read

Convert a business problem to an IT problem with ease

By Denes Purnhauser on May 19, 2015


A basic truth of sales is that you need to associate your services and products with the pain-points of your customers, so that what you offer is thought of when those problems arise. IT managed services providers are selling high-level concepts when the client has manifesting pain-points: slow server, slow internet, outages, severe duty service, etc. But what can an MSP do for a client who doesn’t recognize the snags and hurdles they have? Let’s take a look at an easy 5 minute solution to this problem.

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Sales MSP Marketing for IT Companies IT Consultative Sales
4 min read

Proactive Customer Development: Leverage your QBRs

By Denes Purnhauser on May 5, 2015

Most IT managed services providers are quite proud of how proactive they are, especially in terms of technical services like maintenance, antivirus, warranty, etc. However, if we look at their client's IT savvy, operational maturity, and  IT enablement, this is less true. Here are four easy tips to leverage Quarterly Business Reviews and implement the proactive mindset on a higher level.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Virtual Chief Information Officer IT Sales MSP Virtual CIO CIO QBR Quarterly Business Review
6 min read

The 6 Reasons MSPs Tend to Over-Deliver

By Denes Purnhauser on Apr 22, 2015

One of the most common laments we hear from IT managed services providers is over-delivery of too many different services. They feel they serve their clients more than needed and the services go unused by the clients. Account managers end up doing more IT consulting than they should, demands for IT consultation are unlimited, and the IT company invests time on IT projects that never start. Here we delve into the root of the problems and learn what to do about them!

Clients will start with questions like “What is the best application for this problem? Why are people not productive? How do we manage various IT related vendors?”, etc. However most IT companies do not have the right model for IT consultancy, and try to address those needs without a viable revenue model.

The result of over-delivery is diminished return on service investment. Not only do we do too much but at the same time we set unreasonable expectations with the client. We teach them that we do it for free, or that any request is covered already, and that blocks our ability to implement a profit model, if we even have one.

Let's quickly see the six causes of over-delivery and review a solution.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Virtual Chief Information Officer IT Sales MSP Virtual CIO CIO IT Consultative Sales
7 min read

4+1 Website Sins Preventing MSPs from getting more leads

By Denes Purnhauser on Apr 16, 2015

After talking with dozens of IT managed services providers and analyzing more than 500 MSP websites, we have a pretty clear understanding why the online marketing of MSPs has been broken. If you are reliably and predictably generating the right leads then you can skip this - just check the short MSP website grader at the bottom. Otherwise stay tuned and read this short article.

Before we start, we need to establish one thing: "Clients we desire do not have IT problems anymore."

If they have visible IT problems, they are not good for us. Why? Well, if in 2015 a potential client has not been able to find someone who can take care of their basic IT needs we have to watch out. They either have not been able to or have not wanted to spend on IT.

Our best customers are the ones who understand IT and want more services because they think technology can deliver value to them.

The only way we’ll see qualifying prospects with visible IT problems in a given department is when the IT provider has been dropping the ball continually, and we all know this is happening less and less frequently.

Most potential clients have solved the MSP 1.0 problems: infrastructure, networks, devices, virtualization, and some cloud. We need those people because they want to move forward. These are our "best potential clients." Unfortunately, they have solved the traditional problems with someone else, but that does not dictate that they have to continue to solve their next challenges without us.

If we agree on this, we can now start analyzing why our current websites are not working.

Topics: Managed Services Providers MSP Demand Generation for IT Companies Marketing for IT Companies
6 min read

The 5 Levels of vCIO Operational Maturity

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 30, 2015

The Operational Maturity segmentation makes a lot of sense when trying to understand where to go with vCIO services and which next possible steps to take.
It demonstrates the current maturity of services in a descriptive way, explains the differences, and provides hints and tips toward the next step.This article demonstrates how to proceed as a virtual CIO with respect to levels of operational maturity.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer Business Building for IT Companies MSP Virtual CIO CIO
2 min read

Build your MSP with the help of virtual CIO services

By Myles Olson on Jan 14, 2015

Colin Knox is a true entrepreneur in the managed services provider industry. He’s been operating a very mature and well-polished boutique managed services provider in Calgary, Canada.

He’s also been recognized by Penton Technology Group in the ‘MSP Mentor 250’ which lists the best of the best managed service provider executives, entrepreneurs, experts, coaches and community leaders.

Colin’s service philosophy involves helping people grow and to that end giving them a chance to learn and develop into virtual CIOs. His business growth focuses on high level services.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer Business Building for IT Companies MSP Virtual CIO CIO Implement New IT Services
2 min read

What is the one business skill MSP leaders can teach their clients?

By Denes Purnhauser on Dec 23, 2014

Transitioning into the role of trusted advisor can be difficult even to get started. Most MSP leaders are more comfortable discussing technology rather than business. That’s part of the reason we work in IT in the first place. But it’s time to step out of that technology comfort zone.
 
There must be a way “tech” people can engage in business conversations with non-technical prospects and clients. There is vast opportunity for MSP leaders to leverage their natural business acumen and become trusted advisors, in some specific areas.
 
One of these often overlooked areas is how to ship or deliver their products and services in a profitable way. Imagine that?! One of the most important yet overlooked aspects of a business is one that defines profitability.
 
But why is an MSP leader always better here than most of his clients?
Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Virtual Chief Information Officer IT Sales MSP Virtual CIO CIO IT Consultative Sales
2 min read

What makes a good vCIO?

By Denes Purnhauser on Dec 3, 2014

Typically there is a certain type of personality that is best suited to the vCIO role.

  • They have some consultative background.
  • Their “down to earth” mentality suits working with small to medium business.
  • They tend to be systematic, process-oriented thinkers.
  • They understand how to put technology solutions into a business solutions context.

Chances are you possess many if not all of these traits. But who else on your team also fits the role? The idea here we’re looking at here is nurturing and developing ideal vCIO candidates to build a hyper-successful MSP in the modern marketplace - something one can't do alone. Let’s take a look at what that will require. 

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO Implement New IT Services
3 min read

Do You Know Your Customers?

By Myles Olson on Nov 30, 2014

Knowing to whom you want to sell your services is as important as knowing what you’re going to sell, if not more. Think about it an airline...would WestJet or Southwest Airlines be as successful as they are if they were trying to sell their frill-free economy class seats to the wealthy first-class traveler? Starbucks and Apple only offer products priced well above the average for coffee or computers with people lining up to pay. In fact I’m enjoying my Venti-Americano as I write this. So what makes these companies so successful at whatever they do? They’ve defined their ideal customer so well that now we as consumers identify ourselves with their products.

The good news: your business can do this too.

Topics: Marketing for IT Companies
5 min read

Trusted Advisor or Technician, Which Pays More?

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 28, 2014

Most IT managed services providers we work with suffer a fundamental problem: the definition of who they are. The lack of a clearly defined definition of the business can be the biggest obstacle they face to success in the MSP 2.0 environment. The statement "I am a tech" needs to change to "I am a IT consultant." Unfortunately people often underrate themselves because they lack an MBA or they’re uncomfortable with so called “sales.” This limits them and their teams in engaging with more clients and prospects in a meaningful business way.

However, being a business consultant is just a role, a mode of operation, a mindset and the subject can be anything technical. Consulting is a behavior, a set of skills and tools that anybody can learn and implement. We are creating a series about being a consultant so you can harness the power and reframe how your clients see you.

Topics: vCIO Managed Services Providers IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer IT Sales MSP Virtual CIO CIO IT Consultative Sales
7 min read

12 mistakes most MSPs make with their vCIO services

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 20, 2014

The virtual CIO phenomenon is not new, yet the promises of the role have not been realized across the industry. Some mature IT managed services providers who believe they have a functioning vCIO practice, on closer inspection, still show challenges with delivery, scalability and profitability.

While we could go in depth to identify the root of these problems, instead here we'll highlight the twelve most common mistakes MSPs make with their vCIO. At the end of this article there is a questionnaire where you can measure yourself against other IT companies.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers Virtual Chief Information Officer IT Sales Business Building for IT Companies MSP Demand Generation for IT Companies Marketing for IT Companies Virtual CIO CIO IT Consultative Sales
2 min read

Building up a 45 people rock solid MSP

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 6, 2014

Chris Day is a Maverick in the MSP world. He is running one of the most advanced and mature IT managed services providers with his partner Sharleen Oborowsky. I had a chance to have a chat with him and to dig deep on how they achieved that success in a short time.

Chris seemed to crack the code on growth: people and execution. He is an avid book reader, community builder, leader, and an authentic down to earth guy.

You can expect: great hints, tips, honesty, bold statements and no nonsense. If you are just a little serious about your managed services provider it is a must-watch video.

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Management Business Building for IT Companies MSP
3 min read

Why inbound marketing works for MSPs

By Myles Olson on Oct 27, 2014

Let’s begin with what makes inbound marketing great in general. It draws your target audience to you, so you don’t have to go to them. You become a trusted authority on your subject matter in your market. The concept is simple but there are some key points I see people often overlook.

First and most important to remember when you’re building your inbound marketing campaign is that you need to be continually adding to the content your audience is looking for. Your MSP’s clients are out there right now trying to find ways to make their businesses more efficient for less money.

If you’re not providing them the information they’re looking for, your competition will. Even if they aren’t actively shopping around for your services they are seeing articles, blog posting, and comments on their social media feeds. There’s a good chance you’re reading this right now because you saw it in your LinkedIn news feed. This is how inbound works.. 

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers Inbound Marketing for IT Companies Demand Generation for IT Companies Marketing for IT Companies
3 min read

Our first book: MSP 2.0 - The Managed Service Revolution

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 15, 2014

I have to admit we haven't done a lot of blogging lately and there hasn't been a lot of new content, sorry. We do have an excuse: we have completed a book about the MSP 2.0 business model.

We got your awesome feedback on our content- thanks - including the observations that our ideas were all in little pieces, lacking real connection. We needed a more comprehensive and linear format to digest this new concept, and thought that the best way to do so was to write a book. Have a look at what we have to offer in this format, and how you can become a contributing part of the story.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Management Business Building for IT Companies MSP Virtual CIO CIO IT Consultative Sales
4 min read

How does the current definition of "IT" hurt your MSP business?

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 9, 2014

There was a State of IT Budget Report - a microscopic view of North America IT spending in 2014 from Spiceworks (RMM tool) during the weekend. It was all about analysing IT expenditures based on a 450 sample size "IT Pro" survey.It was a good report, well-thought out and executed, but there was something bothersome to me that wasn’t the fault of Spiceworks: the general industry definition of scope of IT, and because this is the industry definition, it’s usually our clients’ as well.

Topics: Managed Services Providers IT Management Business Building for IT Companies MSP
5 min read

Monetizing Client Apps and SaaS Solutions the Smart Way

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 7, 2014

If you’re like me, you’re often evangelizing cool applications, services, and vendors to your clients. You have a cool feature on your Todo application, or you were able to integrate your CRM with LinkedIn, or you just collaborated with your team with an awesome project management tool. We spread the idea because we are advisors by nature. The question is how can we capitalize on this habit? How do we create service offerings around SaaS-based applications?

I hope you have read our monster blog article about the business model changes of the MSP. In this model there is an item called "Marketplace" in the partnership section, there are revenue streams called "Marketplace Commission" and "3rd Party project management," and there is an activity called "Resell Vendors, Applications."

The idea here is quite a common practice among IT managed services providers - finding a problem on the client side and helping them with an application. After deploying, manage the usage, subscription, and processes of the application. IT companies are mostly infrastructure providers, so they do these types of activities but in an ad-hoc way. What’s new here is the proactivity and a defined structure for these types of services.

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Sales Business Building for IT Companies MSP Implement New IT Services Cloud Services
2 min read

Practice-building or Business-building Discussion

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 4, 2014

James Vickery, a very progressive MSP CEO, had a couple of thought provoking questions. We’ve created a short talk to cover the issues he was curious about.

The main issues we are talking about:

  • Scalability of the consulting type businesses
  • The capacity of an average MSP 2.0 vCIO
  • Training and retaining high profile virtual CIOs
  • Managing, motivating and keeping virtual CIOs
  • Building the practice for ourselves or building a business
  • Transitioning to the MSP 2.0 business model
  • Importance of checking the current and future business model
  • Importance of very consciously developing services

Check the audio file for the 20 minute talk here:

Topics: vCIO IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer Business Building for IT Companies MSP Virtual CIO CIO
2 min read

Webinar Takeaways on Selling IT Security and Compliance

By Denes Purnhauser on Aug 15, 2014

It was a really engaging talk with Steve Rutkovitz CEO of Choice CyberSecurity. He is a very successful MSP practitioner specializing in IT Security and Compliance.

We were talking about MSP challenges, strategies, IT consultative sales processes, IT security and compliance opportunities and partnerships, and I learned the following:

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Sales Business Building for IT Companies MSP IT Consultative Sales NIST Cyber Security IT Security
5 min read

MSP Game Changer IT Sales Ideas From The Book - The Challenger Sale

By Denes Purnhauser on Aug 13, 2014

I have been dancing around the intention to read a book called "The Challenger Sale" but kept not having the chance. There’s no shortage of titles to choose from regarding sales, and it can be know where to put one’s limited reading time, but last week Steve Rutkovitz a peer MSP CEO, said that this is a must read. He’s a smart guy and I gave it a try....
 
To be honest, that was one of the greatest books I have ever read in years especially in B2B sales. It was so refreshing, straight to the point, and so aligned with what we’re trying to do. So I decided to share my takeaways from the book by implementing them into the MSP sales process.
 
This book is not just ideas, concepts, or opinions. These are battle-tested facts supported thorough research with 6,500 samples. So enough of my accolades - let’s check out some thought-provoking concepts - in three big things:

Topics: IT Sales Person Managed Services Providers IT Sales IT Consultative Sales Win New Clients
15 min read

The MSP 2.0 service offering in the 7C IT Management Framework

By Denes Purnhauser on Jul 27, 2014

We have been talking about the MSP 1.0 and MSP 2.0 business models recently. Now we are moving to the delivery side. What needs to be true to be able to say we do MSP 2.0?

The theories behind the business models are distinct from those behind the actual delivery. The MSP 2.0 model could be overwhelming as we’ve observed that changing the value proposition and solving the clients' IT management challenges means we must make numerous significant changes in our business approach.

We’ve developed the 7C IT Management Framework to solve this exact problem. It comprises a full suite of processes to enhance the IT management of clients in the 20-300 seat segment.
Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer IT Sales Business Building for IT Companies MSP Virtual CIO CIO IT Consultative Sales
17 min read

Cracking the code of the future of MSPs

By Denes Purnhauser on Jul 17, 2014

There’s been a lot of talk lately about a fundamental change in the MSP industry, and the subject may seem overwhelmingly complex. The change taking place is quite evident, but what’s inside the tornado? What is the force behind this change happening?

Understanding the underlying impetus will enable businesses to make more educated decisions where to drive their companies. Let’s demystify this change and put it in a very easy to digest format, as the core of the change is actually simple.

It is not our shortest Blog but I promise worth the read. You will see the change taking place and how it could help you drive enormous growth in the next couple years. So fasten your seatbelts!

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer IT Sales Business Building for IT Companies MSP Marketing for IT Companies Virtual CIO CIO
4 min read

The process of becoming the Trusted Advisor

By Denes Purnhauser on Jul 8, 2014

For Managed Services Providers (MSPs) the ultimate goal is becoming the ‘trusted advisor’ on all things IT.

We’ve created a process which enables MSPs to earn this trusted advisory role as fast as possible. The key is to understand the client, and in turn help them understand their situation and their opportunities.

Looking into the 7C Methodology and processes can be a tad overwhelming at first, we know. It’s so effective because it’s comprehensive, so there is a learning curve. However in our continuous effort to make everything as simple as possible, we’ll start by emphasising a couple of core concepts.

One of the crucial elements is the client reframing process. From the client’s perspective it’s a discovery process, the goal of which is to make the necessary transformation to start working with the client at a new level. The key component of the process is the Reframing 7C canvas workshop, where we ask questions of the client’s business in order to help the client rethink basic assumptions about IT and its management. Normally such a fundamental shift is a tough, very high level process, but if you’re properly prepared to ask the right questions and challenge the client, it can be a very easy and straightforward process.

Topics: IT Sales Person Virtual Chief Information Officer IT Sales Business Building for IT Companies Marketing for IT Companies IT Consultative Sales
4 min read

Why are clients lately needing more consultative work from MSPs?

By Denes Purnhauser on Jul 5, 2014

So we all agree that IT companies are facing challenging times, right? We all need to figure out a new business model in the near future. But what about the clients? Are they facing a similar problem? We have to take a good look at what’s happening on the client side to understand the trend.

We’ll use a chart to make the explanation easier. We’re looking at how things have changed in the last couple years, and where it could go. 

Topics: IT Sales Person IT Sales Business Building for IT Companies IT Consultative Sales
2 min read

MSP East vs West All Star Game

By Dr Peter Torbagyi on Jun 25, 2014

We have been producing a fair amount of research on the topic of MSPs offering vCIO services.

Because one of my colleagues is a great NBA fan, we’re now able to present the “MSP East vs. West all star” comparison.

Now we’re very sceptical guys, but since this is based on work with 591 IT managed services providers, we inclined to believe that this is a reasonable view of the real situation of the US Virtual CIO market.

But we like to be sure, and you could help us!

Topics: vCIO IT Management Virtual Chief Information Officer MSP Virtual CIO CIO
4 min read

The MSP Stories that lead Managed Services Platform projects

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 23, 2014

Some of you have been asking us about our background, who we are, and why we’re doing Managed Services Platform. 

Our Challenge

One of our companies at first was an IT managed services provider. We’ve since reintegrated it into our holding company, but think telling its history will be illuminating...

We discovered that while our clients always needed consultancy on IT in general, we lacked a viable model to do it both properly and profitably. We’ve tried to incorporate the consultancy into the MSP high-end package, and tried to do T&M. Neither approach was satisfactory.

But the pressure just gets heavier as we’ve been witnessing the evaporating services on our MSP practice, accompanied by ever increasing needs of the clients for IT management, vCIO, and 3rd-party-project management, all while IT gets more complex in terms of organization management.

Topics: vCIO IT Sales Person Business Building for IT Companies MSP IT Client Engagement Win New Clients
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