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Build a Better MSP - Blog

2 min read

Building blocks for Strategic Engagements

By Skip Ziegler on Aug 23, 2019

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

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7 min read

The 4 Steps of Successful Cybersecurity Service Monetization

By Caleb Christopher on Aug 15, 2019

The problem

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

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3 min read

Why MSPs are not closing business enough

By Mark Woldman on Aug 5, 2019

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

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4 min read

Why vCIO Programs Fail

By Adam Walter on Jul 25, 2019

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

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

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

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2 min read

What does EOS have to do with becoming a CCSP

By Jamison West on Jul 25, 2019

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

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1 min read

How much time should you spend on account management activities?

By Myles Olson on May 31, 2019


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

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1 min read

The IT budget spreadsheet you never find time to build

By Myles Olson on May 31, 2019

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

Here you go!

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3 min read

Client Engagement Excellence Program

By Denes Purnhauser on May 31, 2019

Here is the Problem...

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

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2 min read

Monetize Microsoft 365 Services

By Denes Purnhauser on May 31, 2019

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

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

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1 min read

6 Best Practices of Top Performing vCIOs by Virtual-C

By Adam Walter on May 31, 2019

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

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

Topics: Virtual CIO
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2 min read

Get Buy in from Executives on Required Projects

By Denes Purnhauser on May 31, 2019

 

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

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

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

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

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2 min read

Bring your reports to life with embedded applications

By Myles Olson on May 31, 2019

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

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2 min read

Stop Dumping on your Clients

By Myles Olson on May 30, 2019

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

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3 min read

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

By Myles Olson on May 29, 2019

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

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2 min read

Start vCIO with Quick Productized Projects

By Denes Purnhauser on Mar 2, 2017

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

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

Let's see seven examples of typical vCIO products:

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4 min read

Productized IT Strategy Guidance to clients and prospects

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 23, 2017

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

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5 min read

Systematic service development process

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 17, 2017

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

 

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4 min read

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

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 9, 2017

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

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

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7 min read

ROI Calculation of the Account Management role

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 2, 2017

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

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4 min read

20% rule of vCIO pricing

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 26, 2017

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

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

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4 min read

Five principles behind an engaging Quarterly Business Review process

By Denes Purnhauser on Jan 12, 2017

 

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

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4 min read

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

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 9, 2016

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

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1 min read

Packaging and Delivering Scalable vCIO Services

By Péter Torbágyi on Oct 17, 2016

 

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

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4 min read

Where the MSP serving software industry is going

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 2, 2016

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

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

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

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

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6 min read

5 false Myths of Managed Services

By Denes Purnhauser on Aug 26, 2016

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

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

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4 min read

Managing "unrealistic" expectations

By Denes Purnhauser on Jul 25, 2016

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

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

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4 min read

Three canvases for MSPs to make communication work with clients

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 20, 2016

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

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5 min read

Terrible buying process for Managed Services

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 10, 2016


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

There are three major underlying issues causing this trouble:

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3 min read

Two ways to differentiate your MSP

By Denes Purnhauser on Apr 15, 2016

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

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4 min read

Scaling up your MSP with Verne Harnish

By Denes Purnhauser on Mar 31, 2016

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

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

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1 min read

What is your pink cable?

By Denes Purnhauser on Mar 16, 2016

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

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

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

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

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6 min read

4 Disciplines of MSP Service Development

By Denes Purnhauser on Mar 4, 2016

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

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

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

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

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7 min read

6 strategies to make MSP services more tangible

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 26, 2016

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

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

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4 min read

Trending Topics in the MSP 2.0 Peer groups

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 19, 2016

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

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2 min read

Teams vs individuals for IT management roles

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 11, 2016

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

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

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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.

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5 min read

How Slack 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, 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 IT service providers deliver value and earn revenue with this great tool.

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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.

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3 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.

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10 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.

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1 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 sales approach.

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

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3 min read

Break your 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.

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1 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!

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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.

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1 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!)

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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... :-)

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4 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.

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1 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.

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1 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.  

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1 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.

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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.

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1 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!

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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?

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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.

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1 min read

How to work on the business rather work in the business

By Denes Purnhauser on Sep 3, 2015


"Work on your business rather work in the business" is a bold statement. It is not that easy to put in practice. We have been working on a solution to make it way easier. This video shows you how to leverage the tool to build your MSP much faster.

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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.

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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 vCIO? Many questions like these need to be examined if we want to structure our vCIO services successfully. Let's use the vCIO calculation sheet to figure it out!

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1 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 discuss a path to transition to the vCIO role. You may be more comfortable in the server room, but now you're needed in the boardroom.

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1 min read

How to overcome the competition when they over-promise their services

By Myles Olson on Jul 22, 2015

In this installment of our weekly Q&A, Denes and Myles discuss how to deal with your MSP competition when they over-promise what you know they can’t deliver...strategies and tools you can use to demonstrate real value to your prospects and customers and be accountable in ways your clients can readily measure.  

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1 min read

Preparation for a vCIO budgeting meeting

By Denes Purnhauser on Jul 17, 2015

This week Denes talks about how to manage other vendors during the vCIO budgeting session. This small template can help you manage the discussion.

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2 min read

Defining vCIOs from around the world: Part 4 - United States

By Péter Torbágyi 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.

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2 min read

Defining vCIOs from around the world: Part 3 - Australia

By Péter Torbágyi 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.

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1 min read

Content creation for the right audience

By Myles Olson on Jul 8, 2015

This week Denes and Myles discuss how to define the target of your MSP marketing. As service providers we will have a spectrum of potential clients and it’s valuable to be able to identify them by their personas. Define them with clearly and in detail and you can tailor your social media, content and other marketing efforts to speak to your audience more personally.  Neat trick, eh?

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2 min read

Defining vCIOs from around the world: Part 2 - New Zealand

By Péter Torbágyi 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.

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1 min read

How to handle out of scope/specialty requests from clients

By Myles Olson on Jun 25, 2015

This week Denes and Myles discuss how to professionally handle client requests that don’t fall into specific projects or pre-defined services, and some that fall far outside the traditional MSP service repertoire.  What do you do with unconventional questions and requests?  Watch and find out.

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2 min read

Defining vCIOs from around the world: Part 1- Canada

By Péter Torbágyi 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.

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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...

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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.
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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. 

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1 min read

What the heck is the MSP marketing funnel?

By Myles Olson on Jun 12, 2015

MSP marketing funnel

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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4 min read

Boundaryless team

By Denes Purnhauser on Apr 8, 2015

The most boring section on a website - after the "Contact us" page - has to be the "About us" and "Our team" pages. As that was on our mind when we created our new website, we faced a challenge of what to put into the “About our team” section. Thus we’ve created a special page for our "boundaryless" organization. This includes all the technology solutions we are using (Google, Apple, HubSpot, Evernote, etc.), and we have given them real company roles. We have included the Founder managed services providers who help us to push the movement in the right directions, and we’ve further included all our friends who helped us in various ways..

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5 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.

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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.

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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?
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2 min read

Who's The Ideal vCIO Candidate?

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. 

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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: MSP Marketing
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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.

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8 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.

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1 min read

Building up a 45 people rock solid MSP

By Denes Purnhauser on Nov 6, 2014

Build up a rock solid MSP

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 MSP it is a must-watch video.

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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.. 

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4 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.

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3 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.

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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.

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1 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 vCIOs
  • 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:

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1 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 Technologies. He is a very successful MSP practitioner specializing in IT Security and Compliance.

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

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5 min read

MSP Game Changer 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:

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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.
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18 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!

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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.

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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. 

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2 min read

MSP East vs West All Star Game

By Péter Torbágyi 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!

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4 min read

The Story of the Struggle of an MSP that led to the ReframeYourClients Project

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 ReframeYourClients. 

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.

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9 min read

MSP 1.0 vs. MSP 2.0 [video]

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 20, 2014

MSP 1.0 is not widespread yet as a business model, and there is already the new 2.0 model.

What are the key differentiators between the two models? The following will refer to an average MSP 1.0 and MSP 2.0 practice.

We are assuming that the MSP 2.0 model is heavily supported by an MSP 2.0 framework, which is crucial. The differentiations may seem simplistic, but our aim is to show the possible limitations and challenges of the MSP 1.0 model, and the opportunities of the MSP 2.0.

Keep in mind that MSP 2.0 is not a substitution of the MSP 1.0 model. It is an expansion. You can move your existing 1.0 services forward, but with 2.0 as a companion the new options are going to be very promising.

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3 min read

3 ways to segment the market for MSP 2.0 services for maximum effect

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 17, 2014

Many MSPs are not able to well define their target segments. The result can be a huge sales effort with disappointing sales closes. There are three main differentiating factors we could use to fine tune service directed toward the different segments:

  • Industry, verticality
  • Seats
  • Complexity


IT managed services providers could divide their market among three segments described below to benefit from more focused communication and delivery strategies.

The 3 minute video discusses the segmentation based on seats and complexity.

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5 min read

How to decide whom to transfer from Time and Material to MSP contract?

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 7, 2014

Every IT managed services provider wants to convert as many Time and Material clients to MSP contracts as possible. However not every client can benefit from the advanced services of the proactive MSP model.
 
Based on our experience, our clients, and our ITCq research, we’ve found there are certain types of companies that could not consume the MSP recurring services.

Identifying these companies is always a struggle, so here are a couple of tips to properly selling the MSP services.
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1 min read

How to easily make business rise from the ashes of wasted time in the workplace milieu?

By Denes Purnhauser on May 29, 2014

Awesome material from Biz 3.0!

Wasted time in the workplace is a substantial problem. How big exactly is not clear, but from the research we’ve seen, the cost to business is in the millions (if not billions) in lost productivity every year. The infographic below explains just how much time we waste at work, the ways we waste it, and how businesses are now trying grappling with the issue. The results may surprise you.

Share this awesome Infographic with your clients, and then just listen (but be prepared with a social media policy template - a must-have for every MSP 2.0 vCIO), and you’ll have a natural launch to your sales process!

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6 min read

Why are MSPs struggling with sales these days?

By Denes Purnhauser on May 29, 2014

 
 
Yes, even the MSP industry seems to be growing, and the majority of indicators are positive. While every statistic from analytics has varying reports of industry growth, all of them are very optimistic.
 
However, when we talk to individual IT managed services providers with fewer than 20 people the picture does not seem so rosy. They’re reporting problems with sales, cloud adoption, and transferring time & material (T&M) contracts to IT companies.
 
The IT world has undergone fundamental changes, and clients are not knocking on managed services providers' doors anymore. The most common report is the struggle with sales, 
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6 min read

Hard truth: the network assessment can end up as the an MSP's worst enemy

By Denes Purnhauser on May 14, 2014


Most IT managed services providers are heavily dependent on some form of network assessment practice during their MSP sales process. They gather information on all the prospect’s devices, identify problems and performance-related issues, and then present a comprehensive report, with an action plan that aims to fix those problems.

Although this practice can surely help win over new clients, it also can be the single most important obstacle they face down the road, in terms of further work with them.

The mistake is that the network assessment puts the MSP into the "techy slot". This is a matter of the client's perspective; executives put potential vendors into this slot to make their busy livese easier and simplify their world. There are slots in the executives' minds for many things: roles as consultant, service provider, software company or industry, HR, IT, or accounting. 

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7 min read

The 3 building blocks of a remarkable MSP sales process

By Denes Purnhauser on May 12, 2014

I’ve been talking with a fellow MSP entrepreneur recently about sales. He’s been suffering the inability to find the right someone for MSP contract sales, so he or the other directors are saddled with the sales work.

This is actually the usual situation among IT managed services providers... I see it all the time. The directors, CEOs and company presidents, are doing the sales for MSP services and neglecting their bailiwicks...developing the business.

The problem however is not HR, but the nature of the operation. Usually, when you find yourself unable to hire someone, and the high level staff are stuck doing it, you only see that symptom and not the root cause. In this case, the operational problem is causing the HR problem. The process is so complex that it narrows your field of potential hires. Only those with the most experience can manage it, and those people are most needed in other roles.

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Research: World of Virtual CIOs on LinkedIn

By Péter Torbágyi on May 12, 2014

 

I was interested about the vCIO, vCTO, and Virtual Executive types of services. So my colleague Peter did some research on LinkedIn on the topic. Keep in mind everything herein is based on LinkedIn publicly accessible data...it’s interesting but there’s a limit to the depth of research you can do this way.So in general, I found that clearly the Virtual CIO industry is driven by the US. I can confirm this from personal experience, that American MSPs are much more comfortable with this term than European or even Canadian IT managed services providers.

  • since 70% of vCIOs are hired by companies with under 200 employees, and 9% to large organizations (10,000+), there must be some local support need for interim or part-time high level IT executives.
  • when looking at companies offering vCIO services, 97% have fewer than 50 employees and just over half (55%) have a staff roster of under 10.


Here’s our slide deck on our findings
:

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