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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

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

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
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
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

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
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
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
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
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
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
Sign up for the Client Engagement Excellence Manifesto PDF coming end of January

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