6 min read

vCIO: The Ultimate Guide

By Denes Purnhauser on Jul 10, 2020

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

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

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

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

The 6 Steps of the IT Consultative Sales Process

By Denes Purnhauser on Jun 25, 2020

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

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

5 Reasons You Lose Deals to Your Competitors

By Mark Woldman on Oct 18, 2019

Are you struggling to sell Managed Services?

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

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

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

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

Unleash Your Growth Potential

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 11, 2019

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

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

How Do I Get Visitors to Engage with My Website?

By Russell Stalters on Oct 8, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

By Denes Purnhauser on Oct 4, 2019


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

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

7 Smart Tips to Maximize Your Continuum Help Desk Partnership

By Josh Weiss on Sep 18, 2019

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

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

Topics: MSP Profitable Operations Help Desk Continuum
2 min read

How to Make Managed Service Provider Marketing Better

By Russell Stalters on Sep 11, 2019

Here are two ways to make your making better.

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

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

Make Your MSP Blog a IT Sales Tool

By Derek Marin on Sep 6, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

So, what do we do now?

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

Productized IT Strategy Guidance to clients and prospects

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 23, 2017

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

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

Systematic service development process

By Denes Purnhauser on Feb 17, 2017

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

 

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