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Build a Better MSP - Blog

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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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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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

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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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 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

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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