A new customer of Managed Services Platform called us the other day: “Guys, I have a concerned client and risk going into a meeting completely unprepared. I want to do it professionally so they see I am fully organized on their needs, that I can get my ideas across and have an engaging meeting with them. Oh.. did I say I have only one hour?”. We helped this client shift from being reactive, defensive and unorganized to professional, confident and prepared by assembling their personal committed overview ready for the meeting in 30 minutes using our pre-built templates and software. This is how the risk was turned into opportunity.
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What would it feel like not just having great and engaging meetings with clients but being able to become true business partners? Progressive MSPs has been started because when the Quarterly Business Review (QBR) meetings aren’t focused on the “Client’s Business Review” but the “MSP’s Business Review” then engagement drops and the relationship gets mired in the technology partnership level. Although it raises a concern about the scalability of the process - as account manager employees seem to have trouble engaging executives with real business discussions - there are best practices that can be applied to empower employees to elevate the conversation.
In this blog we collected five great conversation starters that will generate huge engagement among high-value client business owners and executives. Your growth need not stagnate just because you as a business owner are the only one who can deliver these meetings.
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As a Technology Provider, you’ve undoubtedly encountered the symptoms of your clients' "Technology Debt." This is the manifestation of the inherent costs of perpetual support for less-than-optimal technology. This is a drain on both you and the client. Client Engagement Debt is a similar concept that encompasses the implied cost of not having enough quality Account Management, Technical Account Management, vCIO or IT Consulting activities with your clients. This costs you money, erodes trust, loses opportunities and even lowers the value your clients see in your services. Let’s take a look at how much debt you have and how to get rid of it this year.
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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.
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For those of us who have been in technology for a while, we have seen some pretty crazy setups from well-meaning people. Largely this is because we have very smart capable people trying to work in environments with limited knowledge. Most were trying their hardest but just didn’t know any better.
Some of the crazy things I saw back in the day were “vlans” that were actually just subnets, firewalls with giant holes in the ruleset, and unrestricted VPNs that were completely insecure. These mistakes were not made by lazy admins, they were made by well-intentioned technicians that didn’t know they were doing anything wrong. All they knew was that things were working smoothly.
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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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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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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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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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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.